- Theory and policy for a next system
Theory and policy for a next system
Working around the globe, we are boldly advancing transformative policy interventions that move the window of possibility decisively towards systemic change.
Our analysis is grounded in the half-century of work of our co-founder Gar Alperovitz elaborating the need for a systemic alternative to our current political economy. What Gar grasped as early as the late 1960s was that the exceptional period of capitalist prosperity following World War II was just that: an exception. The internal contradictions of an economy built upon racial exclusion and designed to concentrate wealth in the hands of a privileged few could not be addressed without fundamentally reorienting the economy towards community. At the same time, the imperative to oppose US imperial expansion—which he contested in his groundbreaking explorations of the decision to drop the atomic bomb and his bold activism against the war in Vietnam—could not be met without reorienting the economy away from market-driven growth.
If corporate capitalism is not designed to sustain values of equality, genuine democracy, liberty, and ecological sustainability, what systemic design might ultimately achieve and sustain these values? And how do we lay the foundations in difficult political times for a transformation to serious new systemic answers? As Gar has said, “We need to go beyond rhetoric about a broken system to a critical and informed understanding of how a real systemic alternative might actually work.”
Gar’s insights into the systemic nature of our current crises, along with his practical experience on the radical edge of the formation of federal community development policy and a groundbreaking worker/community ownership plan in the earliest days of Rust Belt deindustrialization, led to his vision of the “pluralist commonwealth.” This alternative economic system would be built around multiple overlapping scales of community, common, cooperative, and public ownership, reachable from our current system through a process of “evolutionary reconstruction.” It is this framework that forms the foundation for our work on the ideas and policies needed to create a democratic economy.
Visit The Next System Project, our site dedicated to advancing bold ideas for a democratic economy.