Column #82: David C. Korten, “A Political and Spiritual Awakening.” Human survival depends on taking the an epic step toward accepting responsibility for humanity’s role in shaping the evolution of life on planet earth.


Article #20: David C. Korten “Rights of Money Versus Rights of Living Persons.” We must rethink our concept of human rights to make clear that the rights of living persons take precedence over the rights of money and the institutions of money.

Article 21: Willis W. Harman, “Solutions via Global Dialogue.” Global change depends on a dialogue of all people to discover and create the kind of world we truly want.


David C. Korten, Money as a Social Disease. In a healthy economy making money is inseparable from creating wealth. The global economy has separated these two functions. While some are creating wealth, others are simply making money and thereby claiming the real wealth others create—a sign of a sick economy. This is an expanded version of Money vs. Life, which appears in Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures, Issue 2, April 1997. [Yes! extends permission to PCDForum Information Service recipients to reprint the article with appropriate credits without further permission. A copy of any publication in which it is reprinted should be sent to Yes! P.O. Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, U.S.A..]

David C. Korten, “The Responsibility of Business to the Whole.”

David C. Korten, The United Nations and the Corporate AgendaOn June 24, 1997 the CEOs of 10 transnational corporations met over lunch at the United Nations with the UN leadership and a number of senior government representatives (participant list, follow on memo, cartoon in gif) to chart a formalization of corporate involvement in the affairs of the United Nations. This is a report and commentary on what transpired.

Let’s Try Something Radical. Like a Market Economy Plenary Presentation by David C. Korten to the Peoples’ Summit 1997 (TOES97), Denver, Colorado, June 20, 1997. The participants in the G-7 meeting are burdened by a serious intellectual handicap. They have no idea that there is a critical difference between a market economy, based on competition among small buyers and sellers, and a capitalist economy ruled by big money and corporate monopolies.


The paradigm warrior series show cases the work and thinking of citizen leaders who are accomplishing extraordinary things toward the creation of a world that works for all. The profiles presented here of Nicky Perlas and Walden Bello reveal the wondrous complexity of civil society strategies and alliances. Both made important contributions to civil society involvement in the meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) held in Manila in November 1996. Nicky and Walden are good friends and colleagues committed to similar goals. Indeed, both are PCDForum contributing editors and members of the International Forum on Globalization. In response to APEC, however, they led major citizen initiatives that appeared to be in opposition to one another.

Perlas took the path of working with the Philippine government in a well orchestrated effort to shift its APEC leadership from neoliberal free trade policies to a call for people-centered sustainable development. Bello took the path of opposing APEC as a flawed agreement inevitably serving the interests of big capital and contrary to the interests of the people of the Asia-Pacific region.

If one believes that there is hope for redirecting the policies of government, then you might conclude that the strong anti-APEC stance of “No APEC” Bello strengthened the hand of “Reform APEC” Perlas and advanced the shared policy agenda of both groups. On the other hand, those who believe that no good can come of the APEC process argue that by working with the Philippine government the Perlas group served to legitimate APEC and weakened other citizen efforts to slow or stop the APEC process.

The issue is not easily resolved and these profiles make no attempt to do so. They do place the issue in a larger context of the Philippine and the Asia-Pacific political economies. I personally applaud both initiatives as powerful contributions to bringing the voices of civil society to bear in controlling the rogue forces of economic globalization. In both instances the APEC involvement was part of a much larger agenda and strategy, as elaborated in the interviews, and must be recognized as such. Given the context, I’m inclined to the view both efforts as largely complementary, mutually supportive, and demonstrative of the strength inherent in civil society’s diversity.

Profile #4: Nicanor “Nicky” Perlas, “Creating a National Consensus.” The story of how six mainstream Philippine NGO networks representing some 5,000 individual member organizations have melded themselves into an influential coalition working to reorient the Philippine government from neoliberal to people-centered development policies.

Profile #5: Walden Bello, “Civil and Regional Security.” The story of how a regional policy research group, Focus on the Global South, is mobilizing civil society groups throughout Southeast Asia to redefine the issues of national security in the Asia Pacific region in ways that give priority to the needs of ordinary people.

Profile #6: Smitu Kothari, “Building Alliances Among India’s Popular Movements.” A story of efforts to meld India’s diverse popular movements into an effective political force for people-centered development.

Profile #7: Antonio “Tony” Quizon, “Learning Locally to Act Globally.” Most development policy discussions take place completely detached from the living reality of the people the policies are supposed to benefit. Here Tony Quizon shares the remarkable lessons and insights from his efforts to learn from the local in order to bring the reality of local needs and experience into the policy discussions of regional and global development institutions.


Marjorie Kelly, Why all the Fuss About Stockholders? Editorial in Business Ethics, January/February 1997, page 5.

In May 1997 the PCDForum announced the discontinuation of its Information Service with the following message. 

When the Forum was established in 1990, there was very little material available raising basic questions about the viability of the dominant development model. We responded by providing concise authoritative articles to interested civil society organizations and publications to expose their members and readers to new lines of inquiry in the development policy dialogue.

The publication of When Corporations Rule the World in October 1995 opened new possibilities by putting the PCDForum on the media map, giving us access to radio, TV, and press the mainstream press, and generating invitations to speak at major conferences. Roberto Savio, Secretary General of the Society for International Development and Director General of the Inter Press Service refers to its publication as marking a turning point in the discourse on economic globalization. Theologian Thomas Berry has called it one of the most important books of this century. Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum says it “is creating an intellectual framework for dealing with the issues of the entry of humankind into the 21st century.”

When Corporations Rule the World has sold now sold some 30,000 copies in English and sales continue strong. I just returned from a successful launch of the Japanese edition with events in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. Foreign language editions are also out in Swedish, Portugese, and Hungarian. Contracts have been signed for Braille, Finnish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, Hindi, Urdu, and Romanian editions.

This experience has prompted a re-thinking of our information outreach work. The PCDForum was created to broaden awareness of the failure of conventional development wisdom and the threat it poses of to the human future, while also advancing a vision of alternative possibilities. We have made substantial progress with regard to broadening the constituency aware of the failures and the threat, but the juggernaut of destructive development continues to move forward. Part of the problem is a pervasive and disempowering sense among the public that there are no alternatives to the proclaimed historical inevitability of economic globalization and its consequences.

Many of our colleagues are coming to the conclusion we cannot simply stop the juggernaut, we must outflank it by building public awareness that there are real alternatives. Saying No! is not enough. We must also have a clear Yes! Consequently, the PCDForum will be giving increasing attention to advancing awareness of positive alternatives and the momentum that is building behind them.


Our contribution to launching the Positive Futures Network (PFN) and its publication Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures reflects this reordering of priorities. A good deal of my own time has been involved in my duties as the board chair of the PFN. Sarah vanGelder, who edited the former In Context, is executive director and editor. PCDForum CEs Don Edwards, Donella Meadows, and Vicki Robin are editorial advisors. CEs Don Edwards, Vandana Shiva, and Mark Ritchie all made contributions to Issue No. 1, which appeared in Spring 1996. The new journal has been rapidly gaining recognition. It was mentioned in a front page story in the Wall Street Journal recently and received high praise from the Utne Reader in its May-June 1997 issue in an article headed “We Love This Magazine.”

The mission of Yes! and PFN is to advance public awareness that a profound shift in culture is underway and that every individual has the responsibility and the opportunity to participate in creating a new future for our species grounded in life-centered values. PFN starts from the PCDForum critique and goes beyond it to focus attention on what people are doing at local, national and global levels to address the institutional failures the critique exposes. Many of these initiative are having significant influence on mainstream action, though they generally remain invisible to mainstream media and national politicians.

PFN also publicizes evidence of the culture shift, and helps those who embrace the values of the new culture to recognize themselves, find one another, and build agendas for change. As the year 2000 approaches Yes! will be giving special attention to helping local groups capture the psychic energy of the millennium to engage in a process of values examination and visioning toward the creation of a new human future. The PCDForum will also be supporting this process.

I urge all PCDForum participants and friends to subscribe to Yes! Your help in publicizing the journal at conferences or to readers of your journal or newsletter will also be greatly appreciated.


The PCDForum has also been working closely with two other major journals — Development and Resurgence— which align with the PCDForum vision and regularly carry pieces by PCDForum CEs and other contributors previously featured in our Information Service. In addition we have been developing ties to the Inter Press Service (IPS), a news service headed by Roberto Savio which reaches news outlets and NGOs all around the world with materials closely aligned with the PCDForum perspective. We are help IPS develop a globalization project that will strengthen IPS news and opinion services around the theme of economic globalization and its alternatives. For more information on IPS and its news and opinion services see <http://www.ips.org>.

Development, edited by Wendy Harcourt, is published by the Society for International Development, Via Panisperna 207, 00184 Rome, Italy, Phone (39-6) 487-2172: fax (36-9) 487-2170; Internet: <w.harcourt@agora.stim.it>. It is a truly international journal with strong input from the South addressed to development professionals and grassroots organizations. Development is presently recreating itself as a journal of cutting edge transformational development thinking. Several PCDForum CEs, including myself, serve as editorial advisors. US$35 per year for high income countries. US$15.00 for low income countries.

Resurgence, edited by Satish Kumar, is an international forum for ecological and spiritual thinking published in cooperation with Schumacher College. Resurgence, Ford House, Hartland Bideford, Devon EX39 6EE, United Kingdom, Phone (441-237) 441-293; Fax (441-237) 441-203; For subscriptions: Tel/Fax (441-237) 841-824; Internet: <postmaster@resurge.demon.co.uk>; Web: <http://www.gn.apc.org/resurgence>. UK rate per year is £20. International airmail: £30, US$50, or Japanese yen 6,000. Surface mail £25, US$40, or Japanese yen 5,000. Resurgence has a proud 30 year history of drawing on its close relationship with many of the key figures in the alternative development movement to tackle issues before they begin filtering into the mainstream debate. In addition to critiquing the old paradigm, it gives working models for the emerging new paradigm on themes such as permaculture, community supported agriculture, local economies, ecological buildings, sacred architecture, art in the environment, small schools, and deep ecology.


Given these developments, the Board of Directors of the PCDForum concluded at its January 1997 meeting that the need originally met by the PCDForum Information Service is now being well served by our partner journals, and the IPS News Service, the time has come to phase it out so the Forum may address other unfilled needs. If you have found the PCDForum Information Service useful, I urge you to subscribe to these journals and to the IPS service for a rich and reliable flow of source materials.

All three of the partner journals are prepared to facilitate your reproduction and reprinting of their materials with appropriate credits. Please contact the individual journals for specific information on their reprint policies in relation to your interest and need. You may wish to tell them that you have been receiving the PCDForum Information Service and are contacting them at my suggestion.