How will we respond to the convergence of historic changes upon us? Our generation faces global pressures on food, water and a stable climate, along with growing inequality and fading dreams of a good life. How can we rethink old economic models that compound these problems? Our learning community is dedicated to searching for promising ideas, finding practices that work, and developing communication models to help different audiences, from citizens to policymakers, better understand these challenges and take effective action.


Re-imagine, re-tool, and communicate new visions of prosperity in a changing world.

Rethinking Prosperity is a research, learning, and civic engagement program to re-imagine, re-tool, and communicate new visions of prosperity in a changing world. Our approach includes original research, new learning opportunities, and convening stakeholders. Bridging the classroom, research center, and civic arena, we seek new strategies for communicating economic, environmental and social policies that work better, for more people.
  • Searching for Promising Ideas
  • Finding Practices That Work
  • Development Communication Models

Program Features

Debates about the economic growth and environmental sustainability are siloed, and polarized, limiting the scope of needed change in policy thinking.  Rethinking Prosperity changes the conversation locally and nationally by mapping and seeding easily spreadable ideas about how an economy can work well for more people, within planetary boundaries over the long run. This entails understanding and reframing contemporary debate on economic and environmental sustainability.  We do this through:


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Keep in Touch

The Conversation Online

3 days ago

Even if you're not a Reddit user, you should capitalize (pun intended) on this opportunity to discuss a critical New Economy live with economist-activist Keith Harrington!

The event is called "Everyday Revolutionaries (Local Economic Innovators) Can Take Down Corporate Capitalism — But Only With a Common Vision," and it's happening TODAY, July 24th, noon to 2pm Pacific (3pm-5pm Eastern) -- on

From the event page:

"If you're not familiar, the popular social media and news-sharing site has a terrific platform for live discussions. It's their Ask Me Anything platform. President Obama, Hollywood celebrities, NASA scientists — as well as quirky hobbyists and folks with something interesting to say — have hosted AMAs of their own. The Reddit community is lively — smart, thoughtful, and ready to dig in with challenging questions.

You'll need a Reddit login to participate in the AMA with Keith Harrington. Please do consider signing up, and joining us. We need your voice there too!"
... See MoreSee Less

New Economy AMA with Keith Harrington!

July 24, 2015, 12:00pm - July 24, 2015, 4:00pm

View Here: Please set this date and time aside to join in on a critical New Economy live interview/conversation with economist-activist Keith Harrington: Everyday Revolutionaries (Local Economic Innovators) Can Take Down Corporate Capitalism — But Only With a Common Vision...

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5 days ago

It is not our management of the commons specifically that need to transform first, but the social imaginary of what is we uses resources for argues Maria Kaika. ... See MoreSee Less

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Center for Communication and Civic Engagement

The Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (CCCE) at the University of Washington, Seattle is uniquely positioned to integrate the core elements of learning, research, and public service that define this program.  Our Faculty, Student, and Community Team led by CCCE Director Lance Bennett, have the expertise to communicate new ideas effectively, and our network of advisers and fellows ground and inform our work.  These partnerships and projects, from local to international aim to build civic capacity and create a new generation of change agents.


  • Testimonial

    Lance Bennett

    Director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, Professor of Political Science & Communication

    About Lance Bennett

    Lance Bennett received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1974, and has taught since then at the University of Washington. He is the Director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, Professor of Political Science and Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication. Bennett has lectured internationally on the importance of media and information systems in civic life. His current research interests include: press-government relations and the quality of public information; communication and the organization of social movements; transnational activism; citizenship and youth civic engagement, digital media and political participation, and modeling the organization of technology enabled crowds.

  • Testimonial

    Deric Gruen

    Center for Communication & Civic Engagement Fellow

    About Deric Gruen

    Deric Gruen (MPA University of Washington) joined the team in 2014 as a Center for Communication & Civic Engagement Fellow.  He is the Rethinking Prosperity Project Manager.  Deric is a Fellow at the Sightline Institute and the Emerging Leaders in Energy and Environmental Policy network (ELEEP) a transatlantic program of Ecologic Institute and Atlantic Council. Deric was the Director of Sustainability for Bellevue College, winner of the national 2013 Climate Leadership Award, where he led campus, curricular, and community leadership initiatives.

  • Testimonial

    Caterina Rost

    Teaching & Research Assistant, Political Science

    About Caterina Rost

    Caterina Rost (M.A. University of Leipzig, M.A. University of Washington) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. Her dissertation compares the trajectory of the idea of sustainable development in the German and American policy discourse. In addition to having assisted Prof. Bennett in teaching the undergraduate lecture “Media, Society, and Political Identity” multiple times, she is centrally involved in organizing Rethinking Prosperity events and conducting research.

  • Testimonial

    John de Graaf

    Center for Communication & Civic Engagement Fellow

    About John de Graaf

    Author, filmmaker and Executive Director of Take Back Your Time ( Fifteen of his documentaries, including the popular special, AFFLUENZA, have been broadcast nationally on PBS. His books include the best-seller AFFLUENZA: THE ALL-CONSUMING EPIDEMIC, now in its third edition, and WHAT’S THE ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY? His work and speaking engagements involve exploration of the intersection of happiness, work-life balance, consumerism, health and sustainability. He has taught at The Evergreen State College and helped develop the UW Summer School Class “What’s the Economy for, Anyway?” in 2007.He is a co-founder of The Happiness Initiative ( and recently served as an advisor to the government of Bhutan as it development its Gross National Happiness project proposal for the United Nations.


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