This new working paper by Gar Alperovitz, Gus Speth, Ted Howard, and Joe Guinan from The Next System Project—prepared as an invited contribution to the “After Fossil Fuels: The New Economy” conference in Oberlin, Ohio from October 6-8, 2016—explores the intersections of systemic economic and ecological crisis, and propose that only a break with the mechanisms of corporate capitalism is capable of guaranteeing a sustainable future.
The challenge of mounting an adequate response to climate change has to be understood within the context of the larger systemic crisis facing the United States. The perpetuation of generalized austerity and the continued reliance on traditional— and manifestly insufficient—policy solutions which do not address the underlying drivers of inequality, poverty, and ecological overshoot is especially wrongheaded given the historically unprecedented productive capacity our nation enjoys, and the growing consensus on the fundamentals of post-scarcity monetary theory. As the ecological rift widens, we must recognize the incompatibility of core features of the current corporate capitalist system with a sustainable, just, and equitable future…
Gar Alperovitz spoke on the following panels at a conference hosted by World Without War, an organization that strives to replace a culture of war with one of peace in which nonviolent means of conflict resolution take the place of bloodshed. The organization hosted their #NoWar2016 conference at the American University School of International Service in Washington, D.C. from September 23rd to 26th. The conference was comprised of a series of panels and workshops, plus an awards ceremony and a protest action. Video courtesy of TheRealNews.com:
Capitalism and transition to Peace Economy
Gar Alperovitz speaks after an introduction by David Hartsough
Here’s an animated view of what a next system grounded in democratized ownership of the economy and real sustainability might look like and illustrating how we are already creating this society using innovative community-based institutions like cooperatives, public banks, and community land trusts – just to name a few.
From the “buy local” movement to public banking, communities are quietly laying the groundwork for a more democratic, cooperative, and people-centered economy.
“Many years ago, while researching the history of the U.S. decision to use atomic weapons on the people of Japan, I came to understand something: There was something deep at work in the American political and economic system driving it toward relentless expansion and a dangerous, informal imperialism. I began thinking about how to fundamentally change America out of concern with what America was doing—and is still doing—to the rest of the world.
Many experiences since—especially working in the U.S. House, Senate, and at upper levels of the State Department trying to resist the war in Vietnam; and thereafter with activists in the antiwar and civil rights movements—taught me something important: It wasn’t enough to stand in opposition to the injustices America inflicted on the world and its own people. It was equally important for these movements to operate with an idea of what they want instead…”
On September 5th, 2016, Gar Alperovitz, co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, joined Ian Masters on his radio program, Background Briefing, to discuss building upon the momentum generated by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Gar speaks about the potential to transform the energy of the Bernie campaign into a 21st century populist movement–starting at the grass roots to build up community initiatives such as worker cooperatives and regional banks.
"This book offers by far the most serious, intellectually grounded strategy for system-changing yet to appear. It could be the most important movement-building book of the new century..."
—Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
"Concrete and feasible ways to reverse the ominous course of the past several decades and to open the way to a vibrant democracy with a sustainable economy…
A marvelous book…I recommend it all the time"
"Highly readable; excellent for students…. A tonic and eye-opener for anyone who wants a politics that works."
—Jane Mansbridge, President-Elect, American Political Science Association, Adams Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University