An overview of The Next System Project and the need for systemic solutions for systemic crisis.
The Next System Project is an ambitious multiyear initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map.
How do low-income communities learn to advance economically and build wealth? Low-income communities and communities of color, in challenging structural economic and social inequality, have historically grappled with tensions inherent to development. Who participates in, directs, and ultimately owns the economic-development process? In creating and sustaining new, inclusive economic institutions, how do community members cultivate and pass on skills, commitment and knowledge—especially among those who have long faced barriers to education and employment? And how should communities strike an appropriate balance between utilizing local knowledge and accessing outside expertise? This report draws on case studies of 11 different community economic development initiatives from across the United States to highlight a diverse set of powerful answers to these critical questions.
In this Next System Project second official report, project co-chair, and NEC co-founder, James Gustave Speth details the steps that must be taken to change the status quo of the political-economic system.
This CommonBound 2014 opening plenary panel explores what it means for our movements to “win.” Grounding us in a framework of decolonization, community self-determination and sovereignty, we dive deep into why we do this work. Each of the panelists share their perspective on what is unique about this moment in history — from the political and economic level, to the cultural and ecological.
If our movements are serious about changing the system, what are the strategies that get us from here to there? We know this work is about more than just building projects or winning elections. It’s about governing society for the benefit of all and implementing our visions for the economy at all levels. With that in mind, what do we need to shift in our thinking for our movements to succeed? What are we not doing enough of? What are we doing too much of? What are the opportunities in front of us in this particular historical moment? This CommonBound 2014 closing plenary reflects on these questions with a powerful line-up of community leaders who bring their diverse and broad experiences to the table.
What will an anti-imperialist, economy look like? What will it take to decolonize economic structures in pursuit of liberation? After introducing frameworks for building a movement for sustainable business, community and worker ownership, workplace democracy, and thriving family businesses, we go local. We hear lessons from Boston, where grassroots organizations, small businesses and investors are working together to model an alternative to the capitalist economy at a local level. Participants learn from leaders of the Boston Ujima Project about their efforts to fight poverty and displacement through the formation of a community capital fund, a Good Business Certification, and an alternative local currency. Participants learn about Boston's unique new economy project and engage in the opportunities and limits of this community development strategy.
View the recordings of these online discussions, organized by Local Futures, which address key issues in the debate around economic globalization and localization - from food and energy to education, trade, and the role of activists. Guests include Bill McKibben, Charles Eisenstein, Richard Heinberg, Manish Jain, Michael Shuman, and more.
This toolkit is a do-it-yourself tool for those who want to kick-start effective global-to-local action in their community or within an existing group. The toolkit uses the award-winning documentary film The Economics of Happiness as a springboard to discuss the broad impacts of the global economy and localization as a strategy for systemic change.
Want to understand the alternatives to business as usual? We know the current system does exactly what it was designed to do: line corporate pockets at the expense of real people’s health and livelihoods, destroying the environment while fueling the war machine. But we also know that another world is possible. Many models for radically different, sustainable, inclusive and democratic societies exist and this CommonBound workshop features a few of their proponents to present their ideas, debate the options and answer questions about what a better world looks like in detail.
This shortened version of the award-winning documentary spells out the social, spiritual, and ecological costs of today's global economy. Importantly, the film also highlights the many benefits of a shift towards the local and showcases some of the steps people are already taking worldwide.