Home > Food for Thought, Future of Money, Self Reliance, Sustainability > A Crumbling Cultural Story by David Korten — Agenda for a New Economy

A Crumbling Cultural Story by David Korten — Agenda for a New Economy


David Korten has been an important force in the cogent analysis of contemporary economic and cultural history, as well as providing ideas on how we can push forward an alternative vision that provides for the needs and interests of everyone. In his important book, When Corporations Rule the World, Korten examines the means by which corporations extend their control over an unjust international world order. First published in 1995, the book is thought to be instrumental in inspiring many intellectuals, as well as conservatives, to participate in the so-called anti-globalization protests (many people consider the term to be a misnomer) that culminated in Seattle/N30. His work with Yes! continues to be an inspiration to many who consider the challenge going forward to be a positive step, rather than one opposed to a demeaning, degenerative, and defeatist conspiracy of dunces.

The sustainability of human life will depend entirely on the concerted efforts of the living, to consider and act upon the interests of the whole and not on the selfish interests of the few who control the vast majority of assets and political/economic power.

In his current essay, Korten says, “For five thousand years, successful imperial rulers have maintained their power in part by controlling the story tellers to communicate fabricated cultural stories that evoke fear, alienation, learned helplessness, and a sense dependence on a strong ruler for direction and protection.”

We live no in an era in which we can all be effective story tellers, with an audience that spans the globe. No doubt, those who currently control the dominant cultural channels struggle to maintain their stranglehold on both these channels and, by doing so, stoking the sense of fear and need for protection.

But there are many signs that people are rejecting these Centuries-old imperial obsessions. What was once the domain of the agnostics and apathetic minorities is now being transformed into the overwhelming numbers of people around the world who are angry about being left out. We no longer see ourselves as helpless, but as people with the power to desist and overthrow. While it is clear that disassembling the instruments of oppression are not enough to instill love, hope, and optimism in the place of fear, alienation, helplessness, and lack of direction, rejection of these tools of power and control is the first step in a new direction.

I say YES!

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