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System Change and Non-Reformist Reforms

Gus Speth

This article was excerpted from Getting to the Next System, the Next System Project's second official report, written by the project co-chair Gus Speth.

How do we distinguish system-changing initiatives from reforms that seek social betterment within the current system? We need a basis for knowing what initiatives are truly transformative and not merely transactional. The question is a fundamental one.

Take climate. Urgent action must be taken within the context of the current system, but we also need to promote deepchange in that system. In the United States, President Obama has finally "got the message" on the imperative of climate action, and important international negotiations in Paris late in 2015 are looming. We must make as much progress as humanly possible in these contexts, with all their limitations.

But we will never go far enough and fast enough as long as the effective priorities are ramping up GDP, growing corporate profits, increasing incomes of the already well-to-do, neglecting the half of America that is just getting by, consuming endlessly, focusing only on the present moment, helping abroad only modestly, and other dominant features of our currentsystem of political economy. As the climate demonstrators have chanted, "system change, not climate change." ... Read full article.