New Economy Week: Topics of Conversation

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On each of the five days of New Economy Week, we’ll be hosting articles, essays, and public conversation about one aspect of the new economy. We’ll link to all five days from this page.

From cooperatives to public banks and everything in between, new economy solutions have been a hallmark of YES! coverage. But, what is the new economy exactly? The answer is up for debate, and, as a part of New Economy Week, we will be diving right into the middle of it. Our friends at the New Economy Coalitions sent five pivotal questions about new economy issues to their members, and we at YES! will be posting the conversations from Monday to Friday, from October 13-17.


Day 1: The new economy isn’t new

Let’s get this out of the way at the start: There’s nothing really new in the “new economy.” Ideas like cooperative economics, ecological justice, horizontal democracy, and the commons are ideas with a rich history—especially in the places most deeply affected by pollution, poverty, and racism. Those who have suffered the most at the hands of an unfair economy are the most experienced at imagining and building alternative futures. How can we honor that as we build a broad-based social movement to transform our economy?

Day 2: Expanding how we think about what’s possible

In the late 1970s, U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher often repeated the phrase “There is no alternative”—meaning that deregulated capitalism was the only possible way of doing things. It’s an idea that still carries a lot of weight today, stifling the popular imagination. The good news is that it’s just not true: there are many alternatives. Local groups and social movements have been building alternatives to capitalism for centuries. How can we change the mainstream narrative about what’s possible?

Day 3: Building a movement that can win

Let’s be real. Those who have benefited from the concentration of wealth and power aren’t going to give up their power willingly. Fresh ideas for an alternative economy aren’t going anywhere without a social movement powerful enough to deliver real change despite opposition. The good news is that this movement is emerging. Our ideas and projects are resonating with people and even beginning to beat back industries that funnel wealth into the hands of a powerful few. But we can’t be content working at the margins. How do we build the kind of power we need to transform the economy?

Day 4: Combating climate change without leaving anyone behind

Powerful interests divide communities by presenting a false choice between good jobs and a healthy environment. But the new economy rejects the idea that there isn’t enough to go around. The climate science is clear: we have to move quickly to a renewable energy economy. But we have to also move in the right direction by making sure that those people who have been employed and exploited by polluting industries are not left behind. How do we transition to an economy powered by renewable energy without leaving behind these workers, their families, and everyone who depends on them?

Day 5: The new economy is close to home

Our current economy is undermining our aspirations for a democratic society and it seems unlikely that national governments are going to turn it around any time soon. But there are many examples of bold action emerging from local and regional contexts. From Richmond, Calif., to Jackson, Miss., people are organizing to build local power and are seeing major victories that could point the way to a new economy. How do we support and encourage work on the local level?


This project is a collaboration between the New Economy Coalition and YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions.


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