1992 Columns

Column #26: Karl-Henrik Robert. “Beyond the Chatter of Monkeys: Getting to Environmental Basics.” Presents a radical definition of the nature of the environmental problem as adopted by a major segment of Sweden’s environmental movement.

Column #27: Tom Keehn, “Education for Global Change: A New Agenda for Development Educators.” Presents key conclusions from a special report of the U.S. development education community on the educational agenda for the 1990s.

Column #28: Herman E. Daly, “The Unison Snoring of Supine Economists in Deep Dogmatic Slumber.” Abstract of his enclosed hard hitting review of a draft chapter of the UNCED Agenda 21 revealing that the free trade ideologues are attempting to highjack UNCED to promote an agenda that is both anti-people and anti-environment.

Column #29: David C. Korten, “To Improve Human Welfare, Poison the Poor: The Logic of a Free Market Economist.” Examines the flawed logic of free market economics as revealed in a notorious memo by the World Bank’s chief economist calling for the export of polluting industries to low wage countries.

Column #30: David C. Korten, “South African Development and the Threat of Foreign Aid.” Examines the structural nature of South African poverty and how foreign aid is poised to divert attention from the need for essential reforms.

Column #31: Rajesh Tandon. “Civil Society is the First Sector.” Civil society preceded both state and market sectors. The state has subsequently taken ever more of the functions and resources of civil society unto itself. NGOs have important and appropriate political and ideological roles in restoring the primacy of civil society.

Column #32: Walden Bello. “Human Rights, Social Justice, Ecology and Export Oriented Industrialization.” The Asian experience reveals that export-oriented industrialization is not only flawed as an economic concept, it is also seriously flawed from a social and ecological perspective. The call for international competitiveness is easily and commonly used as a cover for authoritarian repression and ecological irresponsibility.

Column #33: Bishan Singh. “Building a Social Enterprise Economy.” NGOs around the world are demonstrating the potential of the social enterprise economy as an ethical, life-centered, community focused sustainable alternative to both conventional state and free enterprise economies. The distinguishing feature of the social enterprise economy is the active role played by civil society in the affairs of both state and market.

Column #34: Nicanor Perlas. “Detoxifying the Green Revolution.” The Green Revolution has been a great boon to chemical companies even as it has poisoned the farmer and his land. Now enterprising farmers around the world are demonstrating the fallacy of the myths perpetrated by powerful institutional interests that the world’s future food supply depends on chemical agriculture. To the contrary it depends on learning to make better use the ecology’s natural biodynamic forces to eliminate dependence on chemical inputs.

Column #35: Isagani R. Serrano. “Global Citizen’s Diplomacy: Quest for a Sustainable Future.” Facing state resistance to their demands, many citizen organizations have worked through multilateral agencies to influence state policies. The resultant weakening of state sovereignty cuts two ways, however. The state is ultimately the citizen’s last line of defense against domination by foreign nations, corporations, and multilateral agencies. The proper goal from a people’s perspective is not be to weaken it, but rather to make it accountable.

Column #36: David C. Korten. “Reflections on UNCED: A New Beginning.” The success of UNCED is found not in the documents it produced, but in its contribution to the mobilization and transnationalization of civil society in support of transformational change. I suggest in be distributed with “The People’s Earth Declaration.”

Column #37: Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. “Having More by Consuming Less.” Moderating consumption can be an act of personal and social liberation by freeing time for family and community.

Column #38: Nola Kate Seymoar. Results of Rio: An Emerging Social Movement.” UNCED prepared the foundations for a transforming global social movement based on a peaceful people-power revolution. I suggest it be distributed with “The People’s Earth Declaration.”

Column #39: Oliver Tickell and Nicholas Hildyard. “Green Dollars Miss the Point.” The essence of sustainable development is institutional and lifestyle change, not financial investment. Calls for massive international financial transfers reveal a misunderstanding of the problem.

Column #40: Paul Ekins & David C. Korten, “The Earth Summit: Competing Visions of the New World Order.” Three differing visions of the New World Order defined the debates in Rio. Only one of these visions, that of the people’s movement, deals with the real issues.

Column #41: John Roughan: Need Money for Your Project? Three Proven Rules.” Groups that demonstrate an ability to make effective use of their own resources are more likely to attract outside funding, and better serve themselves as well.

Column #42: Martin Khor. “NGOs and the UNCED Follow-up Process: Continuing Need for Independent Action.” UNCED gave new legitimacy to NGO involvement in international fora. While they must remain active in official post-UNCED processes, their real contribution will depend on remaining independent activists.

Column #43: David C. Korten. “Rethinking U.S. International Assistance As if People and Environment Matter.” The transition to a new U.S. administration committed to progressive change provides a timely opportunity to review the historical assumptions of U.S. international assistance policy and programming. Proposals for transforming the aid system are offered.

Column #44: David C. Korten. “UNDP’s Human Development Report: Official Development Double Speak.” When official agencies produce hard hitting analyses of critical development issues and then follow them with recommendations reciting the conventional development catechism—in direct contradiction of their own analysis—they do a great disservice to the cause of public education. The UNDP Human Development Report is a case in point.


David C. Korten, “Development Heresy and the Ecological Revolution,” written for a special UNCED edition of the SID Development. Penetrates the prevailing mythologies regarding growth, economic integration, and international assistance and argues that contrary to simplistic business as usual prescriptions being suggested by most official agencies, the move to sustainable development will require a revolution in thought and institutions every bit as fundamental and far reaching as that of the Copernican Revolution that ushered in the scientific age.

David C. Korten and Paul Ekins, “Beyond Market versus State.” Far from advancing democracy and assuring economic prosperity, the removal of regulatory constraints on the market is exacerbating economic inequality and ecological destruction by breaking an essential balance between state and market and the accountability of both to civil society.

Michael Kinsley, “Sustainable Development: Prosperity without Growth.” Describes initiatives being taken by small towns and cities in the United States to develop without growing. A useful companion piece to the column by Dana Meadows, “What America Needs is More Smart Development, Not More Dumb Growth” distributed in the February mailing.

David C. Korten, Open letter to a Christian oriented NGO regarding its policy statement on relations with the World Bank.

The People’s Earth Declaration” Prepared and distributed by the coordinating committee of the NGO and Peoples Movements Forum to synthesize the key points of consensus among the 2,500 NGO representatives who participated in the citizen treaty negotiation exercise. It sets out the unifying themes of the social transformation movement as of mid-1992.

SEACON, “Southeast Asian Contribution to the Earth Charter.” An affirmation of spirituality as the foundation of human advancement.