Making Contact

Making Contact – October 20, 2006

David Korten and The Great Turning

You wouldn’t have expected David Korten to raise any doubts about the global
economy and its ability to solve poverty and environmental damage if you
knew him in the 1980s. At that time, he was working for the U.S. Agency for
International Development, touting the benefits of international investment
in South East Asia. Then something changed.

Far from creating universal prosperity, Korten observed that the economic
models of the organizations he worked for were producing devastating
consequences for people and planet. In 1992 he wrote "When Corporations Rule
the World," his deeper examination of economic models that serve the
interests of wealthy people who are in the position to profit from global
corporations and financial markets.

His most recent book is, "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth
Community." Korten argues that corporate consolidation of power is merely a
contemporary manifestation of what he calls "Empire." By Empire, he means,
"the organization of society by hierarchies of domination grounded in
violent chauvinisms of race, gender, religion, nationality, language, and
class." He says that as a result, our society is unraveling, whether you
look at climate change, dwindling fossil fuel supplies, environmental
degradation, or an unfair global economic system. According to Korten, we
cannot avoid the unraveling. We can, however, turn a potentially terminal
crisis into a new opportunity.

In May 2006, Korten spoke to an audience at the First Congregational Church
in Oakland, California, about why he thinks we’re on the cusp of a major
shift from a world dominated by economic values to one that embraces human

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