America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, a new book from Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow James Gustave Speth, examines the grave and interconnected challenges facing Americans -- joblessness, failing schools, declining health, intractable poverty, income inequality, a poisoned environment, dwindling natural resources, indebtedness, climate change, war – and outlines the urgent changes we must embrace now in order to leave a prosperous, secure and healthy nation for future generations.
Speth looks at ways the current polarized, money-driven political system prevents leaders from combatting problems quickly enough to avert disaster. The book is an unyielding investigation of a political economy that blindly privileges growth over well-being, corporate interests over the interests of citizens and communities, bloated national financial institutions over local banks, military power over diplomacy, the production of goods over the protection of resources, and consumerism over social connectedness. He argues a deeply flawed electoral process and campaign finance system have weakened a once muscular democracy, giving undue influence to the rich.
There is hope, however. In charting a different course for the country, the changes Speth calls for are not incremental. He advocates for sweeping concrete actions to reverse current destructive trends, including a groundswell of public energy, and an overhaul of the nation’s operating system, politics, economics, priorities, and values. America the Possible provides both ammunition and vision for a new progressive movement to lead America to a brighter future for all.
James Gustave Speth is available for comment and appearances. America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy is from Yale University Press.