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Employment and Jobs

The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy – A Book Talk with Nick Romeo






As the world continues to confront inhumane levels of poverty, widening inequality, and environmental degradation, a growing number of individuals, including academics, business owners, and policy entrepreneurs, are calling for a new moral economy. These leaders are rejecting the conventional economic myths that free markets are more efficient and that enormous inequalities are unavoidable; instead, they’re embracing ethical and socially responsible economic models that prioritize moral action and accountability.

book jacket for "The Alternative" book, by Nick Romeo

In his new book, “The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy,” author and academic Nick Romeo explores this paradigm shift in economic thinking, challenging prevailing notions perpetuated by some economists and business leaders. He shares compelling stories of these new innovative approaches, including businesses organized as purpose trusts, venture capital funds addressing wealth inequality and climate change, Oslo’s successful climate budgeting program, Portugal’s democratic budget decisions, worker-owned cooperatives fostering innovation, and public-sector initiatives providing protections for gig workers. “The Alternative” presents a vision of economies that are more equal, just, and livable, showcasing real-world examples of success. Ultimately, it challenges the prevailing narrative and offers a glimpse into a viable alternative economic system.

In this conversation — which took place on January 24, 2024 — we hear Nick Romeo and moderator Maureen Conway (Vice President, The Aspen Institute; Executive Director, Economic Opportunities Program) discuss his new book and invite guests to imagine what a more humane economy could be.



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Check out this discussion on reshaping economic systems for fairness and sustainability with Nick Romeo, author of “The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy.” Here’s a recording of Romeo speaking at the Aspen Institute: #TalkOpportunity

We’re witnessing a paradigm shift in economic thinking, and it’s challenging the myths perpetuated by many economists and business leaders. Learn more in Nick Romeo’s book, “The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy,” and hear him #TalkOpportunity at the Aspen Institute:

In his book, “The Alternative,” author Nick Romeo explores ideas about embracing ethical and socially responsible economic models that prioritize moral action and accountability. Listen to Romeo #TalkOpportunity at the Aspen Institute:

“The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy,” a new book by author Nick Romeo, delves into ideas about reshaping economic systems for greater fairness and sustainability. Hear the Aspen Institute’s Maureen Conway #TalkOpportunity with Nick:


headshot of author Nick Romeo wearing a white shirt and dark jacket

Nick Romeo

Author, “The Alternative: How to Build a Just Economy”

Nick covers policy and ideas for the New Yorker and teaches in the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, the Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, and many other venues.


Photo of Maureen Conway

Maureen Conway

Vice President, The Aspen Institute; Executive Director, Economic Opportunities Program

Maureen Conway serves as vice president at the Aspen Institute and as executive director of the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program (EOP). EOP works to expand individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and build economic stability that provides the freedom to pursue opportunity. View Maureen’s full bio.

Opportunity in America

Opportunity in America, an event series hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program, considers the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country. The series highlights the ways in which issues of race, gender, and place exacerbate our economic divides, and ideas and innovations with potential to address these challenges and broaden access to quality opportunity.

We are grateful to Prudential Financial, Walmart, the Surdna Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Bloomberg, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for their support of this series.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

Event information
Wed Jan 24, 2024
2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
The Aspen Institute
Washington DC