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The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Communityby David C. Korten
Synopses & Reviews
In his classic international bestseller, When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten exposed the destructive and oppressive nature of the global corporate economy and helped spark a global resistance movement. Now, he shows that the problem runs deeper than corporate domination — with far greater consequences.
Korten argues that global corporate consolidation of power is but one manifestation of what he calls “Empire” — the organization of society by hierarchies of dominance that have held sway for the past 5,000 years. Empire has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few. Now it threatens the very future of humanity. The Great Turning traces the ancient roots of Empire and charts its long evolution from monarchies to the transnational institutions of the global economy.
Empire is not inevitable, not the natural order of things. Korten draws on evidence from sources as varied as evolutionary theory, developmental psychology, and religious teachings to make the case that “Earth Community” — a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable way of ordering human society based on democratic principles of partnership — is indeed possible. He details a practical strategy for advancing a turning toward a future of as-yet-unrealized human potential.
Book News Annotation:
An earlier book by Korten (co-founder and board chair of the Positive Futures Network), When Corporations Rule the World (1995), was influential in its critique of the dangers of corporate power to the future survival of "spaceship Earth." He now sees the rise of corporate power as part and parcel of a "five-thousand-year era of Empire that has reproduced hierarchies of domination at all levels of human organization" and argues that a great cultural, economic, and political turning is required in order to turn from "Empire" to "Earth Community." He charts the development of Empire, discussing its self-replicating social dynamics of hierarchy and then discussing it in the context of the current political and economic policies of the United States. He then outlines the requisite components of the "Great Turning" and considers their implementation through citizen action and cultural, economic, and political democratization based on family and community values. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
* Sweeping survey of world history offering a new understanding of the key challenge of our time* Offers a positive message of hope for a sustainable and just future and a practical strategy for getting thereIn The Great Turning, David Korten argues that Empire, the organization of society through hierarchy and violence has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few, but now it threatens the very future of humanity as Empire has become unsustainable and destructive.Korten traces the roots of Empire and charts the evolution of its instruments of control, from absolute monarchies to the multinational institutions of the global economy. He describes efforts to develop democratic alternatives to Empire, such as the founding of the United States and shows how elitists with an imperial agenda have undermined the American experiment. Empire is not inevitable, and we can turn away from it. Korten draws on evidence from evolutionary theory, developmental psychology, and religious teachings to show that a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable, democratic Earth Community is possible.
The threat of continued warfare to the future of humanity has become dire. "The Great Turning explores that threat in detail and provides an equally detailed plan for meeting — and overcoming — it. Written in the author's trademark clear, compelling style, this timely book uncovers the roots of Empire in ancient Athens and charts the long transition from the institutions of monarchy to those of the global economy as the favored instruments of imperialism. Korten then discusses the promise of early America as a democracy dedicated to spreading liberty and freedom — and the failure of the "American experiment" through the contemporary takeover of the U.S. government by corporate plutocrats, religious theocrats, and neoconservative militarists in pursuit of naked imperial ambition. Korten draws on sources as varied as evolution, developmental psychology, and the wisdom of religious mystics to make the case for "Earth Community" — a people-centered, community-based future that is both possible and necessary.
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