David Korten on the Struggle for the Future of the World
This brief quotation by David Korten — whose interview we'll post later this week — provides the most succinct summary I've seen of the giant struggle that we're all now engaged in, whether or not we like it or even know about it. If you want to understand the disconnect between what you want and what your governments are providing to you, if you want to grasp the agenda of the army of lobbyists, idealogues, think-tanks and spin-doctors that infest the capitals of the world, then read this – and memorize the sentence I've underlined.
“The debates, dialogues, and street protests have brought into sharp focus a deepening struggle grounded in two sharply divergent worldviews. On one side are the forces of corporate globalization advanced by an alliance between the world's largest corporations and most powerful governments. This alliance is backed by the power of money, and its defining project is to integrate the world's national economies into a single, borderless global economy in which the world's mega-corporations are free to move goods and money anywhere in the world that affords an opportunity for profit, without governmental interference. In the name of increased efficiency the alliance seeks to privatize public services and assets and strengthen safeguards for investors and private property. In the eyes of its proponents, corporate globalization is the result of inevitable and irreversible historical forces driving a powerful engine of technological innovation and economic growth that is strengthening human freedom, spreading democracy, and creating the wealth needed to end poverty and save the environment.
“On the other side are the forces of a newly emerging global movement advanced by a planetary citizen alliance of civil society organizations. This alliance is bringing together the most important social movements of our time in common cause, is self-organizing, depends largely on voluntary social energy, and is driven by a deep value commitment to democracy, community, equity, and the web of planetary life. It is a movement of a million leaders, each contributing ideas and initiatives toward shaping the whole. In the eyes of its members, corporate globalization is neither inevitable nor beneficial, but rather the product of intentional decisions and policies promoted by the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the IMF, global corporations, and politicians who depend on corporate money. They believe corporate globalization is enriching the few at the expense of the many, replacing democracy with rule by corporations and financial elites, destroying the real wealth of the planet and society to make money for the already wealthy, and eroding the relationships of trust and caring that are the essential foundation of a civilized society.”
— David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World, introduction to the second edition. Emphasis mine.
David Korten, our next Green Interview, is a founder of Yes! Magazine and of BALLE, the Business Association for Local Living Economies. He's also co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, which seeks to create a new sustainable economy to replace what Korten calls “the suicide economy” of today.