"[Speth] does a marvelous job of summarizing the most pressing problems and offering realistic and promising solutions. . . . This book is optimistic even in the midst of seemingly insurmountable problems."—Choice
“A brilliant, powerfully supported manifesto and an indispensable call to arms in the fight to build a democratic and ecologically sustainable system in the 21st century.”—Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and Our Democracy (Gar Alperovitz)
“One of our most trusted elders in the environmental movement offers a sweeping and inspiring vision for how to transform a deeply ailing culture. A true gift of a book, at exactly the right moment.”— Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein)
"In this hopeful and timely book, Gus Speth, one of the nation's leading environmental reformers turned system-critic, articulates what increasing numbers of Americans are feeling: a loss of faith in our market-centric, growth-oriented model. To jump-start a journey of transition, Speth presents a vision for comprehensive and deep change that is rooted in a sustaining economy and a new set of cultural values. Speth's profoundly humane sensibilities and common sense approach are sure to resonate with readers."—Juliet Schor, author of True Wealth: How and why millions of Americans are creating a time-rich, ecologically-light, small-scale, high-satisfaction economy (Juliet Schor)
"There is no more important commentator and visionary on ways out of the American economic dilemma than Gus Speth. His experiences are unique—in government, academia, and as a deeply engaged economic activist, working toward a systemic evolution that accepts natural limits and the primacy of democratic values. His new book is confident, comprehensive, rich with new ideas, and it confirms Speth as among the leading thinkers and voices in the urgent campaign for new economic models. I recommend it to everyone."—Jerry Mander, author, The Capitalism Papers; Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System (Jerry Mander)
From the Author
A conversation with Gus Speth
Q: You have previously authored two award-winning books with Yale University Press. How do you see America the Possible in relation to the other two?
A: I see them as a progression, a trilogy perhaps, each digging deeper into what I think of as the American Crisis. When huge problems emerge across a wide front, such as we have in America, it cannot be for small reasons. What we have is system failure. Our current system of political economy is not delivering good results socially, economically, environmentally, or politically. That's America's real crisis. America the Possible takes all this head on; it is the broadest in scope and boldest in ambition of the three books.
Q: How so?
A: The book is brutally honest about the full range of major challenges America now faces, not just the environmental ones. It explains how we got ourselves into this sea of troubles and presents the specific changes now needed to get us out. Importantly, it describes a vision of America the Possible, an attractive yet plausible future that is still within our power to realize. And it sets out how system change can come to America.
Q: What should the first steps toward America the Possible be?
A: The truly good news is that important steps are already being taken. Look across America and one sees local communities reclaiming themselves, new forms of corporate ownership and management, families adopting new lifestyles, and much more. The future is being built from the bottom up. The next big step, which I discuss in Part IV of the book, is for progressives of all stripes to come together to forge a movement demanding prodemocracy political reforms. We've got to save our democracy from creeping corporatocracy and plutocracy, and we've got to do it soon.