Category Archives: Articles

How Philanthropy Can Help Community Development Survive Trump

Trump’s presidency will likely do significant damage to community development especially for the communities that are most at risk. While philanthropy will certainly not be able to fill the massive gap left by cuts in federal spending, if used in the right way, it can help create local and regional programs and innovations that could be expanded when the political winds inevitably shift, contend Gar Alperovitz and Ted Howard in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Donald Trump will not be president forever, but in his time in office he can do substantial damage in many areas of American life. As one donor told us, “We risk having 40 years of progress in community development unraveled in the next 18 months.”

Principally, that’s because the new administration, along with Republican congressional leaders, is targeting federal spending on social programs and community development — a major bulwark against the consequences of generational poverty and ever-growing wealth inequality. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at risk.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Articles | Comments closed

The Possibility of a Pluralist Commonwealth Evolutionary Reconstruction Toward a Caring and Just Political Economy

In this article published in the Winter 2017 issue of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership StudiesGar Alperovitz outlines the characteristics of the “Pluralist Commonwealth” model and the step-by-step movements that are already happening toward a democratic political economy that supports caring community.

New developments at various level of the political-economic system suggest possible institutional trajectories supportive of community, and a longer term systemic design more supportive of strong democracy and a caring culture. An integration of institutional elements also offers possibilities more productive of equality and ecologically sustainable outcomes. The “Pluralist Commonwealth” is both pluralist in its institutional characteristics and supportive of such “commonwealth” institutions as co-operatives, neighborhood land trusts and community corporations, municipal utilities and a range of other larger scale ownership forms. An “evolutionary reconstructive” institutional, political, and cultural path is projected as a longer term transformative process different from both traditional reform and traditional ideas of revolution. Such a path inherently seeks to maximize the development of a caring community as it builds.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Articles | Comments closed

Technological Inheritance and the Case for a Basic Income

Economic Security ProjectIn this article originally published by the Economic Security Project on December 16, 2016, Gar Alperovitz makes a case for a universal basic income, beginning with the understanding that most income is, in fact, a gift from the past, or a “technological inheritance.”

One or another form of unconditional “basic income” has now been advocated by individuals ranging from conservative economists like the late Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Modern feminists concerned with “care work” have emphasized versions of it, as have Black activists facing an economy that simply does not provide jobs for millions of people.

Leaving aside numerous questions about how best to structure a basic income, the idea of providing people with income as a matter of right — whether or not they do what society considers “work” — runs into age-old concerns about individual responsibility as well as endless arguments about political and economic equity. Until these are confronted, the prospect of significant change in the direction of any form of basic income is clearly highly uncertain.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in Articles | Comments closed

Building a System-Changing Response to Trump and Trumpism at All Levels

TruthoutIn this op-ed for Truthout, originally published on November 30, 2016, Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz discusses the possibilities for designing a new system in the Trump Era:

Any serious perspective on how to respond to the election of Donald Trump must begin by recognizing that his victory flowed in substantial part from the growing global crisis of capitalism, which demands a specific strategic response. The response must begin with — but also go beyond — the urgent work of defending, wherever and however possible, the individuals and communities most at risk.

At the most obvious level, our collective response must build upon the energies illuminated by Bernie Sanders’ “democratic socialist” campaign, Black Lives Matter, climate justice, the mobilization in Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Green Party, LGBTQ activism, immigration activism, People’s Action and many, many other efforts. It must also find ways to bring such energies together with the community-level organizing aimed at democratizing the economic system from the ground up, starting with the development of alternative institutions and building toward a larger vision.

Read the full article here.

Also posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Systemic Crisis and Systemic Change in the United States in the 21st Century

Systemic Crisis and Systemic Change in the United States in the 21st CenturyThis 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…

Read the full paper here.

Also posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed