About
Type of experiment
City Global
Name of experiment Imagining Alternative Systems

PROVOCATION

We must imagine and implement more just and ecologically viable economic models..

SUMMARY

These two long-term initiatives seek to develop human and ecologically (rather than profit)-centered economic models based on cooperation, inclusivity and sustainability. They work to elevate perception of the viability of revolutionary models in otherwise traditional and institutional arenas.

CONTEXT

Capitalism, rooted in destructive models of consumption and accumulation, prioritizes growth of capital over all else. Today, the world faces the consequences of such a singular objective: environmental destruction, scarcity of resources, social inequality, and lack of accountability.

METHODOLOGY

Next System Project (NSP) is a project of United States-based nonprofit, The Democracy Collaborative, that aims to “crack through the national media silence and to radically shift the national dialogue about the future away from narrow debates about policies that do not alter any significant decaying trend to awareness that what must be changed is the nature of the political-economic system itself.”1 NSP has gathered a network of hundreds of researchers, theorists, and activists that work together to define values and models upon which the new economic system should be based.1 They offer comprehensive reports and resources, sponsor conferences, and publicise their efforts to build confidence in the viability of new systems.1 NSP’s public statement has garnered signatures from Hollywood to Harvard to the US Congress.1 The Democracy Collective just joined Jeremy Corbyn’s new Community Wealth Building Unity as advisors.3

Economy for the Common Good (ECG), founded in 2010 and based in the UK, addresses capitalism’s negative outcomes with idealist long-term goals and short-term pragmatic efforts. It proposes that a company’s success be measured by its overall contribution to the common good, and offers. Their ‘ethical economy’ model is built on five fundamental values: human dignity, solidarity, sustainability, justice and democracy.2 ECG’s central tool is The Common Good Balance Sheet which measures companies against the ECG value system, first internally, then with an external audit.2 The audit allows a company to measure its own impact, works to force transparency, and also works as responsible branding.2 ECG also lobbies governments to economically incentivize responsible models.2

 The Economy For The Common Good Balance Sheet.

TAKEAWAYS

Where New System Project envisions new political-economic systems reverse-engineered through principles, the Economy for the Common Good offers a concrete tool that can help bridge the current system to the new. Taken together, they remind us both that no system is too big or fundamental to challenge and to dare imagine new systems in the first place. We can and should be vigilant to not let our flawed foundations become hegemonic structures that block our imaginative capacities.
SOURCES
  1. The Next System Project Website: <http://thenextsystem.org/#about>
  2. Watson, Bruce. “Can We Create an ‘Economy for the Common Good’?” The Guardian. Jan 6, 2014: <http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/values-led-business-morals-economy-common-good>
  3. The Democracy Collaborative. Our Work. “The Democracy Collaborative Joins Jeremy Corbyn’s New Community Wealth Building Unit As Advisors.” February 8th, 2018:
    <https://democracycollaborative.org/content/democracy-collaborative-joins-jeremy-corbyns-new-community-wealth-building-unit-advisors>