It is increasingly apparent that today’s economy is not working for most of us. Growing inequality of wealth and income is putting the famous American middle class in danger of becoming a distant memory. Most American children now face economic prospects worse than their parents enjoyed. We suffer from more frequent financial shocks and linger in recession far longer than in the past.Our education and health care systems don’t stack up to those of other countries with similar living standards. And if all this were not enough, environmental destruction continues to escalate as we stand on the verge of triggering irreversible, and perhaps cataclysmic, climate change.
Yet, beneath the radar of the mainstream media, a diverse and energetic new generation of business models has cropped up in response to urgent, unmet needs. We’re talking about innovations like worker-owned cooperatives, credit unions,community-supported agriculture, sharing platforms and businesses, and community energy enterprises. (You may have seen organizations like this in the “new economy” section of the YES! website. But in this project we are calling them part of a “future” rather than a “new” economy because some initiatives, such as cooperatives, have been with us for centuries.)