“From Plutocracy to Deep Democracy” by David Korten
“A plutocracy is a system of rule by people of wealth, which describes our situation far more accurately than the term democracy. We have been an Empire ruled as a plutocracy since our founding. Hear my video commentary on American Plutocracy and the transition to Deep Democracy.”
“To end poverty, heal the environment, rebuild community, and secure the human future it is necessary to turn from growth to the reallocation of resources as the defining economic priority. Eliminate harmful uses (military, advertising, sprawl, and financial speculation), increase beneficial uses (environmental regeneration, food and energy self-reliance, health, education, and productive investment), and give priority to the needs of those the old economy excludes and represses (the desperate, hungry, and indentured). The transition to a New Economy is foundational to navigating the Great Turning.”
“Extreme inequality is unraveling the social fabric of civilization. A world divided between the profligate and the desperate cannot long endure. It intensifies competition for Earth’s resources, undermines the legitimacy of our institutions, and drives an unraveling of the social fabric of mutual trust and caring essential to healthy social function. “
“In 2005 Forbes Magazine counted 691 billionaires in the world. In 2008, only three years later, it counted 1,250, nearly double, and estimated their combined wealth at $4.4 trillion. According to a United Nations study, the richest 2% of world’s people now own 51% of all the world’s assets. The poorest 50% own only 1%. That is why we call them poor, because they don’t own any assets. When the rich own everything there is nothing left for the poor to own. “
Equity is an essential foundation of true democracy and of our national ideal and self-image. It can also be defended on the grounds of rightful inheritance and property rights. It’s quite basic. Natural wealth was created by our Earth mother and is therefore a common heritage of all her children, including all non-human species. None of us has a right to abuse that wealth or to monopolize it to the exclusion of our sisters and brothers.
Apologists for Empire maintain that we humans are by nature self-centered, materialistic, and driven to violent winner-take-all competition. Coercive hierarchy and unrestrained market competition are therefore necessary to maintain social order and channel our energy to productive ends. Their favored institutions, however, create an insidious self-fulfilling prophecy by cultivating and rewarding the sociopathic behaviors that by their reckoning define our human nature.
The institutions of Earth Community, by contrast, nurture and celebrate higher order human capacities for love, cooperation, and service to community, which define our true potential. …see “The Great Turning in Bullet Points.”
The Great Turning in Bullet Points
The Great Turning provides a powerful framework for understanding our time within a deep historical context and for defining the collective choice we must now make as a species. These are key elements:
- We humans face a choice between two contrasting models for organizing our affairs: the dominator model of Empire and the partnership model of Earth Community
- After 5,000 years of organizing human affairs by the dominator model, the Era of Empire finally has reached the limits of the exploitation that people and Earth will sustain.
- A mounting perfect economic storm born of a convergence of peak oil, climate change, and a falling U.S. dollar is poised to bring a dramatic restructuring of every aspect of modern life.
- While technology plays an important role, there is no technological fix for the human crisis. The underlying problem is a consequence of social dysfunction and the only solutions are cultural and institutional
- We now face a choice between a last man standing imperial competition for what remains of Earth’s natural bounty and a cooperative sharing of Earth’s resources to create a world that works for all.
- Empire’s power depends on its ability to control the stories by which we humans define ourselves and our possibilities. Whoever controls the prosperity, security, and meaning stories that define the mainstream culture, controls the society.
- The key to changing the human course is to displace the prevailing Empire prosperity, security, and meaning stories that define dominator hierarchy as the natural and essential human order, with Earth Community prosperity, security, and meaning stories that celebrate the human capacity to live in cooperative balance with one another and Earth.
- Security and social order depend on strong, caring communities based on mutual responsibility and accountability.
- Healthy children, families, communities, and natural systems are the true measure of prosperity.
- To end poverty, heal the environment, rebuild community, and secure the human future it is necessary to turn from growth to the reallocation of resources as the defining economic priority. Eliminate harmful uses (military, advertising, sprawl, and financial speculation), increase beneficial uses (environmental regeneration, food and energy self-reliance, health, education, andproductive investment), and give priority to the needs of those the old economy excludes and represses (the desperate, hungry, and indentured). The transition to a New Economy is foundational to navigating the Great Turning.
- All being is the manifestation of an integral spiritual intelligence seeking to know itself through an on-going creative unfolding in search of unrealized possibility.
- We humans are a choice making, choice-creating species that can choose to create societies that nurture our higher order capacities for compassion, sharing, and commitment to the well-being of all.
- Meaning is found in discovering our place of service to the whole