the next system project
co-chairs: Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speth
from their site:
ABOUT THE NEXT SYSTEM PROJECT
The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. ……the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.
Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, we seek to launch a national debate on the nature of “the next system” using the best research, understanding and strategic thinking, on the one hand, and on-the-ground organizing and development experience, on the other, to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models that are different in fundamental ways from the failed systems of the past and capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.
……There are real alternatives. …..
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from their launch post:
launched mar 31 2015:
The Next System Project calls for national discussion on systemic crisis and alternatives
New multi-year initiative will bring leading activists, scholars, and policy advocates together to think big about pressing concerns around economic inequality, ecological threats, and political dysfunction
March 31st, Washington, D.C. — Co-chaired by political economist and historianGar Alperovitz and leading environmental activist and former presidential adviserJames Gustave Speth, The Next System Project, launching today, is a major new program of The Democracy Collaborative, a national leader in the development of innovative strategies to rebuild community and democratize ownership of the economy.
More than 350 key institutional, academic, and community leaders have joined Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speth to launch this project by endorsing a statement of its aims, including:
- Paul Adler, President, Academy of Management
- Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
- Joseph Blasi, J. Robert Beyster Distinguished Professor, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University
- Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink
- Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, MIT
- Larry Cohen, President, Communications Workers of America
- Representative John James Conyers, Jr., Thirteenth District, Michigan (D)
- Barbara Ehrenreich, Author
- Daniel Ellsberg, Author, Whistleblower
- Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Politics and Philosophy, New School for Social Research
- Anna Galland, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action
- Leo Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers
- Danny Glover, Actor, Social Activist
- Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice
- Seymour Hersh, Journalist
- Gerald Hudson, International Executive Vice President, SEIU
- Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
- Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, Harvard University, 2012-2013 President, American Political Science Association
- Heather McGhee, President, Demos
- Lawrence Mishel, President, Economic Policy Institute
- Bill McKibben, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, 350.org
- Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate, Author, Former Presidential Candidate
- David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College
- Carol Pateman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science, UCLA
- Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
- Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley
- Burton Richter, Nobel Laureate (Physics 1976) Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University
- Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Co-Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University
- Oliver Stone, Academy Award-winning Filmmaker
- Gerald Torres, Jane M.G. Foster Professor, Cornell University Law School
- Timothy E. Wirth, Vice Chair, United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund
- Erik Olin Wright, Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2012-2013 President, American Sociological Association
notes from pdf download of report:
towards awareness that what must be changed is the nature of the political economic sys- tem itself.
We believe that it is now imperative to stimulate a broad national debate about how best to conceive possible alternative models of a very differ- ent system capable of delivering genuine democracy and economic equality, individual liberty, ecological sustainability, a peaceful global foreign policy, and a thoroughgoing culture of cooperative community based on non-violence and respect for differences of race, gender, and sexual preference.
– perhaps systemic begs to be beyond america.. no?
A growing number of Americans have begun to ask ever more penetrating questions about the direction our country is headed. …Politics no longer even attempts to confront the issues that matter most.
A political economy is a system, and today’s system is programmed not to meet basic needs but to priori- tize the generation of corporate profits, the growth of GDP, and the projection of national power. It follows that if we are serious about addressing the challenges we face, we need to think through and then build a new system of political economy, however difficult the task, and however long it may take. Systemic prob- lems require systemic solutions.
deep enough for 7 billion people to resonate with…
The time has come to think boldly about what is re- quired to deal with the systemic difficulties facing the United States. It is time to begin a real conver- sation—locally, nationally, and at all levels—about genuine alternatives. It is time to develop thoughtful, system-building answers to system-threatening chal- lenges. It is time to debate what it will really take to move in a new direction capable of producing sustain- able, lasting, and more democratic social, economic, and ecological outcomes.
or time to just do it.. trust it.. jump in
We believe that the time is ripe for a major strate- gic intervention in public life aimed at putting “the system question” on the map and catalyzing a wide- ranging public debate about real systemic alternatives.
indeed the time is ripe – but too many are too busy for the convo.. don’t we have evidence of that? i mean the time has been ripe and convos have been going on for a while now.. no?
The inability of traditional politics and policies to address fundamental challenges has fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation in communities across the United States and around the world.
Unbeknownst to many, literally thousands of on- the-ground efforts have been developing. There are thousands of cooperatives, worker-owned companies, neighborhood corporations, and many little-known municipal, state, and regional efforts.
.. Impor- tant work has also been done in related arenas: on po- litical and constitutional political structure and the fu- ture of parliamentary and non-parliamentary systems; on the impact of regional models of different scale on democratic institutions and practice; on new voting ar- rangements that better safeguard the rights and inter- ests of minority communities; and many others.Devel- oping detailed and sophisticated alternatives that can be refined over time is a prerequisite if we are to stimulate a serious and wide-ranging debate around a broader menu of institutional possibilities for future develop- ment than the limited choices commonly discussed.
unless we look at systemic change like learning to walk.. no? no detailed guide book needed.
The need for a major intervention in the national de- bate is increasingly obvious. Even in a time of economic crisis there has been little willingness among traditional progressive organizations to discuss system-changing strategies. Many organizations spend most of their time trying to put out fires in Washington and have little capacity to stand back and consider deeper strategic issues—particularly if they involve movement build- ing and challenges to the current orthodoxy. Efforts to cobble together “solutions” to today’s challenges com- monly draw upon the very same institutional arrange- ments and practices that gave rise to the problems in the first place. What is required is a self-conscious effort to face the fact that the system itself has to be changed and a different kind of political economy created.
radical economy and beyond
We seek a far-ranging debate, out of which even more developed ideas and proposals may come. Ul- timately, alternative system models will only have an impact if they are given a major public airing. Par- tial precedents for stirring such far-ranging public discussion include the Club of Rome’s 1972 report, Limits to Growth, as well as the 1987 Brundtland Commission Report defining sustainable develop- ment. Through a communications and media effort, including publications, conferences, webinars, study groups, film, and social media, we aim to bring the system debate to a wide audience and challenge di- rectly the deadly notion that nothing can be done.
Individual research- ers have begun to set down, sometimes in consider- able detail, the outlines of comprehensive models or partial models of systemic alternatives. A non- exhaustive list would include David Schweickart, Juliet Schor, Richard Wolff, David Korten, Michael Albert, Marta Harnecker, Roberto Mangabeira Un- ger, Robin Hahnel, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Erik Olin Wright, and Herman Daly—along with many, many others (including the Co-Chairs of this proj- ect). Additional approaches are being developed at the Tellus Institute in Boston, at the Institute for Policy Studies, at York University in Canada, at the New Economics Foundation in the United King- dom, and elsewhere.
Worker Ownership and Self-Management
In After Capitalism (2011) David Schweickart sets out his latest iteration of a detailed system model he calls Economic Democracy. This model would pre- serve a role for markets in goods and services while extending democracy into the workplace and the linked spheres of finance and investment. I…Economic Democracy has a basic economic structure of socially-owned, worker-con- trolled firms in a competitive market.
In Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism (2012) economist Richard Wolff develops a related model based on worker self-directed enterprises (WSDEs),
..based around a small-scale, decentral- ized, ecologically-oriented sector of entrepreneurial individuals, small businesses, and households. These approaches also emphasize trading off consumption against increased free time and sociability, and are rooted in healthy, resilient local communities that are capable of sustaining high degrees of trust, reciproc- ity, and mutualism. This approach has a lineage going back to E.F. Schumacher’s 1973 classic Small is Beau- tiful and connects with modern bioregional strategies.
In Plenitude (2010) Juliet Schor posits a shift to a locally-oriented economic model based on new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, including downshifting out of the “work-and- spend” cycle and diversifying sources of household income….The four pillars of Plenitude include time, … high-tech self-pro- visioning, meeting basic needs … consuming differently, … and connection, a rebirth of community through local economic interdependence through the trading of services and sharing of assets.
David Korten proposes a model predi- cated on organizing to meet human needs as mem- bers of Earth’s community of life. The current domi- nant system fails, he argues, because it takes money rather than life as its defining value……… include consumer cooperatives, worker-owned companies, community corporations, partnerships, nonprofits, family busi- nesses, and simple sole proprietorships that embrace service to their community, and it is critical to re- building community that all are locally anchored and involve “rooted, engaged ownership.” He envisions a nation-wide network of community-based and -ac- countable financial institutions, with public “partner- ship banks” in every state.
or money less. .. no?
Other important modern day proponents of local- ism include Michael Shuman, Judy Wicks, Michelle Long, and many participants in the work of the Busi- ness Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
Reinvigorated Social Democracy
.. institution of a guaranteed jobs program of some kind to ensure a full employment economy,
In Back to Full Employment (2012) Robert Pollin argues that full employment as a policy was aban- doned in the United States in the 1970s for the wrong reasons…… In the end, achieving full employment will be a matter of political will around the creation and institutionalization of a fundamental right to a decent job.
Participatory Economic Planning
Several thinkers—most notably Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, but also British academic Pat Devine and Latin American theorist Marta Harnecker— have argued that an alternative to market forces is necessary as a means of coordinating decentral- ized economic decisions while avoiding the pitfalls of authoritarian command economies……..“participatory planning” for Albert and Hahnel, or what Devine calls “negotiated coordination.” Propo- nents are able to point to preliminary but expanding experience with participatory budgeting in Brazil, India, Europe, and the United States as partial prec- edents for such a model.
In Parecon: Life After Capitalism (2003) Michael Al- bert outlined his version of participatory economics, or “Parecon,” in which workplace and consumer councils are responsible for economic decision making. Under Parecon, work and labor are allocated in such a way that people each have a mix of tasks and responsibili- ties, balanced to deliver a more equal workplace expe- rience, quality of life, and empowerment. Pay is based on effort and hardship, rather than output and prop- erty.
In Robin Hahnel’s iteration of the participatory econ- omy, the key elements and institutions that comprise the model are social ownership of the productive “commons” and two types of democratic councils— workplace councils and neighborhood consumer councils—that, through federations, coordinate their interrelated activities through participatory planning
“Beyond Growth” Ecological Economies
Writers associated with models focused on ecol- ogy and growth include Herman Daly, Tim Jackson, Peter Victor, Richard Heinberg, Joan Martinez-Alier, Richard Douthwaite, and Serge Latouche—among many others.
For example, economic modelers Peter Victor and Gideon Rosenbluth, in their work on no-growth and low-growth scenarios for the Canadian economy, have concluded that, in countries that have already achieved a very high material standard of living, pov- erty can be eliminated, unemployment can be drasti- cally reduced and international environmental com- mitments can be fulfilled with a zero rate of growth.
Among the policy changes required for such a shift would be wealth and income redistribution, priori- tization of public goods over consumption goods in investment decisions, conversion of productivity gains into leisure time, and strict quantitative physical lim- its on both throughput and land use.
? – what if we make investment, income, policy, et al, irrelevant..
Socialism and Reclaimed Public Ownership
From Michael Leibowitz in the Monthly Review tra- dition to British writers like Andrew Cumbers, there is a renewed focus on public ownership, in decentral- ized and democratized forms, as the central organiz- ing principle of a “socialism fit for the twenty-first century.”
Proponents of such a reclaimed public ownership can now point to a wave of innovations, especially in Latin America, whereby state industry is being blended with worker self-man- agement and a multi-stakeholder approach involving cooperatives, trade unions and civil society groups in a growing number of “public-public partnerships.”
In Reclaiming Public Ownership: Making Space for Eco- nomic Democracy (2012) Andrew Cumbers surveys the experience of nationalization in countries as diverse as Britain, France, Norway, and the Asian Tigers, ….He suggests finance and land—both sectors of pronounced rent seeking and the site of recent crises that have caused so much social havoc—as the obvi- ous places to begin an extension of democratic public ownership throughout the economy.
It draws heavily on the work of the late Peter Berg, founder of the Planet Drum Foundation; the late Raymond Das- mann, Professor of Ecology at the University of Cali- fornia, Santa Cruz; poet and author Gary Snyder; and Stephanie Mills, author and fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, among others. As the charter of the North American Bioregional Congress puts it: “Bio- regionalism is working to satisfy basic needs locally, such as education, health care and self-governance.
A critical component of bioregionalism is an under- standing and interpretation of place. In Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision (1985) Kirkpatrick Sale argued that “the crucial and perhaps only and all-encompassing task is to understand place, the im- mediate specific place where we live.” This includes not only the environmental and ecological contours of place, but also “the cultures of the people, of the populations native to the land and of those who have grown up with it, …… the green cities movement inspired in part by Planet Drum Foundation’s 1989 Green City Pro- gram for San Francisco. Planet Drum has also been working with Bahiá de Caráquez, an Ecuadorian city that is striving to become an “eco-city,” by providing bioregional education to children as well as partici- pating in environmental restoration efforts. (A related place-based regional concept is that of the “eco-re- gions” designated by the U.S. Environmental Protec- tion Agency.)
African American Cooperative and Related Strategies
A range of studies and on-the-ground activist work aimed at the complex of issues sur- rounding discrimination, policing, racialized violence, and mass incarceration—what some have termed “the American Gulag”—point to important elements of political economic design focused on resolving long- standing underlying systemic injustices.
Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s widely discussed book Collective Courage: A History of African American Co- operative Economic Thought and Practice (2014) docu- ments an alternative tradition of political economy based on cooperation, mutualism, and self-help, with a lineage traceable from the African mutual aid soci- eties and communes of the early American republic, through W.E.B. Du Bois’s “cooperative common- wealth,” to efforts today by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement at rebuilding the crumbling economy of Jackson, Mississippi, through a variety of cooperative enterprises and initiatives. “Almost all African Amer- ican leaders,” Gordon Nembhard writes, “from the most conservative to the most radical, have at some point promoted cooperative economic development as a strategy for African American well-being and liberation.” Such traditions, born of the necessity of finding strategies aimed at delivering independence, solidarity, and community self-preservation, offer models and partial models for alternative develop- mental paths that are rooted in long histories of polit- ical struggle and the everyday experience of ordinary people of color grappling with systemic problems.
Community-Based System-Changing Ownership Solutions
…Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speth, as well as David Orr and others—synthesize many elements of the approaches above to suggest a plural- ist model in which ownership is based in a variety of institutions with a special focus on the local commu- nity and a robust vision of community democracy as the necessary foundation for a renewal of democracy in general. Such visions project the development over time of a variety of new ownership institutions
Gar Alperovitz has been developing a community sus- taining model he calls the “Pluralist Commonwealth” since the 1970s—“pluralist” to emphasize the priority given to democratic diversity and individual liberty, “commonwealth” to underscore the centrality of new public and quasi-public cooperative, community- building, and wealth-holding institutions at different levels of scale. These begin first and foremost at the level of local communities and neighborhoods, there- after at larger regional scale, and ultimately at the level of the community of the nation as a whole. Over time, a fundamental shift in the ownership of wealth and in cooperative culture is projected as a significant basis of support for policies leading to greater equality.
re wire ni ness
Absent from many of the models above, which are largely focused on the economy, is deep substantive engagement with questions of political and cultural theory, on the one hand, and of rights concerns related to race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, on the other.
then list of questions… mostly in regard to discriminations… then last series of questions like this:
Questions of political structure are also likely to be of increasing importance. Does the existing constitu- tional structure permit or stand in the way of solving our problems? Are different voting strategies needed for the long haul? …
Our proposed national conversation must take up all these and related questions. In addition to work on var- ious “elements” of systemic design, it may be possible to catalyze or directly produce syntheses by authors or groups of authors laying out proposals for alternative system models that include core economic institutions, political structure, cultural dimensions, transition path- ways, imaginative depictions of everyday life, and so forth. The specific models indicated above—together with approaches being developed by the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, the New Economy Coalition, the New Economy Working Group, and others—are all at different stages of development.
perhaps beyond convo.. no? doing it with convo happening local/gobal.. ongoingly.. trusting in self-organizing.. uncertainty.. ie: laying out proposals..? beyond that.. no?
….even as many cities and states decay further into failure and right-wing reaction, there are also many other less publicized in- stances of transformative change underway in cities, states, and regions. The “Cleveland Model” in Ohio involves redirecting the massive purchasing pow- er ($3 billion a year in goods and services) of large nonprofit “anchors” (hospitals, the local university) in support of a community-based network of green worker co-ops in poor and predominantly African- American neighborhoods. Meanwhile, in Richmond, California—a largely black and Hispanic working- class community in the Bay Area—the city council has voted twice to use eminent domain to force ma- jor banks to stop foreclosures and provide relief for struggling homeowners with underwater mortgages. Around the country a growing number of on-the- ground economic and ecological strategies suggest “non-reformist reforms” that could be game-changers over time in many other arenas.
The goals of the Next System Project are:
To crack through the national media silence ….
To stimulate national debate ….
To give publicity to the many “next system” models and approaches now being developed…
To engage committed academics, .. and activist organizers and thinkers, ..in an ongoing process of close col- laborative work..
To help develop concrete “elements” ..the structural reorganization of any next system design— and, at the same time, to invest in and work with others to help nurture a rising generation of young scholars who can carry the work for- ward over the coming decades.
perhaps a system designed to do that ongoingly.. one for 100% of humanity – from the get go.. no prep/training.. because the work/vision/story – is already in each person
among questions hope to answer
How best to develop a supporting system to radically expand the number of worker-owned enterprises, cooperatives, and related community economic strategies;
free art ists. trust them.
How to re-organize the nation’s financial system away from giant for-profit banks and the hundred-year-old Wall Street-dominated Federal Reserve System to a fully developed democratically controlled model beginning at the local, state, and then national level.
How to develop decentralized participatory national and regional planning system based on extending and rationalizing themes now emerg- ing in connection with some 200 local “partici- patory budgeting” efforts around the world; How to define which industries are necessarily so large that they must be either regionalized or converted into public utilities in any coher- ent system;
How to move beyond the nation’s radically conservative eighteenth century constitutional structure to achieve far greater participation and democratic representation, and to decentralize the system to regional-level decision-making
An expansive listing of critical research questions is in the process of being developed through an in-depth consultation with many activists and scholars already working on such matters. Among other things, we also hope to develop partnerships to produce:
A fully articulated model of how one city (“the next city”) might be reorganized today on the basis of new institutions, strategies, and principles.
A fully articulated model of how one state might be reorganized today on the basis of new institutions, strategies, and principles.
A fully articulated model of how one region might be reorganized today on the basis of new institutions, strategies, and principles.
And, on the basis of the above (and further work on other sectors) to produce coherent and fully researched alternative models of how the nation might be reorganized over time to achieve genuine democracy and economic equality, ecological sustainability, a peaceful global foreign policy, and a thoroughgoing culture of cooperative community based on non-violence and respect for differences of race, gender, and sexual preference.
If new systemic designs are going to be relevant to our po- litical and economic life, we need to make sure that they not only open new spaces for discussion, but also concretely inform the ongoing on-the-ground work of the activists and organizers on the frontlines of implementation.
perhaps even more so this (two ongoing convos) .. than ie: fully articulated ness as a pre req.. which means.. we have all we need now for global change – no need to set up structure/articulation.. but rather.. to trust it to emerge.. as it should.. everywhere.. and anywhere.. by everyone.
Simultaneously, and working with others, we will develop educational materials and multimedia products for television and internet use that can open the way to much broader debate and action in the direction of “the next system.” We aim to put the subject on the national map through various strategies, including:
perhaps – it’s got to be simpler than that. kids book at the most. best – just model it.
A widely publicized public statement signed by a large number of leading thinkers, practitioners, and activists stating that we face a systemic crisis, and that it is time to begin dis- cussing the central issue and debating alternatives and strategies to achieve them.
A widely publicized series of conferences bringing together proponents of different vi- sions of far-reaching systemic change to illus- trate the current state of thought, and to help define further common work.
Regular video productions and webinars for broad general release.
The project will include 3 interrelated elements:
Research and Analytical Capacity; Strong research and analytical capacity is needed to produce well-informed and viable system models and model elements.
Activist and Other Engagement: The develop- ment of alternative system models clearly must be informed by the knowledge and experience of a broad array of environmental, labor, com- munity, and other activist groups and individ- uals.
Communications and Implementation: Almost anyone working on public issues can point to reports and related efforts that were well- designed and well-managed, and yet had rela- tively little impact. A strong communications capacity and a commitment to a long-term implementation strategy are perhaps the most important elements of success, and we expect to devote significant resources to ensuring dis- semination, dialogue, and debate.
These and other leaders have agreed to help recruit others of similar standing.
– – –
very hopeful after watching the video.
less so after going through the pdf.
hope i’m mis reading/mis understanding the parts that are frustrating me just now..
in summer newsletter 2015:
start of film series (first 3 below):
Angela Glover Blackwell on Systemic Racism
Economist Juliet Schor on Inequality & Climate Crisis
why systemic – typically solution is to expand economy – but that makes climate so much worse..
A profit-obsessed system isn’t compatible w/ either human rights or the natural limits of earth. Bree Newsome
Phil Thompson on the Historical Fight for Civil and Economic Rights
on past leaders arguing that the fundamental feature of the american economy is de-humanization
on changing the system that connects these things..
a nother way.. i need you to wake up.. – sofia campos ness
also – telling of college teach ins starting spring 2016
and on André:
Activism and Organizing: At the same time we are exploring partnerships with prominent activist organizations capable of mobilizing campaigns on the ground so that we can help “bring the future into the present” and begin working towards systemic change. We are particularly interested in the notion (developed by André Gorz) of identifying key “non-reformist reforms” that may offer immediate avenues for engagement with the deep structures of the present system. To this end we will be working with others to co-create toolkits, curricula, and other materials for use in communities across the country to promote practical action for systemic change.
? – curricula..?
and suggested readings..
In the meantime, if you’re looking for some summer reading, our friends at the Capital Institute recently released their Regenerative Capitalism Framework and accompanying White Paper, while Richard Smith, a Next System Project signatory and leading eco-socialist thinker, has published his new book Green Capitalism: The God that Failed.
Another system change straw in the wind: British journalist Paul Mason has a forthcoming book on Postcapitalism. The article he published in the Guardian earlier this month, “The end of capitalism has begun,” garnered a gigantic readership (according to the paper’s Editor in Chief) while also receiving 350,000 shares over social media.
Finally, the New York Times last week published an opinion piece by Gar Alperovitz and Thomas M. Hanna on “Socialism, American-Style,” and the surprising prevalence of large-scale public ownership of capital in conservative “red states.”
[beyond america.. no?]
posted on next system side oct 2015 – by Jesse Myerson
Monetarily, We Are Already In The Next System…
The government’s debt is the people’s wealth: @JAMyerson gives a lesson in macroeconomic double entry bookkeeping. thenextsystem.org/monetarily-we-…The great majority of money (the great majority of the means of debt repayment) appears not in note- or coin-form, but simply as electronic entries in spreadsheets. These entries came into existence not through minting or printing, but by a keystroke. The primary operation performed by the money system therefore is not circulating money, but crediting and debiting it on balance sheets.[..]Creating money means splitting nothing into two things. Like a physicist at CERN creating a particle of matter and a particle of antimatter out of nothing (and then smashing them into one another so that they mutually annihilate, leaving nothing once more), or like the 7th Century Indian mathematician Brahmagupta first discovering that zero could be split apart into 1 and -1, integers which could then recombine to form zero again, modern money creators make a loan ex nihilo as an asset and a corresponding liability of equal size. ….If I write you an IOU, I have created, out of nothing, an asset (yours) and a liability (mine) of equal size. When I pay you back, you’ll tear up the IOU—the asset and the liability annihilated. In writing the IOU, I have created money.Sort of. “Anyone can create money,” according to Minsky. “The challenge is to have it accepted.” Money, remember, is “whatever you can use to repay your debts.
[..]In the hierarchy of money forms, IOUs issued by people, households and non-financial firms sit at the bottom. Above them are the IOUs of financial firms—more third parties will accept these promises to pay as means of settling debts than the one I wrote you. Then it’s up to publicly-insured bank deposits, which virtually anyone will accept as a means of debt repayment, and finally, atop the pyramid, the IOU form with the greatest degree of “moneyness”: government liabilities such as treasury securities, coins, and bills—“legal tender for all debts public and private.”
According to Minsky’s most prominent disciples, those in the “neo-chartalist” school of thought (also known as Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT), government liabilities sit atop the “moneyness” pyramid, at least partly, because the state gets to declare what it will accept in tax payment.
One step down the “moneyness” hierarchy of IOUs are deposits created by bank loans. These also enjoy such a high position thanks to the government, which confers many special privileges on banks.
Lower still on the IOU hierarchy are the liabilities of non-bank financial firms like Money Market Mutual Funds, ….Prior to the 2007-8 crisis, the unregulated shadow banking sector’s liabilities totaled around $11 trillion, more than twice the total amount of insured bank deposits.
Minsky’s insights illuminate the widely mystifying money system. Money is created out of nothing, by many different entities, “endogenously.” It appears as a financial asset on someone’s balance sheet and a liability on someone else’s.
Thus, political agents of the oligarchy such as John Boehner pretend we live in the old system, under which money is so scarce that the government might go broke if it adopted policies that favored the working class.
Next System Project Co-Chair Gar Alperovitz gave the keynote address at the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP15) conference in San Francisco, California, which brings together leading impact investors, entrepreneurs, and cross-sector practitioners for a three-day gathering at the intersection of money and meaning.
During his keynote, Gar talked about the critical role SOCAP and social investors can play in thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces.
We were also excited to have had the opportunity to premiere our latest film at SOCAP15. The film, “Transforming Cities, Changing the System,” highlights the importance of city-level transformation and the development of new economic institutions at the municipal scale to the work of bringing about wider systemic change.
The short film features Daniel Ellsberg, Sarita Gupta, Danny Glover, Saskia Sassen, Gar Alperovitz, Bill McKibben, Camille Kerr, Aaron Tanaka, Dean Baker, Angela Glover Blackwell, Juliet Schor, and Dayna Cunningham.
Transforming cities, changing the system
a system that is out of control.. also seems to regularly produce more war, doesn’t matter who’s elected.. beyond politics – Gara great degree of inequality has made this process hard to change – Daniel
if you brought them together.. add up to a mosaic… looks like a different system – Gar – evergreen corp – community land trust – community says what they want on that landsolar panel… farmer’s market in electrons – Billevery kind of talent matters.. – Saskia
hen we talk about systemic change.. we have to talk about how to get from here to there.. – Deanwhen it comes to systems change..no one is entitled to say.. this is impossible..we’ve seen the impossible happen.. – Danielthe economy is a social creation – aka: changeable.. – Dayna
report 2 – oct 2015
Read and Download:
In the essays that follow, I’ve updated, rearranged, and added significantly to my earlier writ- ings that seem most pertinent to getting us on the path to the next system. – Gus Speth
The ceaseless drive for profits, growth, and power, along with other system imperatives, keep the problem spigot fully open. Reform rarely deals with the root causes—the underlying drivers…..
create a new operating system that routinely deliv- ers good results for real people, the places we live, and the planet that makes life possible
Gar Alperovitz adds that a systemic crisis demands of us both a political movement and a clear strategy, one that answers the key question raised by the title of his recent book, What Then Must We Do?10
recommended to overdrive
First, we need a new array of national economic ac- counts and well-being indicators. These should in- clude a monetized measure of sustainable economic welfare to be issued quarterly alongside conventional GDP. Also needed are measures of subjective well- being, environmental performance, objective social conditions, and democratic performance. Indicators should be isolated from political pressure and ma- nipulation. Thought leaders and researchers around the world are already devising such indicators, though they have not been widely implemented.
Does the initiative move away from the growth fetish, GDP worship, and efforts at aggregate economic stimulus and toward policies that in- vest in and otherwise promote discrete, demo- cratically determined priorities, high social and environmental returns, and alternative indica- tors of human and environmental well being and progress at various levels?
of a check list of sorts.. interesting one – as much of the 18 pages thus far seem to be bowing to money ness… rather than hyping it up for change.. let’s ignore.. make it irrelevant.. no?
radical econ ish
A SUICIDE ECONOMY:
• Embraces money as its defining value
perhaps we embrace/perpetuate it as a defining value if we obsess with it in our definition of a new system.. no?
3. The focus on GDP growth deflects efforts from grow- ing the many things that do need to grow.
Of course, many things do indeed need to grow. We need to grow the number of good jobs and the in- comes of poor and working Americans.
really? graeber job/less law.. et al
The new economy we should be striving to build is a post-growth economy that actually gives top priority to people, place and planet. That is the paradigm shift we need.
Still others, who might be prepared to struggle, ask, “but struggle for what?” Quietly, they fear that Margaret Thatcher was correct when she famously said, “there is no alternative.” Clearly, more needs to be done to establish with a wide public the possibility of a great transition to a new political economy—the next system.
As my friend Paul Raskin at the Tellus Institute has stressed, deep change is a pragmatic necessity; the fantasy is to think that we can continue with the status quo.
mar 2016 – next system interviewing Noam on organizing for next system:
Students typically are at a period of their lives when they’re more free than at any other time. They’re out of parental control. They’re not yet burdened by the needs of trying to put food on the table in a pretty repressive environment, often, and they’re free to explore, to create, to invent, to act, and to organize. Over and over through the years, student activism has been extremely significant in initiating and galvanizing major changes. I don’t see any reason for that to change.
The human species is now at a point where it has to make choices that are going to determine whether decent survival is even possible. Environmental catastrophe, including war, maybe pandemics, these are very serious issues and they can’t be addressed within the current structure of institutions.
Just take the last crash. One of the consequences was the government basically took over the auto industry. They had some choices. One choice was the one that was taken: tax payroll, bailout the owners and managers, and then restore the system to what it was. Maybe new names, but essentially the same structure, and have them continue to do the same thing: produce automobiles. That was one choice. That was what was taken. There was another choice. The other choice was to hand the system over to the workforce, have it democratically controlled and managed, and have the production oriented toward what the community needs. We don’t need more cars. We need effective mass transportation for lots of reasons.
A market gives you choice among consumer goods, say a Ford and a Toyota. It doesn’t give you a choice between an automobile and a decent mass transportation system.
My feeling is it’s not really remote. I think most of these things are right below the surface in people’s consciousness. It has to be brought forward. This is true of many issues incidentally. It’s very important to recognize how unresponsive the political economic system is to people’s attitudes.
If popular opinion can be organized, mobilized, with institutions of interaction and solidarity, like unions, then I think what’s right below the surface can become quite active and implemented as policy.
It’s pretty hard to remember maybe, but if you go back to the early industrial revolutions, the late 19th century, wage labor was considered essentially the same as slavery. The only difference was that it was supposed to be temporary. That was a slogan of the Republican party: opposition to wage slavery. Why should some people give orders and others take them? That’s essentially the relation of a master and a slave, even if it could be temporary.
People in Central America and Mexico, people are fleeing to the United States. Why? Because we destroyed their societies. They don’t want to live in the United States. They want to live at home. We should be acting in solidarity with them, first of all to certainly permit them to be here if that’s the way they can save themselves from the conditions that we’ve imposed, but also to help them reconstruct their own societies.
nov 2016 – volume 4
we can do better.
we can’t not do better.
[and yes.. seems even rushkoff is doing it – keeping money as os]
feb 2017 – volume 5
In The Economy for the Common Good – A Workable, Transformative Ethics-Based Alternative, Christian Felber and Gus Hagelberg describe their proposed Economy for the Common Good (ECG)
oy: ‘Rewarding “good” behavior, and making “poor” behavior more visible to the public and less profitable, will lead to a general paradigm shift at all levels of the economy. We will see more cooperation among business partners.’
and this: ‘Banking and finance will also need to reorient their priorities. Value-oriented indicators determine whether or not a person or company is creditworthy. At all three levels, monetary evaluations will continue to be necessary. GDP, financial balance sheets, and credit risk analyses will still be necessary. Common good indicators, however, will play a more important role than simple financial indicators’
In Earthland: Scenes From a Civilized Future, the founding president of Tellus Institute, Paul Raskin, explains his vision of a next system – Earthland – through a “dispatch from the future.
and oy to this: ‘The fully humanistic university has arrived, synergistically pursuing a triple mission—mass education, rigorous scholarship, and the common good—once thought to be contradictory.’
In The Promise of a Million Utopias, Michael Shuman advocates for a decentralized United States with states acting as more autonomous regions. In his vision, communities enact their own, small-scale systems, testing out concepts and self-organization, managing resources, and relying minimally on the market or the state.
it says: ‘Local self-reliance enables a community to grow its income, wealth, and jobs through diversification, which in turn multiplies the number of sectors that not only can meet local demand but can also penetrate global markets’
In Volume 5’s final paper, Cultivating Community Economies: Tools for Building a Liveable World, J.K. Gibson-Graham and Community Economies Collective (CEC) members present their vision of “Community Economies” as an “ongoing process of negotiating our interdependence.”
apr 2017 – volume 6
In Cooperative Commonwealth & the Partner State, John Restakis advocates for a “pluralist, cooperative commonwealth based on the principle of economic democracy.”
In Diversifying Public Ownership: Constructing Institutions for Participation, Social Empowerment and Democratic Control, Andrew Cumbers argues for a new system based on diverse forms of public ownership, enabling workers, consumers, and citizens to participate in economic decision making and community control over resources.
In The Joyful Economy: A Next System Possibility, NSP co-chair Gus Speth offers his vision of the next system, one in which society has moved decisively away from what Tibor Scitovsky called “the joyless economy” by embracing a radically new system to create and sustain joy…………….To achieve his proposed system, Speth enumerates several critical sites of strategic intervention, such as the market, the corporation, economic growth, money and finance, social conditions, indicators, consumerism, communities, dominant cultural values, politics, foreign policy, and the military. Along with crises, Speth recognizes leadership, social narrative, social movements, and education as key agents of change to help shift cultures and values, and support a Joyful Economy.
Finally, in Navigating System Transition in a Volatile Century,Michael Lewis puts forward a vision for a new global economic system built from the ground up. Structured on values such as resilience, cooperation, decentralized and democratic ownership, the commons, and dependence on nature in demand, Lewis’s model is based on “cooperative economic democracy” and the solidarity economy. To transition to this new system, Lewis recognizes the need for strategic interventions, from minimizing investments on carbon intensive services and products to the adoption of basic minimum income guarantees, debt-free money, and “glocalization” through a federation of networks, coalitions, and movements