Creating a Post-Corporate World.

Twentieth Annual E. F. Schumacher Lectures October 2000, Salisbury, Connecticut

David C. Korten, October 2000

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Summary :

On one side are the forces of corporate globalization being advanced by an alliance of the world’s largest corporations and most powerful governments. This alliance is backed by the power of money, and its defining goal is to integrate the world’s national economies into a single borderless global economy in which the world’s megacorporations are free to move goods and money without governmental interference in a quest for ever greater shareholder return. In the name of increased efficiency the alliance seeks to privatize public services and assets and to strengthen safeguards that benefit investors and private property. In the eyes of its proponents corporate globalization is the result of inevitable and irreversible historical forces driving a powerful engine of technological innovation and economic growth that is strengthening human freedom and spreading democracy throughout the world while at the same time creating the wealth that will end poverty and save the environment.

On the other side of the struggle are the forces of a newly emerging global movement some are calling the Global Movement for a Living Democracy, advanced by a planetary citizen alliance of civil society organizations. Members of this alliance believe that corporate globalization is neither inevitable nor beneficial but rather the product of intentional decisions and policies promoted by the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, global corporations, and politicians on corporate payrolls. In their eyes corporate globalization is replacing democracy with corporate and financial tyranny, destroying the living wealth of the planet and society to make money for the already wealthy as it erodes the relationships of trust and caring that are the essential foundation of a civilized society.

The outcome of this struggle may well determine whether our species has a future, for in the mindless pursuit of money we are well along on the way to destroying both the fabric of civilization and the life-support system of the planet.