david korten

[bainbridge island, wa]

intro’d to David via his book: change the story change the future, recommended by Luba.


pbs interview 2010:

wake up to misplaced priorities


9 min – David’s answer to.. but will it get us jobs.. he says.. actually the real issue is livelihood.. we need to move beyond thinking about jobs..

how does this scale up: 1\ changing the story of our economic possibility 2\creating the new reality from the bottom up.. creating it by doing it – which is what’s happening in bellingham.. 3\ build the political power to change the rules so they favor the main st econ rather than wall st econ

worker ownership.. various forms of coops – wave of future


interview on change the story 2014:

organizes in community.. local everywhere… life can only exist in community

decision making everywhere is local

2 key things for organizational structure – values and power.. currently – money is value… we need to organize that life is the defining value..

how to transfer the power – –> change the story… do/create it… change policy

change the story and that changes everything

(or make policy irrelevant…?)

money is a human creation.. no existence outside the human mind.. totally irrelevant to nature

the story lives in the human heart

huge.. that changes everything.. no?

different people have different pieces of it..

we haven’t invested in finding our shared framing story.. that connects the dots..

the key is not money

unless – ironically – we can use it as a jumpstart/placebo – to get enough people to not think about money for 6-12 months.. no?

11 min – talking about buying out corps and put into coops… sounds like the 7 mill ish to obtain community owned spaces in the city.

using the tools of the system to subvert the system


below are notes from original read.. see change the story page for notes added while re reading 21


change the story

the story that enslaves us is not the real story.

I came to see a near-universal pattern. Economies were growing financially at the expense of life.

We spoke of economic development as a process of monetizing relationships that had once been based on a sense of mutual caring and obligation between people, and between people and the land.

focused on money, rather than on the life we really want, we yield the power and will of our life energy to institutions structured to seek financial gain by any means.

deep enough

As our dependence on money replaces our direct relationships with one another and nature, we turn to money as the measure of our accomplishment and relinquish control of our lives to institutions that control our access to it.

manufacturing consent.. what if money

Any mention of how people and nature are doing is usually in the context of assessing the implications for the GDP and stock prices—financial indicators that speak to how money and the moneyed are doing. To listen to the discussion, you would infer that the purpose of people and nature is to serve money.

Economics courses in our most prestigious institutions teach this story as settled science. The corporate media constantly repeat it.

science of people in schools ness

profit itself is not the problem. a modest profit is essential to the health and survival of any private enterprise.

wait.. what?.. whoa.

when dealing with a self-destructive system supported by a false story, the only solution is a different system grounded in a different story.

global systemic change..

i believe that the critical elements of this sacred life and living earth story live in the human heart.

indeed. whatever you call it.. whatever it is that we need and are craving.. already written on each heart… so what we need is time and space.. to listen to that. everyday. a nother way.

no matter how discredited an established story may be, we cling to it in our public discourse until it is replaced by a more compelling story.

says right before that.. that we cannot act coherently as a society w/o a shared framing story.. it defines our shared values, ad priorities, the questions we ask, and the options we consider.. the debates… et al. then right after that.. he’s suggesting the story be part of our academic curricula.. and a part of assessing the performance of the economy.. so.. what if he’s doing what he just described.. and so – as he says.. we reinforce it. because we haven’t stepped away, zoomed out, enough.. to ie: question school… question performance…

we do not lack for examples of the human capacity for greed and ruthless competition in disregard for the well-being of others. such behavior, however, is a mark of psychopathic and sociopathic dysfunction. emotionally healthy humans are characteristically caring and sharing – traits essential to healthy social function.

In the most mature expression of our human consciousness, we develop a capacity to recognize and honor simultaneously both our oneness and our individuality.

networked individualismone ness.. dancing with the it is me ness.

I have come to suspect that some version of this story lives in every human heart—no matter how suppressed it may be.

Our brains are wired to connect.

so simple enough mechanism … just to unleash – what’s already there..  7 billion + people can be trusted..

at our most mature, it is our nature to feel a deep connection with and caring for all being..

here he’s talking attachment.. and authenticity.

The Original Instructions are integral to our human nature, and they manifest through the whole of life. This comes as no surprise to anyone who is paying attention.

so – to help the shell-less turtles (returning their shells – via placebo perhaps).. believe it’s legal to think for themselves… that’s all we need. we don’t need to prep or train or whatever.. just free art\ists.. – let’s do that first. no?

ch 5 – not sure why we have to have this detailed of a story.. if it’s already in our heart.. no? how many will you lose when you talk like the story you are telling is fact. undermining their own curiosity/heart.. compulsory curriculum ish.. no? is there a real purpose/need for this?

p. 36 – wonder about the use of adolescence.. wonder if that’s part of a verbiage pkg that comes with the science of people in schools.

the loss of ordered structure..?

to maintain these flows, life self-organizes everywhere as a system of bioregional communities that scale upward like nested russian dills from the micro to the global.. some systems theorists refer to this as a holonic structure..


self-organizing ness

structure – art-ists

..individual cells and organisms can no more exist outside a larger community of living organisms than the community of life can exist without the self-directing agency of the individuals that constitute it.

then he writes: the more complex, diverse, and coherent are the relationships internal to each community, the greater the community’s resilience and creative potential..

i would take out the word coherent.. and the last phrase.. replacing it with.. the greater its antifragility.. no? [coherent: logical and consistent.. ?]

5 pts in 1991 lecture sponsored by schumacher society: 1. each has own inner voice 2. can’t survive in fragments (tim berners lee and net) 3. don’t get another earth 4. can’t have well humans on a sick planet..  5. earth & human dance

perhaps if the – imagine a world.. is enhanced (shorten time between intention and action) to hasten us back to our innate ness.. that last paragraph will become irrelevant (ch 6 – business, money, et al will exist)..

ch 7 – the earliest trade involved the barter of things..? – David Graeber – no barter..? – only wondering/questioning.. because that could be a raised eyebrow.. a 10 day care centers slide in.. that compromises.. our potential.. ie: do we need to barter

The poor to whom Truman referred as “underdeveloped” were subsistence producers who had no need of money income because they lived directly from local lands and waters without market intervention. By this reckoning, the developed are those who depend on the exchange of money for their means of living—food, shelter, water, education, recreation, and health care. Those in transition from under-developed to developed are “developing.”

how crazy are we..

Economists and development agencies point to growth in GDP and money incomes as proof of development success. Mostly the success reduced previously self-reliant peoples to conditions of involuntary servitude to international banks and corporations as their governments ran up massive foreign debts they could not repay.

Focused on caring for money, we neglect everything that is essential to our well-being.

A living-wealth economics will focus not on how best to allocate money to maximize financial returns, but rather how best to allocate our life energy—essentially human time and talent—to maximize living returns to people and nature.

zinn quote on people energy

p. 117 – the u.s. created a decentralized, community-rooted banking system in response to the financial crash of 1929? (financed war, created middle class, ..:..put man on moon..).. then wall street stepped in, dismantled it.. put in place a system devoted .. to speculation and the gamin of global financial markets..

? how could it be dismantled if community rooted and decentralized.. how could it pay for war if community rooted..? i don’t know..

p. 118 – we have the right and the mean as democratic societies to restore sensible financial rules and create a financial system based on these same principles.

or make it all irrelevant.. no?

radical econ

p. 119 – bullets of govt regulatory, in living economy… and one includes paid employment..(?)

shaped by the pressures of the money economy, our academic institutions have become factories for producing compliant debt-burdened workers for indentured service to corporate robots.

we have an urgent need for leaders with the skills and understanding required to advance our turning to a living economy..

or space and permission for 100% of humanity – to do it together.. no?

one can learn a great deal about the inner workings of machine by disassembling it, …then restore to its original state.. to disassemble a living being is to kill it… and thereby destroy its essence..

we need decision makers in all these fields skilled in creating and managing the institutional physical infrastructure of a society in which life is the goal, money and markets are the means…

? – money and marketing the means –  isn’t that what got us here in the first place. am i misunderstanding this?

most of leaning relevant to our turning from a money econ to a living econ is taking place outside the walls of academia. those who lead the way exhibit a deep love of life and possess the wisdom of the heart. some may have advanced academic credentials; most do not……

Learning accumulates in the cultural and social DNA of the communities in which it occurs. There is a great need for systematic documentation to facilitate sharing and thereby accelerate humanity’s global learning process.

document everything ness… app output

not sure of need to accelerate the process.. just to do it better.. no? cut a bunch of stuff out.. ie: all the just in case stuff.. all the rules stuff….

p. 124 – each of the system changes outlined above is essential.

i don’t know if they are deep/essential enough.. for the change we want..

If, however, we limit ourselves to what is politically feasible, we in effect declare that human survival is politically infeasible.

technically possible.. to have no hunger.. no homeless.. et al.. politics/rules/policy getting in the way..

The only intelligent course is to define together what is necessary.

2 needs

i have witnessed in my lifetime a number of politically infeasible transformations. ie: collapse of british rule in india, transformation of race relations and gender roles, the fall of the berlin wall and the disintegration of the soviet union, the end of apartheid in s africa, and the ouster of the marcos dictatorship in the philippines.. each seemed impossible until it happened..

now to work on something that goes deeper – and ongoingly regenerates itself… ie: beyond happened once.. ongoingly happening.. every day. do over.

above on answer to Peter

p. 125 – won’t change through political confrontation w/institutions of money econ.. rather.. change the story that legitimates their power.. everything else then follows..

and we probably need to model the story rather than just tell it

ch 10: Popular movements dedicated to advancing democracy, racial and gender equality, environmental health, and peace organize around discrete issues.

need for deep enough ness

as the living econ gains in scale and visibility, it provides a growing range of attractive opportunities for employment, shopping, and investment…

lots of (orange highlighted) phrases through here.. worried that about partial ness.. or again – maybe i’m mis understanding.. employment..shopping.. investment..?

ie: working with govt on building codes.. i get that – andrés ness (hacking codes).. but i think we go more for baan ness (self-organizing – trusting local)

The physical encampments of the Occupy movement served as social laboratories in which a new generation explored the processes and possibilities of radical self-organization in community… (said w/o money – but is that true…)

then: the more sophisticated organizations are asking “does our work merely provide temporary relief for a few victims of a failed system, or does it make an incremental contribution to shifting power … national people’s action is a leading example..

http://npa-us.org/about-us – since 1972

such organizations.. rather than provide temp shelter.. recover homes illegally foreclosed by wall street banks.. return to owners and homeless.. rather than soup kitchen.. create coop community gardens on rooftop vacant lots

..community banks cooperatively owned by the people who depend on them for financial services – an example of deep power-shifting system transformation..

deep enough? i don’t know.

lacking a name and a unifying story, this movement of movements remains invisible to the broader public..

true.. and that could very well be it. but it seems many have come up with names and stories.. just not deep enough.. to resonate with 7 billion people today.. with a mechanism simple enough to be used/accessed by 7 billion people today. in a system that would free and keep freeing us all… every day.

Imperial rulers, whether king or corporate robot, depend on the obedience of the ruled. Their seemingly invincible power is an illusion. They hold only the power that the people yield to them.

to become a truly transformative force, however, the emerging movement needs a shared public story – one that connects and frames the movement’s varied elements and the vision of possibility that together we have the potential to make real. a compelling and broadly inclusive story of possibility is the key to building the movement’s visibility and coherence.

story – yes.. perhaps model first..? ie: we didn’t learn to walk from a story.. no?

radical economy – David and Charles Eisenstein and Daniel Pinchbeck:

convince people show graeber longer

in notes:

ch4: matthew d lieberman, social: why our brains are wired to connect 2013; and colin tudge, why genes are not selfish and people are nice 2013

ch5: thomas berry, the exozoic era, 11th annual ef schumacher lecture oct 1991

ch 8: 1991 – sixto roxas, the ideological roots of crisis in an archipelagic country; korten, agenda for a new economy : from phantom wealth t real wealth, 2010

ch9: documentary – (war on drugs) the house i live in..  http://www.thehouseilivein.org/

gar alperovitz, america beyond capitalism 2005; shift change, documentary by mark dworkin and melissa young – http://shiftchange.org/

the next system project

argument/structure for proposed system… via david – how to liberate america from wall street rule, the new economy working group, july 2011  http://www.neweconomyworkinggroup.org/new-economy-story/how-liberate-america-wall-street-rule

ch10: korten – we know who stole the economy  http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/we-know-who-stole-the-economy-national-people2019s-action-moves-to-take-it-back

in acknowledgments:

march 2012 – green econ retreat was awakening for david

yes – as go to communications for news of new economy – sarah van gelder – editorial vision

gar alperovitz, … gus speth… frances morre lappé,.. kat gjovik… (staff of living economies in bainbrige).. gopal dayaneni, … otto scharmer

in about the author:

co-founder and board chair of yes magazine, co-chair of the new economy working group, the president of the living economies forum – while at stanford

with Fran.. set up the college of business admin in haile selassie 1 uni in ethiopia….

vietnam war – captain in air force.. special air warfare school..

central american management institute in nicaragua – he was adviser via harvard business school

in 1990 founded people centered development forum, now th eliving economies forum.. to expose failed econs and define new ones

returned to u.s. and wrote when corps rule the world – living in ny – 1995

95 – founding of yes magazine

– – – –


find/follow David:

link twitter

Author Agenda for a New Economy, The Great Turning, & When Corporations Rule the World, board chair YES! magazine, co-chair New Economy Working Group.

his site:


wikipedia small

David C. Korten (born 1937) is an American author, former professor of the Harvard Business School, political activist, prominent critic of corporate globalization, and “by training and inclination a student of psychology and behavioral systems”. His best-known publication is, When Corporations Rule the World (1995 and 2001). 

..He said: “My early career [after leaving Stanford in 1959] was devoted to setting upbusiness schools in low-income countries—starting with Ethiopia”. He served during the Vietnam War as a captain in the United States Air Force, undertaking U.S.-based teaching and organizational duties;


.. Harvard Business School adviser to the Nicaragua-based Central American Institute of Business Administration. He subsequently joined the staff of the Harvard Institute for International Development, where he headed a Ford Foundation-funded project to strengthen the organization and management of national family planning programs.

In the late 1970s, Korten moved to Southeast Asia, where he lived for nearly fifteen years, …as Asia regional adviser on development management to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which involved him in regular travels to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Korten has written that he became disenchanted with the official aid system and devoted his last five years in Asia to “working with leaders of Asian non-governmental organizations on identifying the root causes of development failure in the region and building the capacity of civil society organizations to function as strategic catalysts of national- and global-level change”. He formed the view that the poverty, growing inequality, environmental devastation, and social disintegration he was observing in Asia also was being experienced in nearly every country in the world, including the United States and other “developed” countries. He also concluded that the United States was actively promoting—both at home and abroad—the very policies that were deepening the resulting global crisis.

He returned to the U.S. in 1992 and has assisted in raising public consciousness of the political and institutional consequences of economic globalization and the expansion of corporate power at the expense of democracy, equity, and environmental protection.

Korten is co-founder and board chair of the Positive Futures Network, which publishes the quarterly YES! Magazine. He is also a founding board member, emeritus, of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a former associate of the International Forum on Globalization, and a member of the Club of Rome.


Korten’s 2006 book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community …Korten postulates that the world is on the verge of a perfect storm of converging crises, ……Korten believes that these crises will present an opportunity for significant changes that could replace the paradigm of “Empire” with one of “Earth Community”. 


Greer writes that, “[i]n Korten’s view, what makes the tactics of today’s neoconservatives wrong is not that these tactics are morally despicable in themselves; they’re bad solely because the neoconservatives are using them on behalf of Empire, and they become good when proponents of Earth Community take up the same tactics and use them instead.” Greer concludes that, “[w]hat it means is that the constructive resources politics might provide to the difficult future ahead are precisely those foreclosed by Korten’s apocalyptic politics, with its demonization of his opponents and its insistence on the unique rightness of his own political stance.”

The Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community, has adopted The Great Turning as a major focus.

from video on wikipedia:

whole system built around making money.. driving us toward collective suicide


so i guess first intro’d to David’s work via yes! and Frances Moore Lappé and (can’t find it now – but i thought it was the group from basic income connections.. – there’s another hangout i listened to that was based in living economy..), and then.. Helena, Vandana, …


short: a nother way

money less

money ness


april 2016 – a better option


Assuming that capitalism is about the economy and democracy is about governance, we fail to recognize an essential truth: There is no political democracy without economic democracy.

In any economic system, power resides with the owners of the means by which people make their living.


Democracy is the life-serving alternative we seek to the life-destroying capitalist tyranny under which we now live. Democracy, not the false dichotomy of capitalism or socialism, should be the election’s framing issue.

a new story for humanity (doc)


“Life, it turns out, is wondrously democratic and self-organizing. The result is an enormously creative adaptive process through which the whole of life evolves toward ever greater complexity and self-awareness.”

-@dkorten’s Schumacher Lecture, “Creating a Post-Corporate World”

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/Center4NewEcon/status/1250448773005955073

we just need some augmenting/detoxing infra to get us back/to that undisturbed ecosystem

ie: cure ios city

via 2 conversations a day as infra