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Globalizing Civil Society: Reclaiming Our Right to Power
Prompted by the 1998 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Korten's book indicts the world's governments for failing to address growing hunger, housing shortages, unemployment, poverty, human rights abuses, and environmental degradation. He examines the causes of this global crisis and offers fresh solutions reflecting sustainability, community, and equity--the only principles that can assure a healthy future for the world's people.read more
David Korten is president and founder of the People-Centered Development Forum, chair of the board of YES! magazine, and a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. He is the author of The Great Turning, The Post-Corporate World, and When Corporations Rule the World.read more
Reviews forGlobalizing Civil Society: Reclaiming Our Right to Power
During the latter part of the second millennium, and in particular the twentieth century, the lives of most of the world's people have become increasingly divided between two parallel and intertwined realities. One reality-the world of money-is governed by the rules set by governments and central banks and by the dynamics of financial markets. The other-the world of life-is governed by the laws of nature.In the world of money, the health of society and its institutions is measured by financial and economic indicators-by growth in such things as economic output, stock prices, trade, investment, and tax receipts. In the world of money, continuous, sustained growth seems to be the primary imperative. Because they are structured to seek ever-increasing productivity and profits, modern economies either grow in terms of the monetary value of their output, or they collapse. The growth imperative of the money world finds expression in the notion of development as an unending process of economic expansion-which has been the organizing principle of public policy for most of the last half of this century.The living world is governed by quite different imperatives. Here healthy function manifests itself in balance, diversity, sufficiency, synergy, and regenerative vitality. Growth is an integral part of the living world, but only as a clearly defined segment of the life cycle of individual organisms. The sustained physical growth of any individual organism or unlimited numerical expansion of any species is an indicator of system dysfunction and poses a threat to system integrity. Thus growth in the living world tends to be self-limiting-as with a cancer that condemns its host or a species whose numbers upset the ecological balance and ultimately destroy its food supply.From the perspective of the living world, however, the consequences of the economic development/growth agenda have been disastrous. Here we see that each addition to economic output results in a comparable increase in the stress that humans place on the earth's ecosystem, deepens the poverty of those whose resources have been expropriated and labor exploited to fuel the engines of growth, and accelerates the destruction of non-human species. The terrible costs fall on those who are denied a political voice-the poor, the young, and generations yet unborn.read more
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