Monthly Archives: June 2013

Talking with WNYC’s Leonard Lopate

Many Americans are frustrated with our economic system and are worried that it is failing. Gar Alperovitz argues that the time is right for a new-economy movement to take shape to build a new system. In What Then Must We Do? he proposes a new economic system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something entirely American.

Posted in Audio and Video, What Then Must We Do? (News and Updates) | Comments closed

Talking about What Then Must We Do? with Marketplace Morning Report

apm-marketplaceI had the pleasure of speaking with Marketplace Morning Report’s David Brancaccio about the distressing systemic trends in our economic system and the need for system-level alternatives that democratize wealth.  Listen the interview below:
Read More »

Posted in Audio and Video, What Then Must We Do? (News and Updates) | Comments closed

The Next American Revolution Has Already Begun: An Interview With Gar Alperovitz

This interview originally appeared in Truthout on June 8, 2013.

By Gar Smith, The Berkeley Daily Planet

Gar Alperovitz, currently a Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, has been writing books about wealth, democracy and national security for 48 years. In addition to serving in several government posts (including Special Assistant in the US State Department), Alperovitz is a founding principle of The Democracy Collaborative and a boardmember at the New Economics Institute.

What Then Must We Do? (his latest book and his twelfth since 1965) is a breezy, conversational read filled with somber forecasts, hopeful alternative economic strategies and lots of surprising facts and stats (Some examples: If the nation’s personal wealth were divided evenly, a family of four would receive $200,000 a year. The hourly US minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, is now $2 less than it was in 1968. The US is such a large country “You can tuck Germany into Montana!”)

What Then Must We Do? (the title is borrowed from Tolstoy) explores a challenging premise: “The coming painful decades may be the prehistory of the next American revolution – and an evolutionary process that transforms the American system, making it both morally meaningful and ecologically sustainable.”

Daniel Ellsberg calls this book possibly “the most important movement-building book of the new century” and Juliet Schor, author of True Wealth, hails it as “the most compelling account yet of how we can move beyond the piecemeal, project–by–project transformation of our political economy to truly systemic change.”

Alperovitz recently took time from his busy schedule to discuss the arguments in his new book and explore the ramifications of social and economic change in an era of pending systemic collapse.

Gar S: You point out that 400 plutocrats in the US now own more wealth than 180 million other Americans. A scale of inequality that ranks as “medieval.” Shortly before his assassination, Dr. King noted America’s problems could not be solved without “undergoing a radical redistribution of economic power.”

Gar A: The concentration of wealth in this country is astonishing. 400 individuals—you could seat them all on a single airplane—own as much wealth as 60 percent of the rest of the country taken together. I was describing this distribution as “medieval” until a medieval historian set me straight: wealth was far more evenly distributed in the Middle Ages. When you ask where power lies in our system, you are asking who owns the productive assets. And that’s the top 1 percent—in fact, the top 1 percent of the 1 percent. It is a feudalistic structure of extreme power. It is anathema to a democracy to have that kind of concentration of wealth. More and more people are beginning to realize the extent and reach of corporate power and the power of those who own the corporations. The Koch brothers get a lot of publicity, but it’s a much wider phenomenon.
Read More »

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Video: “When MLK Came to Cambridge”

I was honored recently to have been invited to take part, along with Lani Guinier and Byron Rushing, in a commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967 visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts, which marked a crucial point of inflection in his opposition to the war in Vietnam (I had the privilege of working with Dr. King in conjunction with the Vietnam Summer organizing project).  The video of the event is below:

Posted in Audio and Video, What Then Must We Do? (News and Updates) | Comments closed