Author(s): Gar Alperovitz
Never before have so many Americans been more frustrated with our economic system, more fearful that it is failing, or more open to fresh ideas about a new one. The seeds of a new movement demanding change are forming.But just what is this thing called a new economy, and how might it take shape in America? In "What Then Must We Do?," Gar Alperovitz speaks directly to the reader about where we find ourselves in history, why the time is right for a new-economy movement to coalesce, what it means to build a new system to replace the crumbling one, and how we might begin. He also suggests what the next system might look like--and where we can see its outlines, like an image slowly emerging in the developing trays of a photographer's darkroom, already taking shape.He proposes a possible next system that is not corporate capitalism, not state socialism, but something else entirely--and something entirely American.Alperovitz calls for an evolution, not a revolution, out of the old system and into the new. That new system would democratize the ownership of wealth, strengthen communities in diverse ways, and be governed by policies and institutions sophisticated enough to manage a large-scale, powerful economy.For the growing group of Americans pacing at the edge of confidence in the old system, or already among its detractors, "What Then Must We Do?" offers an elegant solution for moving from anger to strategy.
"Publishers Weekly"-Alperovitz ("America Beyond Capitalism"), a University of Maryland political economist and cofounder of the Democracy Collaborative, transcends simple political disenchantment to examine the intertwining of political and economic power and the need to develop new institutions that help the 99% obtain more of both. The atypical conditions that made possible the postwar boom fostered the development of institutions that now are losing strength. With a nod to Tolstoy, Alperovitz encourages the reader to ponder how to redress the staggeringly unequal distribution of wealth. His survey of the American landscape highlights co-ops, employee stock ownership plans, publicly owned utilities and hospitals, and other already-successful alternatives to the for-profit corporate model. By so doing, he persuasively argues, new constituencies tied to these alternative models will emerge. His emphasis throughout is on the local level, as if to emphasize the movement toward a new American community that he espouses. The reader is certain to find his views challenging, even if the schism between conventional corporatism and "New Economy" practices that Alperovitz envisions seems to evoke the gulf between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.