A Radical Departure

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Gus Speth Delivers Commencement Address to the U of Mass Boston Class of 2013

You can find a video of Gus Speth’s commencement address and a link to the full text below.

As the graduating class of 2013 commemorated their accomplishments at the University of Massachusetts Boston on May 31, 2013, New Economy Working Group member Gus Speth joined them to deliver their official commencement address.

Typically, commencement speeches provide a few final words of wisdom to the graduating class seeking success in new endeavors in life.   However, in typical Speth-fashion, he radically departed from the old way of doing things. Instead he urged the graduating class to fundamentally question their notions of what it means to be “successful” and “happy” – in line with principles of the New Economy.    



The speech was delivered in his southern genteel charm and humor, which made it easier to swallow the deep challenges of our time. In his opening remarks, Speth questioned our fetish with consumerism and its inability to buy happiness. He urged the graduates to find value and fulfillment in caring for one another. To him this means: caring for each other, caring for our community, and caring for the planet.  

To Speth, part of the problem is with Washington – it is broken and cannot pass legislation to get us where we need to be. He asserts that it is not radical to demand fundamental human rights, like the right to a good job and the right to adequate food, which are essential to our wellbeing. Speth invited the graduating class to join him in calling into question the entire neo-liberal economic system and to join him in building a new economy.  

The full text of Speth’s remarks can be downloaded here.