Synopses & Reviews
In this third volume of his award-winning American Crisis series, James Gustave Speth makes his boldest and most ambitious contribution yet. He looks unsparingly at the sea of troubles in which the United States now finds itself, charts a course through the discouragement and despair commonly felt today, and envisions what he calls America the Possible, an attractive and plausible future that we can still realize.
The book identifies a dozen features of the American political economyand#8212;the country's basic operating systemand#8212;where transformative change is essential. It spells out the specific changes that are needed to move toward a new political economyand#8212;one in which the true priority is to sustain people and planet. Supported by aand#160;compelling "theory of change" that explains how system change can come to America, the book also presents a vision of political, social, and economic life in a renewed America. Speth envisions a future that will be well worth fighting for. In short, this is a book about the American future and the strong possibility that we yet have it in ourselves to use our freedom and our democracy in powerful ways to create something fine, a reborn America, for our children and grandchildren.
Manifesto for a new economy and a new politics
Why the crisis in which America finds itself demands a new "operating system"
About 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:and#160;Iand#160;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.