The Public Banking Institute is proud to be a founding co-sponsor of the Next System Project, a collaborative project initiated by the Democracy Collaborative and longtime public banking supporter Gar Alperovitz.
According to its founders, the Next Systems Project is a multi-year initiative "aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges" faced by the nation in the decades to come. The main focus of the group is on the formulation of a "comprehensive alternative political-economic system" through experimentation and informed conversation.
The group has already released a report, "New Political-Economic Possibilities for the Twenty-First Century," co-written by Alperovitz, James Gustave Speth, and Joe Guinan. It describes a nation "[c]onfronted with mounting social, economic, and ecological crises" and a widespread realization among Americans from all walks of life that things need to change, even if there's no consensus on what that change is, or how to get there. Importantly, the report emphasizes that this is a systemic, rather than contingent, crisis, and that America needs to rediscover a vision it has lost, the building of cooperative communities.
The United States faces a systemic crisis, not simply political and economic difficulties. The economy is stagnating. The political system is stalemated. Communities are in decay. The lives of millions are compromised by economic and social pain. Violence is endemic among individuals, communities, and nations. Civil liberties are eroding. Near-record numbers of citizens remain incarcerated. Underemployment, inequality, and ecological despoliation deepen day by day. The planet itself is threatened by climate change. A generation of young people expects to be worse off than their parents. The very idea of building a cooperative community of caring responsibility has faded from common understanding.
The report also emphasizes the need to move beyond old models and embrace experiments and experiences already in place: "cooperatives, worker-owned companies, neighborhood corporations, and many little-known municipal, state, and regional efforts."
The organization's launch will begin with a May 20 webinar, which people can register for here. In addition to featuring Gar Alperovitz and other academics and activists, the webinar will also feature popular progressive commentator Laura Flanders of Grit TV.