From Third, 20th Anniversary Edition

Twenty years ago, When Corporations Rule the World sounded a global alarm: The consolidation of power in a global economy ruled by corporations poses a growing threat to markets, democracy, humans, and life itself.

Unfortunately, subsequent events affirm all but extraneous details of the analysis. Corporate power is now more concentrated and operates ever further beyond human control. Its exercise is more reckless. Its political domination is more complete. Its consequences are more devastating. And system collapse is more certain and imminent.

All of this is now abundantly visible. People the world over have mobilized to resist and to build the foundations of a new life-serving economy in which money is a means, not an end.

As the devastation wrought by corporate rule accelerates, time grows every shorter. Replacing the suicide economy we have with the living economy we must bring forth is imperative, and we must accomplish it within a blink of history’s eye.

If we are to move beyond the current system’s deep dysfunction, we must understand its cultural and institutional sources and how they contrast with the design principles by which healthy living communities self-organize. In 1995, the year When Corporations Rule the World launched, the news was filled with reports of eye-popping corporate executive compensation packages, corporate downsizing, and the outsourcing of good-paying jobs to countries distinguished by their low wages and weak labor and environmental protections.

It proved to be a moment of awakening to the depth and implications of an unfolding global corporate takeover with ever more brutal consequences for families, communities, democracy, liberty, Earth, and the livelihood of billions of people.

As the gap between the promise and reality of capitalism grows ever wider, the illusion that lures us into submission grows ever more transparent to reveal the disturbing truth that in submitting to global corporate rule and mindless consumerism, we sacrifice the joys of living and risk humankind’s future. In response, millions of people are acting to reclaim their lives and rebuild their communities. They sow the seeds of an emerging global social movement dedicated to democracy, a living economy, and Living Earth.