Organizational Capacity Building

Candace LaRue and Associates

Ten steps to a new economy

on June 8, 2012

This is a summary of the talk JUST given by Gus Speth at the conference “Strategies for a New Economy”. My first attempt at live blogging!

Ten steps to a New Economy:

1. The journey to a new political economy begins with two conclusions. Something is profoundly wrong with our current system, which routinely produces terrible results. We have encompassing problems because of fundamental flaws. Second, it is imperative that we invest in systems change. We see a frightening gap between the way the world is and what it could be. The first step is to become teachers so people can see how system failure leads to bad results. The current political economic system does not deserve to continue. System change, not climate change.

2. Step 2 is “progressive fusion” – all the organizations focusing on progressive change need to forge common identity and infrastructure, with a commitment for a powerful, unified movement with a platform of social justice, job creation, and environmental protection. Consumerism and “growth-mania,” corporate govenmencw must be challenged. We need an array of policy reforms including campaign finance reforms and new measures of well-being. We live and work in a system of politicial economy that cares about power and greed, and only about justice, democracy, sustainability, and peace to the extend required by law. We need a fusion of all people concerned with these things into one movement. We all rise and fall together – so we need to get together.

3. We need a compelling vision of a new American dream for our children and grandchildren. It should be accompanied by a strong narrative or story about how we get from here to there. Embody that story in our lives, and spread the story. This generation can be the first since the New Deal to win back power for the people, through the growth of human solidarity and empowering individuals to reach their full potential. And where there is justice – sharing costs and benefits equally.

4. We must pioneer a powerful set of actionable ideas and policies that define our dream as achievable. We are dreamers – but dreamers with tools. Ideas for transcending consumerism, changing corporations, redefining GDP exist. We need to design and test elements of this system.

5. Continuously strengthen he intellectual capital of he new economy movement, linking ideas to actions and preparing for crises. Strengthen the institutional capacity to achieve these goals, including concerns of funding. We need a sea change in the funding community of foundations and individuals.

6. Bring the future into the present without waiting on the res of the world to catch on or catch up. Build new forms of revitalization, new forms of corporations and business entities, growth of older models like co-ops, new lifestyles and work style adopted and individual, family, and organization level. Provide inspirational models to be grown. They provide real opportunities for people to ge involved and have their kinda changed.

7. Many ideas in policy can be pursued now…non-reformist reforms are changes that appear incrementalism but also lay groundwork for large scale change. We need to define a New Economy policy agenda that has a fighting chance today.

8. The country faces a daunting agenda and requires strong leadership, which includes the political arena. We need viable democracy steered by an informed and engaged citizenry. The politics of today are not meeting these challenges. We must grapple with the simple truth that we can not achieve goals of justice and sustainability without a strong democracy. We need to effectively challenge the two-part duopoly, Citizens United, philibusters, etc

9. We need to build a powerful citizens movement, pushed relentlessly by citizen demand for changes. There needs to be a vibrant movement supporting important changes in political and economic systems. These movements insist that power concedes to their demands for justice, peace, and equality. This movements must be diverse, and include tactics like non-violent civil disobedience. Powerful social movements with direct action have tremendous results – looking to Arab Spring, and the Anti-war and civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s.

10. We must preserve the possibility of a bright future by preventing crises from spinning out of control and monopolizing resources for change. We must work for a new system while also reforming the current system. We must prevent our world from becoming so nasty and brutish – due to climate change – that we lose the possibility of rebirth and must constantly deal with crises.

Ever larger numbers of Americans are questioning the legitimacy of the current system, and we are finding our voice and strength to articulate the path to a better world that does exist through policy change and direct action a he local level. Local models provide us with a positive vision of the future.

The demands coming out of this movement will be met with small policy changes and resistance to systemic change. The prospect for systemic change will depend on the strength of our democratic system and the health of the popular movement, and our willingness for self-sacrifice. It relies on the strong possibility that we still have it in us to create something fine for our children and grandchildren.


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