Cover image for The post-corporate world : life after capitalism
Title:
The post-corporate world : life after capitalism
Author:
Korten, David C.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Berrett-Koehler ; West Hartford, CT : Kumarian Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
x, 318 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781887208024

9781576750513
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

There is a deep and growing gap between the promises of the new global capitalism and the reality of insecurity, inequality, social breakdown, spiritual emptiness, and environmental destruction left everywhere in its wake. This book looks at what went wrong and why, drawing on insights from the new biology and our growing understanding of living systems to propose a solution - an economy that takes market principles seriously.


Summary

There is a deep chasm between the promises of the new global capitalism and the reality of social breakdown, spiritual emptiness, and environmental destruction it is leaving in its wake. In this important book, David Korten makes a compelling and well-documented case that capitalism is actually delivering a fatal blow not only to life, but also to democracy and the market. Among his startling ideas:

Capitalism is a pathology that commonly afflicts market economies in the absence of vigilant public oversight. Since the economy internal to a corporation is a planned economy, the current consolidation of economic control under a handful of global corporations is a victory for central planning-not the market economy. The alternative to the new global capitalism is a global system of thriving, healthy market economies that function as extensions of healthy local ecosystems to meet the livelihood needs of people and communities.

Radical as such proposals may seem, they actually reflect processes that are steadily gaining momentum around the world. The Post-Corporate World provides a vision of what's needed and what's possible, as well as a detailed agenda for change. Korten shows that to have a just, sustainable and compassionate society, concentrated absentee ownership and footloose speculative capital as embodied in the global, for-profit public corporation must be eliminated in favor of enterprises based on patient, rooted, stakeholder ownership limited to those who have a stake in the firm as a worker, supplier, customer, or member of the community in which it is located.

Korten outlines numerous specific actions to free the creative powers of individuals and societies through the realization of real democracy, the local rooting of capital through stakeholder ownership, and a restructuring of the rules of commerce to create "mindful market" economies that combine market principles with a culture that nurtures social bonding and responsibility.

Like Korten's previous bestseller, When Corporations Rule the World, this provocative book is sure to stimulate national dialogue and debate and inspire a bevy of grassroots discussions and initiatives. The Post-Corporate World presents readers with a profound challenge and an empowering sense of hope.


Author Notes

David C. Korten is board chair of the Positive Futures Network, publishers of YES! A Journal of Positive Futures, and founder and president of The People-Centered Development Forum. He is the author of nine previous books, including the bestselling When Corporations Rule the World.


Reviews 8

Booklist Review

Korten's When Corporations Rule the World (1995) drew attention because this development consultant's powerful attack on globalization and finance capitalism hit bookstores and libraries as Americans were watching layoffs mount, thanks to NAFTA, "rightsizing," mergers and acquisitions, and other bonanzas that made sense for corporations but not for people. Here, Korten offers alternatives: replacing the "clockwork universe" vision of the world bequeathed by Newtonian science with an organic metaphor based on the latest biological theories; and developing new political and economic models (responsible freedom, mindful markets, and economic democracy respectful of the rights of living persons) aimed at stakeholder capitalism, authentic democracy, a sustainable environmental approach, and reinvigorated communities. Changing our "story" is Korten's central point: so long as ordinary folk accept the conventional wisdom that speculative globalization is inevitable, they cannot begin to imagine other ways of organizing their lives and work. Includes charts and sidebars, examples from around the world, and, in the final chapter, suggestions on what the reader can do to encourage alternatives. --Mary Carroll


Publisher's Weekly Review

"In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy and the market economy." So begins The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, the latest salvo from David C. Korten (When Corporations Rule the World). In four sections of three or four chapters each, Korten lays out how it happened and what we can do about it, using model communities that have already begun to "treat money as a facilitator, not the purpose, of our economic lives." 25,000 first printing. (Berrett-Koehler and Kumarian, co-publishers, $27.95 300p ISBN 1-57675-051-5; Mar.) Can the Net really foster, as in Bill Gates's phrase, "friction-free capitalism"? How about "robust direct democracy"? In Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Marketing System, Dan Schiller, professor of communications at UC-San Diego, turns a skeptic's eye to the screen. After reviewing how Internet technology differs from previous forms of telecommunication (and how a "Neoliberal" agenda drove its development), Schiller examines its ever-closer ties with commerce and prognostications for educational revolution. His conclusion: "Digital capitalism has strengthened, rather than banished, the ago-old scourges of the market system: inequality and domination." (MIT, $29.95 320p ISBN 0-262-19417-1; Apr.) Oxford professor of politics John Gray has been an acknowledged influence on Margaret Thatcher, and his writings were appropriated by Britain's New Right. It was thus astonishing to U.K. readers that, in False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, Gray does an about-face and argues against a market untethered to cultural foundations within particular societies. Updated with a chapter on the controversy it sparked on its U.K. release, the American version further stresses the all-too-apparent instability of global markets. (New Press, $25 272p ISBN 1-56584-521-8; Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

For 30 years, Korten toiled as a development worker seeking to end the poverty of the world's underdeveloped nations. In that time, he noted a stark difference between capitalism's democratic myth and the reality of social, economic, and environmental deterioration that accompanied such efforts. In this intriguing sequel to When Corporations Rule the World (Berrett-Koehler, 1995), Korten identifies the root causes of these failures as consumerism, market deregulation, free trade, privatization, global consolidation of corporate power, a focus on money as purpose for economic life, and corruption of our democratic institutions. His solutions prescribe excluding corporations from political participation, implementing serious political campaign reform, eliminating corporate welfare, regulating international corporations and finance, making financial speculation unprofitable, reestablishing locally owned and managed economies that rely predominantly on local resources, and focusing on service to life, not money, as the purpose of our economic existence. Korten makes a good case, but his solutions won't necessarily fly in the face of reality. Still, his book should find a receptive audience in both academic and public libraries.ÄNorman B. Hutcherson, Kern Cty. Lib., Bakersfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Following up on his earlier book, When Corporations Rule the World (CH, Jan'96), Korten asserts that "under capitalism, democracy is for sale to the highest bidder and the market is centrally planned by global megacorporations larger than most states." To redress this, he argues for campaign finance reform, the elimination of corporate welfare, controls on corporate and speculative behavior, and for an end to the legal fiction that corporations are entitled to the rights of persons. Unfortunately, Korten trivializes the political dimension of these proposals. He provides five pages with brief descriptions of individuals who have contributed to social and environmental progress, but none have confronted the interests of a major multinational corporation head on. Korten also puts much emphasis on changing individual lifestyles, which while admirable, would not likely achieve any of his worthwhile goals. Although this volume falls short of suggesting any actions likely to curb the corporate juggernaut, it is well written, wide ranging, and full of interesting ideas. In addition, the author's environmental message is timely. Korten addresses an important topic, but readers will need to look elsewhere for political strategies. Easily accessible to the general reader. Public and academic library collections. M. Perelman California State University, Chico


Booklist Review

Korten's When Corporations Rule the World (1995) drew attention because this development consultant's powerful attack on globalization and finance capitalism hit bookstores and libraries as Americans were watching layoffs mount, thanks to NAFTA, "rightsizing," mergers and acquisitions, and other bonanzas that made sense for corporations but not for people. Here, Korten offers alternatives: replacing the "clockwork universe" vision of the world bequeathed by Newtonian science with an organic metaphor based on the latest biological theories; and developing new political and economic models (responsible freedom, mindful markets, and economic democracy respectful of the rights of living persons) aimed at stakeholder capitalism, authentic democracy, a sustainable environmental approach, and reinvigorated communities. Changing our "story" is Korten's central point: so long as ordinary folk accept the conventional wisdom that speculative globalization is inevitable, they cannot begin to imagine other ways of organizing their lives and work. Includes charts and sidebars, examples from around the world, and, in the final chapter, suggestions on what the reader can do to encourage alternatives. --Mary Carroll


Publisher's Weekly Review

"In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy and the market economy." So begins The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, the latest salvo from David C. Korten (When Corporations Rule the World). In four sections of three or four chapters each, Korten lays out how it happened and what we can do about it, using model communities that have already begun to "treat money as a facilitator, not the purpose, of our economic lives." 25,000 first printing. (Berrett-Koehler and Kumarian, co-publishers, $27.95 300p ISBN 1-57675-051-5; Mar.) Can the Net really foster, as in Bill Gates's phrase, "friction-free capitalism"? How about "robust direct democracy"? In Digital Capitalism: Networking the Global Marketing System, Dan Schiller, professor of communications at UC-San Diego, turns a skeptic's eye to the screen. After reviewing how Internet technology differs from previous forms of telecommunication (and how a "Neoliberal" agenda drove its development), Schiller examines its ever-closer ties with commerce and prognostications for educational revolution. His conclusion: "Digital capitalism has strengthened, rather than banished, the ago-old scourges of the market system: inequality and domination." (MIT, $29.95 320p ISBN 0-262-19417-1; Apr.) Oxford professor of politics John Gray has been an acknowledged influence on Margaret Thatcher, and his writings were appropriated by Britain's New Right. It was thus astonishing to U.K. readers that, in False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism, Gray does an about-face and argues against a market untethered to cultural foundations within particular societies. Updated with a chapter on the controversy it sparked on its U.K. release, the American version further stresses the all-too-apparent instability of global markets. (New Press, $25 272p ISBN 1-56584-521-8; Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

For 30 years, Korten toiled as a development worker seeking to end the poverty of the world's underdeveloped nations. In that time, he noted a stark difference between capitalism's democratic myth and the reality of social, economic, and environmental deterioration that accompanied such efforts. In this intriguing sequel to When Corporations Rule the World (Berrett-Koehler, 1995), Korten identifies the root causes of these failures as consumerism, market deregulation, free trade, privatization, global consolidation of corporate power, a focus on money as purpose for economic life, and corruption of our democratic institutions. His solutions prescribe excluding corporations from political participation, implementing serious political campaign reform, eliminating corporate welfare, regulating international corporations and finance, making financial speculation unprofitable, reestablishing locally owned and managed economies that rely predominantly on local resources, and focusing on service to life, not money, as the purpose of our economic existence. Korten makes a good case, but his solutions won't necessarily fly in the face of reality. Still, his book should find a receptive audience in both academic and public libraries.ÄNorman B. Hutcherson, Kern Cty. Lib., Bakersfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Following up on his earlier book, When Corporations Rule the World (CH, Jan'96), Korten asserts that "under capitalism, democracy is for sale to the highest bidder and the market is centrally planned by global megacorporations larger than most states." To redress this, he argues for campaign finance reform, the elimination of corporate welfare, controls on corporate and speculative behavior, and for an end to the legal fiction that corporations are entitled to the rights of persons. Unfortunately, Korten trivializes the political dimension of these proposals. He provides five pages with brief descriptions of individuals who have contributed to social and environmental progress, but none have confronted the interests of a major multinational corporation head on. Korten also puts much emphasis on changing individual lifestyles, which while admirable, would not likely achieve any of his worthwhile goals. Although this volume falls short of suggesting any actions likely to curb the corporate juggernaut, it is well written, wide ranging, and full of interesting ideas. In addition, the author's environmental message is timely. Korten addresses an important topic, but readers will need to look elsewhere for political strategies. Easily accessible to the general reader. Public and academic library collections. M. Perelman California State University, Chico