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|The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism by David C. Korten
The Post-Corporate World
is a watershed book. Marrying ground-breaking analysis with heartening
prescription it is "must" reading for all who dare to hope for a livable
future. Here David Korten performs the immense service of redeeming true
market theory, and distinguishing it from capitalism, as it has taken over
our world. Moreover he shows us how to find inspiration in the nature of
living systems, and in our own evolution in this unfolding universe. Thus
to combine economic analysis with a view of reality that resonates with,
and indeed summons, our deepest spirituality is an intellectual and moral
event of the first order. This book is now required reading for all my
students and trainees. It promises to change our discourse and clarify
our strategies, as we work together to build a sustainable civilization.
An earthshaking book--a product
of brilliant thinking from one of history's most groundbreaking intellectuals
and activists. Korten speaks from a place of deep responsibility and accountability
for humanity and our relationship to the natural world. He is unafraid
to call our institutions, our popular culture and our fundamental way of
life into question, but he does this in a way that gives us all sound and
compassionate alternatives. His clarity and uncompromising integrity come
through every page and empower the reader to take a new stand for a world
that is sustainable, responsible, and steeped in the principles of relationship,
community, and consciousness.
During the Cold War, capitalism was celebrated as a counterweight to totalitarianism, and it became identified in many minds with the basic values underlying liberal democracy. David Korten's new book deftly dissects these associations. Korten argues convincingly that Adam Smith would be appalled by much that Wall Street has done in recent decades, and he raises a host of provocative questions about the emerging global economic order. Not everyone will agree with Korten's answers, but everyone will be enriched by considering his questions.
- Denis Hayes, Chair and CEO Earth Day 2000
The turmoils in the financial markets in 1998 have shown us that the globalization process needs to take much more into account the social dimension and the real interests of people. The new book of Dr. David C. Korten is a refreshing signpost for the future.
- Professor Claus Schwab, President, World Economic Forum, Geneva
In a world in which knowledge has been pushed aside by an explosion of fragmented bits and pieces we call "information," we have been disconnected from a sense of history, context and interlinkages. The world has become a chaotic melange of forces we can't anticipate or understand and frightening modern bogeymen of "market forces," "competitiveness," "efficiency" and "globalization." Increasingly, thinkers like David Korten are re-establishing connects that embed us in the real world, exposing the new demons as phantoms without substance and lifting our spirits with a new vision of human and natural communities.
-- David Suzuki, author, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature and president, The David Suzuki Foundation.
In despair about the corporatization of our culture, our earth, our very notion of being human beings? Korten offers hope, from within.
- Jim Hightower, Hightower Radio
A breakthrough contribution to an essential rethinking of the human purpose and our institutions. One of the most important books of the century.
- Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor, University for Peace, Costa Rica. Formerly UN Assistant Secretary General and Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Council.
Everyone who cares about the future should read it: students, teachers, professors, newlyweds, business owners, workers, parents, X-ers, Boomers, retirees--you! If you secretly wonder why the hyped promise of capitalism doesn't match the all too common and difficult struggle to make ends meet you will be fascinated by this account of where our economy went wrong and how we can change it. Korten makes the economic principles that got us where we are today plain, simple, accessible. He also gifts us with clear, logical principles for a living economy and fills us with hope as he catalogues how we can participate with the millions of others who are already choosing the beauty of life over the deadly logic of materialism. A stunning, illuminating and extremely important book. Read it, learn and act!
- Vicki Robin, co-author of Your Money or Your Life and president, The New Road Map Foundation
No matter what your political persuasion, building a community-sustaining economy is a top priority in the era of globalization: Korten's central message is loud and clear, hard-hitting, eminently readable, provocative--and important!
- Gar Alperovitz, author The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and President, National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives, Washington, DC
With admirable clarity and eloquence, David Korten highlights viable alternative paths--built on authoritative, pragmatic foundations--with the potential to lead us towards a more responsible and equitable future. All those haunted to the point of despair by the prevalent TINA philosophy (There is No Alternative), will derive renewed force and optimism from this visionary work.
- Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Board Chair, the Bellerive Foundation, Geneva
I cannot tell you how excited I am about this book. David Korten has made an incisive and brilliant presentation of the devastating risks that multinational capitalism creates for us all, around the planet. He then goes on to lay out a practical, yet ennobling vision of the future of our economy, a future that is worthy of the best of our hopes and dreams. It is a future for a global human culture that integrates what has been fragmented by the modern world, and makes a new synthesis of the best of tradition and of the modernity, with practical suggestions for making it real. You can have no more compassionate and humane guide to the future of a humane economy.
- Paul H. Ray, Ph.D., author of The Integral Culture Survey, and The Cultural Creatives
With incisive strokes of the pen, Korten demolishes the myths about capitalism and globalization as sources of human betterment, showing instead their life-draining qualities. But the real achievement of this extraordinary book is the resurrection of the true Adam Smith. Drawing on Smith's much-neglected Theory of Moral Sentiments, Korten points toward a genuine market economy as a life-giving economy, celebrating locality and neighborliness and human creativity. The reader will be refreshed by Korten's deliberative optimism grounded in a thorough understanding of the human condition and the liberating possibility of mindful choice.
- Elise Boulding, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Dartmouth College
Capitalism must evolve and here is the way, the truth and the light! The choice is ours to trash our planet or to "accept the responsibility of being a mature self-aware species." The clarity of David Korten's irrefutable evidence succinctly and sequentially argued is such that from boardroom to truck driver or housewife his inspiring path for re-directing ourselves to life and away from death on our beautiful but fragile planet must surely be chosen.
- Godric Bader, life president, Scott Bader Company Limited, U.K.
While I am not a total convert to the Korten post-corporate vision, I find myself coming back repeatedly to The Post-Corporate World and reading it with new questions. It makes me wrestle with my own preconceptions--philosophically, economically and as a political activist--and helps me rethink my own foundations as a social critic. Not many books offer me this kind of challenge.
- Charles Derber, author Corporation Nation and The Wilding of America. Professor of Sociology, Boston College
At last, a book on business, economics and responsible living that is fun to read. The Post-Corporate World does for our view of corporatism, what Betty Friedan did for our view of women and Rachel Carson did for our view of the environment. It is passionately and gracefully written and takes our obsession for goods and growth and turns it on itself. It will twist your mind about the world and how you are living in it. One of its strengths is the way it connects what we are learning about living system, the environment, colonial economics and democracy. No small undertaking. Read this book.
- Peter Block, author of Stewardship
The Post-Corporate World is an eloquent call for industrialized countries to once again put human values before market values. While billions of people can barely find food enough each day, and our natural world is under attack, our gravest problem may be the profound lack of vision as to how to address these problems. David Korten offers a visionary blueprint for putting life in all its forms at the center of human endeavors in the next century
- Jean-Bertrand Aristide, former president of Haiti.
Chilling and inspiring! From Adam Smith to Planetary Consciousness, David Korten provides a comprehensive, intelligent analysis of the economic forces and assumptions that have shaped our past, and the necessary choices we need to alter the course of our future.
- Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director, Co-op America.
In the wake of the recent financial meltdown following the "triumph of capitalism" pronounced after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, David Korten provides a road map to guide citizens in the search for a new economic paradigm for the 21st century.
- Tony Clarke, Director, author of Silent Coup: Confronting the Big Business Takeover of Canada and MAI. Director, Polaris Institute, Canada, and Chair of the International Forum on Globalization Committee on Corporations
First, David Korten warned us what was and would become more wrong in When Corporations Rule the World. In The Post -Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, he gives us a road map to a more humane future. For every reader who senses that today's disasters of inequality, the environment, and consumerist obsessions just can't go on--but finds no hope from experts--David Korten describes a new economic culture in which everybody matters. He dares to build on the invisible expertise of women who have been growing a difference paradigm from the bottom up.
- Gloria Steinem, Founder, Ms magazine
With his gift for storytelling and a knowledge of economic systems earned during a career in the foreign aid establishment, David Korten draws us into fascinating conceptual landscapes. He reminds me of a biblical prophet; first raging against injustice with a great heart, then leading us to the newest intellectual territory and finally giving us a map to travel the future in a wiser way with renewed hope.
- John S. Adams, Certified Financial Planner
Goes to the root of our global crisis and shows the way forward. Exciting, illuminating, hopeful -- and breathtaking in its scope!
- Jakob Von Uexkull, Founder and Chairman, The Right Livelihood Award
An explosive and insightful vision of a future in which a healthy market economy and deeply rooted democratic governance are viable alternatives to a world dominated by global corporations and unbridled capitalism.
- Marc Lindenberg, Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Washington
David Korten's new book comes out at the right time. After having brilliantly denounced corporate-led globalization in When Corporations Rule the World, with The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism he now offers us a stimulating vision on how to re-organize society around human values and respect for life. This provides a powerful input for the renewal of political debates, in particular in the North. Let us hope it will generate the intense and constructive discussions it deserves.
- Roberto Savio, director general, Inter Press Service, Rome and Secretary General, Society for International Development
David Korten has managed that most difficult of literary accomplishments passion for his cause and compassion for those with whom he disagrees. A lifetimes' experienced observation is combined with scholarly precision to provide the reader with the information and the framework to understand the interaction of global corporations and individuals and the need for immediate effective action if we are to preserve a free society on this planet.
- Robert A. G. Monks, author, The Emperor's Nightingale: Restoring the Integrity of the Corporation in the Age of Shareholder Activism and Founder and Principal, LENS Inc investment fund.
Few aspects of society are so central to ecological and social breakdown as the economy and few are so lacking in vision--until now. David Korten's book The Post-Corporate World shows that business, jobs, production, and finance can serve life-- community, ecological vitality, and soul-satisfying ways of life--rather than economic growth at all costs. This book may be among the most important books of the late 20th century.
- Sarah vanGelder, Executive Editor, YES! A Journal of Positive Futures
The conventional wisdom and triumphalism of global capitalism was so quickly engrained after the cold war that its dissolution was unthinkable. David Korten, amongst a few prescient others, predicted the collapse that was set in motion in Asia and is now spreading worldwide. Beyond the fear and enormity occasioned by this growing discontinuity, David once again looks ahead, envisioning the rudiments and principles of an economy that is guided by life rather than currency. It is an articulate and hopeful expression by one of the leading architects for a positive future.
If you want to understand what is really happening in the world, read David Korten. When Corporations Rule the World described the victory of corporate capitalism and its terrible consequences. The Post-Corporate World sets that story in a much broader context that points forward to what must come next if human beings and other creatures are to have a livable future. Despite the horrors it records it is an encouraging and energizing book, one that shows us how to live from and into a hopeful future.
- John B. Cobb, Jr., Co-author, For the Common Good, and Professor Emeritus of Religion, Claremont Graduate School
Saying what's wrong with things is relatively easy. The greater challenge is to envision a better world. This is what David Korten does in The Post-Corporate World, supplementing his vision of a world that works with numerous examples of people laboring in the here-and-now to make that vision a reality. Korten's work is an important inspiring contribution to a world badly in need of a new story.
- Carl Frankel, author of In Earth's Company and North American editor for Tomorrow Magazine
David Korten makes a compelling case for why capitalism -- in its present corporate-driven form -- must die. A new economic system which honors and uplifts the human spirit must take the place of the current dysfunctional and unsustainable system if we are to have any chance of evolving consciously.
- John E. Renesch, editor, Leadership in a New Era, New Traditions in Business, Learning Organizations, and The Conscious Organization
David Korten has done it again. Following When Corporations Rule the World, he has brought us another timely book to envision and prepare for a post-corporate world. Globalization, which was meant to establish corporate rule worldwide, is floundering everywhere. With the backdrop of the failure of globalization in Asia and climate catastrophe in Central America, the main challenge is not global market integration but survival. The Post-Corporate World shifts our priorities back from fictitious money to the real issues of living and dying. It helps us become energized in life beyond globalization
- Vandana Shiva, Third World Network, and author of Biopiracy,
David Korten has done it again. The Post Corporate World picks up where When Corporations Rule the World--his previous best-seller--leaves off, continuing his brillian presentation of the nature of the corporation, and its ecologically and socially destructive roles. Korten's work is absolutely unique among experts on the corporation, in that he emphasizes the intrinsic aspects of corporations that drive them, beyond rationality, to seek to dominate and ultimately devastate the society that supports them. But in this book, he also articulates the ultimate means that we can regain control from them. There is no book more important for anyone who wants to understand the negative power and domination of corporations in our society, or what to do about them.
- Jerry Mander, Author, Editor, The Case Against the Global Economy, and Director, The International Forum on Globalization
After explaining our present impasse with the corporate enterprise, David Korten presents an alternative way of dealing with the basic needs of life, a way that would lead us to that world of wonder and delight and fulfillment that is the proper world of human existence. He understand, with rare insight, the difficulties that the present industrial-commercial-financial corporation structures of our society have gotten us into. Fortunately he also has the practical experience and the judgment needed to guide us into that more integral life fulfillment that awaits us, if we respond wisely to the new millennium that is opening up before us. We can create a better life situation for ourselves, for our children and for the planet on which we live.
- Thomas Berry, Author, The Dream of the Earth
It's the business book least likely to be praised in the pages of Forbes -- though almost any Forbes reader would find it challenging and important."
- Bookselling This Week, January 11, 1999
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