When Corporations Rule the World

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In When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten examined the devastating effects of transnational capitalism. Now, in his new book, Korten provides a detailed blueprint for a more humane, less destructive world economic system. Drawing on ecosystem models developed by today's leading biologists, he invites us to envision a world of locally rooted market economies that promote political participation, nurture creativity, encourage stakeholder ownership, and defend community ...
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Overview

In When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten examined the devastating effects of transnational capitalism. Now, in his new book, Korten provides a detailed blueprint for a more humane, less destructive world economic system. Drawing on ecosystem models developed by today's leading biologists, he invites us to envision a world of locally rooted market economies that promote political participation, nurture creativity, encourage stakeholder ownership, and defend community interests against commercial excesses.

In a well-reasoned, extensively researched analysis, Korten exposes the harmful effects globalization is having on all areas of life--not just economics, but also politics, society, and the environment--and outlines a grassroots strategy for getting corporations out of politics and creating a world responsive to human needs and the natural environment.

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Editorial Reviews

Cindy Patuszynski
Vivid imagery and original ideas make The Post-Corporate World an interesting and thought-provoking perspective of Korten's view of global society.
ForeWord Magazine
Andrea Martin
...[W[ith thrilling clarity, discusses practical ways to create a just, sustainable and compassionate society. —Utne Reader
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This well-documented, apocalyptic tome describes the global spread of corporate power as a malignant cancer exercising a market tyranny that is gradually destroying lives, democratic institutions and the ecosystem for the benefit of greedy companies and investors. Korten (Getting to the 21st Century) points out his conservative roots and business credentials-and then proceeds to finger such classic conspiracy-theory scapegoats as the Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations as the planning agents of the new world economic order he decries. Korten, founder of the People-Centered Development Forum, prescribes a reordering of developmental priorities to restore local control and benefits. Suggested reforms include shifting tax policies to punish greed and reward social responsibility, placing a 100% reserve requirement on demand deposits at banks and closing the World Bank, which he claims encourages indebtedness in nations that can't afford it. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy and the market economy." So begins The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, the latest salvo from David C. Korten (When Corporations Rule the World). In four sections of three or four chapters each, Korten lays out how it happened and what we can do about it, using model communities that have already begun to "treat money as a facilitator, not the purpose, of our economic lives."
Library Journal
For 30 years, Korten toiled as a development worker seeking to end the poverty of the world's underdeveloped nations. In that time, he noted a stark difference between capitalism's democratic myth and the reality of social, economic, and environmental deterioration that accompanied such efforts. In this intriguing sequel to When Corporations Rule the World (Berrett-Koehler, 1995), Korten identifies the root causes of these failures as consumerism, market deregulation, free trade, privatization, global consolidation of corporate power, a focus on money as purpose for economic life, and corruption of our democratic institutions. His solutions prescribe excluding corporations from political participation, implementing serious political campaign reform, eliminating corporate welfare, regulating international corporations and finance, making financial speculation unprofitable, reestablishing locally owned and managed economies that rely predominantly on local resources, and focusing on service to life, not money, as the purpose of our economic existence. Korten makes a good case, but his solutions won't necessarily fly in the face of reality. Still, his book should find a receptive audience in both academic and public libraries.--Norman B. Hutcherson, Kern Cty. Lib., Bakersfield, CA
Library Journal
Korten (Getting to the Twenty-First Century, Kumarian Pr., 1990) brings impressive credentials to the task of blaming large international corporations for many of the social and environmental problems confronting people all over the world. Using numerous well-researched examples, Korten argues that not only do today's corporations exploit labor and the environment, but governments (particularly the U.S. government), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, aid and abet this exploitation through policies that favor capitalists over workers and small business. Although Korten speaks from an obviously liberal position, in an era when conservative political voices declare an unswerving faith in the benefits of unfettered free markets, a voice from the opposition offers a welcome balance. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Andrea C. Dragon, Coll. of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.
David Rouse
Beginning in the 1960s, social, economic, and political observers have expressed concern over the role of multinational corporations. As the global economy has evolved, it is the transnational corporation that provokes apprehension. In "The New Realities" 1989, Peter Drucker issued the early warning that the advent of the transnational company heralded a structural change in the world economy. Now Korten sounds loud the alarm. He blames the corporate quest for short-term financial gain for creating a "market tyranny that is extending its reach across the planet like a cancer, colonizing ever more of the planet's living spaces, destroying livelihoods, displacing people, rendering democratic institutions "impotent, and feeding on life." The solution, he argues, is to "re-create societies that nurture cultural and biological diversity [and get] corporations out of politics . . . creating localized economies." Korten's critique and his solutions are bold and unequivocal.
Booknews
Takes a critical look at the corporation and the system within which business functions, and presents the view that the underlying system of business must be transformed to restore power to the small and local. Topics include the growth illusion, rise of corporate power in America, decline of Democratic Pluralism, buying out Democracy, marketing the world, predatory finance, corporate cannibalism, managed competition, the ecological revolution, and an awakened civil society. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Booknews
While protestors at the WTO meetings in Seattle and at similar meetings of the global financial institutions have been derided as ill-informed troublemakers by the majority of the press, Korten (former advisor to the Ford Foundation and U.S. Agency for International Development) argues that their concerns about increasingly centralized corporate power are essentially right. He outlines the evolution of corporate power over the economy and governance worldwide, while acknowledging the severe depredations it causes to millions around the world. After looking at many facets of the problem in financial systems, flawed economic analyses, declining democratic institutions, and other aspects of growing corporate power, he offers some solutions. He grounds his alternative in a theory he calls the "Ecological Revolution" that would attempt to localize economies, while globalizing cooperation among communities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Andrea Martin
...[W[ith thrilling clarity, discusses practical ways to create a just, sustainable and compassionate society. -- Utne Reader
Kirkus Reviews
In the '80s, capitalism defeated communism. Now it has defeated democracy, we are informed by Korten (When Corporations Rule the World). Capitalism is inimical to life, he declares, and he thinks, naturally enough, that life is better. The author, a former Harvard Business School teacher, depicts the doleful condition on our sad little planet. He objects to the wayward thinking of proponents of what he calls a "dead universe" governed by inhumanly impersonal corporations. Midas was wrong. Life and money do not mix. Humanity, as a functioning organism, can make a better choice. It can reject the power of international business, bent on amassing hegemony and cash at any cost. Corporations, to put it baldly, are soul destroying and inherently evil. They are merging and metastasizing worldwide. The unfortunate current primacy of cash returns to shareholders bodes ill. Corporations destroy natural assets and human institutions and exploit workers—this is the author's angry preachment. (The reader must conclude that the term "corporation" is simple synecdoche, standing in for Mammon as Capitalist). Korten is preaching a kind of Zen: We must learn the lessons of life's ancient wisdom and stop the foolishness now. Without a shift to ethical and mindful markets and the local rooting of capital, we are doomed, saith Korten. Reject NAFTA, the WTO, and the IMF as ultimately destructive forces. Corporations should not, as is presently the case, be accorded the status of personhood or be recipients of governmental largess. Economic democracy must be advanced, but can the change happen? The author thinks so, pointing to signs of postmodern populism and grassroots humanitarianism. Staytuned. Less a full-scale program for action than a life-affirming pep talk. An amalgam of physics, biology, and politics, with a dollop of philosophy, this manifesto is as troublesome as any zealot's call for morality.
From the Publisher
"This well-documented, apocalyptic tome describes the global spread of corporate power as a malignant cancer exercising a market tyranny that is gradually destroying lives, democratic institutions and the ecosystem for the benefit of greedy companies and investors."

"If you can read only one book on how to understand and address the enormous challenges of our time, When Corporations Rule the World is it..."

"An indispensable guide to the new world economy. It is a learned, courageous, and ultimately hopeful book. It provides a blueprint for the process of economic reformation which is essential for the recovery of sovereignty, community, and a right relation to the natural world."

"Korten brings impressive credentials to the task of blaming large international corporations for many of the social and environmental problems confronting people all over the world. Using numerous well-researched examples, Korten argues that not only do today's corporations exploit labor and the environment, but governments (particularly the U.S. government), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, aid and abet this exploitation through policies that favor capitalists over workers and small business. Although Korten speaks from an obviously liberal position, in an era when conservative political voices declare an unswerving faith in the benefits of unfettered free markets, a voice from the opposition offers a welcome balance."

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Product Details

Meet the Author

David C. Korten is president and founder of the People-Centered Development Forum, a global alliance dedicated to the creation of just, inclusive and sustainable societies through voluntary citizen action. He holds MBA and PhD degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a former faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He was previously a Ford Foundation project specialist in Manila and an Asia Regional Advisor on Development Management for the U.S. Agency for International Development. David is the author of 'The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community', 'When Corporations Rule the World' and 'The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism' and a frequently invited speaker at conferences around the world. He is also a Board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and a member of Social Venture Network and the Club of Rome.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: A Personal Journey 1
1 From Hope to Crisis 17
2 End of the Open Frontier 25
3 The Growth Illusion 37
4 Rise of Corporate Power in America 53
5 Assault of the Corporate Libertarians 69
6 Decline of Democratic Pluralism 87
7 Illusions of the Cloud Minders 103
8 Dreaming of Global Empires 121
9 Building Elite Consensus 133
10 Buying Out Democracy 141
11 Marketing the World 149
12 Adjusting the Poor 159
13 Guaranteeing Corporate Rights 173
14 The Money Game 185
15 Predatory Finance 195
16 Corporate Cannibalism 207
17 Managed Competition 215
18 Race to the Bottom 229
19 The End of Inefficiency 239
20 People with No Place 249
21 The Ecological Revolution 261
22 Good Living 277
23 An Awakened Civil Society 293
24 Agenda for Change 307
Epilogue: A Choice for Life 325
Appendix: The People's Earth Declaration: A Proactive Agenda for the Future 329
Notes 335
Index 361
About the Author 375
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2003

    Excellent book!

    David Korten has delivered! Korten outlines historically how global corporations have evolved into their present state of man-eating, money hungry machines. In light of the current world situation, Korten gives answers to people having doubts about the current world order. With the US industrial market and media being totally monopolized Korten gives insight and hope to those who dare to question the authority of the global corporation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2001

    If You're Against Imperialist Globalization - Read This!

    A book Review: Thumbs Up When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten This is a really great book! Good exposure, fabulous statistics, a real ¿must read¿ for anyone wanting the hard facts about globalization. The book is full of statistics like the following: A Nike shoe costing from $75-$ 135 actually costs Nike just $5.60 to produce. Of this entire price the 3rd world worker gets $0.15 hr. Or that the $20 million Michael Jordan received in 1992 for promoting Nike shoes exceeded the entire annual payroll of the Indonesian factories that made Nike shoes. Korten analyzes corporate history noting that Corporations became ¿legal¿ persons in 1886 when the Supreme Court so declared. This was prior to African Americans or women being legal persons! And corporations stripped individual states of their authority over them. Korten calls for us to transform the global to empower the local and calls for the people to take the corporate authority away. This sounds great! But easier said than done. Korten sounds that alarm that globalization like the WTO takes away the sovereign rights of individual nations. Along with many others he sees Corporations as ¿sitting above¿ the nation state. This is where we would disagree. While globalization is the process through which these mega corporations go around ripping off the third world¿we have yet to see corporations mounting their own military armies when they come into conflict with other corporations. We see imperialism as a world process, not just capitalism on a world scale. Imperialism is the next higher stage of capitalism. While corporations can straddle different countries¿they remain rooted in their own nation state. In fact the state is an important arena of struggle between contending national corporations¿with the state often stepping in to bail out industries, bankrupt companies etc.¿all dependent on what is in the national interests. The state is an extremely important arena in the struggle between corporations. Here battles go on over Gov. policy towards ailing industries, or bankrupt countries, over how monetary, financial and trade agreements are determined. That said, as anti-imperialists we were surprised to find only one reference to ¿imperialism¿ in the entire book¿and this was a quote by someone else.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2003

    A slightly dry read, but well worth it.

    This book is a great resource for people that are frustrated with the current state of the world economy. The author offers some viable solutions to our continuing economic crisis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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