In Navigating System Transition in a Volatile Century, Michael Lewis puts forward a vision for a new global economic system built from the ground up. Structured on values such as resilience, cooperation, decentralized and democratic ownership, the commons, and dependence on nature in demand, Lewis’s model is based on “cooperative economic democracy” and the solidarity economy. To transition to this new system, Lewis recognizes the need for strategic interventions, from minimizing investments on carbon intensive services and products to the adoption of basic minimum income guarantees, debt-free money, and “glocalization” through a federation of networks, coalitions, and movements. As he explains, cooperative economic democracy and the solidarity economy are not only ends, but also important features of the transition, as they can help us effectively “resist what thwarts transition, build out the alternatives and, whether in opposing or proposing, vigorously advocate” for alternatives. Throughout his paper, Lewis also presents important examples to illustrate what can be accomplished within the current system, including the RESO initiative in Montreal, the successful worker and consumer cooperatives in Emilia-Romagna in Italy, and the Vía Campesina movement.
Key Trends Defining our Time
This paper by Michael T. Lewis, published alongside three others, is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative we have published or will be publishing here at the Next System Project. We have commissioned these papers in order to facilitate an informed and comprehensive discussion of “new systems,” and as part of this effort, we have also created a comparative framework which provides a basis for evaluating system proposals according to a common set of criteria.