Innovative, Democratic and Sustainable Economic Models Emerge as Viable Alternatives to America’s Current Failing System

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Posted July 10, 2013

Interview with Gar Alperovitz, the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, conducted by Scott Harris. This interview was previously broadcast in the program posted on May 8, 2013.


Economists and pundits tell us that the U.S. economy is slowly healing after the near collapse ushered in by the housing bubble bursting in 2007/2008. And while the unemployment rate was down a little in May to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, the "real" unemployment rate, which counts the underemployed and discouraged workers is 13.8 percent of the workforce. The “Great Recession,” exposed the unpleasant reality of many of the longstanding downward trends in the American economy, where the Middle Class is shrinking, income and wealth inequality is rising and families are struggling to buy or keep their homes, pay health care bills and afford college tuition.

The partisan gridlock in Washington also reveals a political system where more often than not, those with the most money and power win elections and determine public policy mostly benefiting the elite. The Occupy Wall Street movement born in 2011 was an expression of this malaise, calling attention to a broken system urgently in need of repair.

Into this bleak scene, where many citizens have come to believe that America’s best days are behind us, Gar Alperovitz, Prof. of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, tells us there are many reasons to be hopeful. In his new book, What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution,” Alperovitz examines innovative, democratic and sustainable alternatives to America’s current failing system. Between The Lines’ Scott harris spoke with Alperovitz about new democratically-owned enterprises that are thriving across the nation, such as worker-owned cooperatives, credit unions, public banks and utilities.

For more information on the book and the future of worker and publicly-owned enterprises, visit The Democracy Collaborative at

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