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David Korten Quotes

David Korten, born on February 5, 1937, is an influential American author, speaker, and advocate for sustainable communities and economic justice. With a background in business and international development, Korten has dedicated his life to challenging the prevailing economic and social systems that perpetuate inequality and environmental degradation.

Korten’s journey towards becoming a prominent voice for alternative economic models began during his tenure as a professor at Harvard Business School and his work with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). However, it was his experiences witnessing the negative impacts of unbridled corporate power and globalization that served as a turning point in his thinking.

Korten’s influential book, “When Corporations Rule the World,” published in 1995, propelled him to the forefront of the global movement for economic and social justice. The book critically examined the detrimental effects of corporate dominance and offered a compelling vision for building sustainable communities based on principles of fairness, environmental stewardship, and local empowerment.

Korten’s work advocates for shifting away from the prevailing model of corporate capitalism towards more equitable and sustainable economic systems. He promotes the concept of “living economies,” which prioritize human well-being, ecological balance, and shared prosperity over relentless growth and profit maximization. Korten argues that a fundamental transformation of our economic structures is essential for addressing pressing global challenges, such as climate change and social inequality.

Beyond his writings, Korten has been an ardent supporter of grassroots movements and local initiatives that prioritize community resilience, ecological sustainability, and social justice. He encourages individuals to challenge the dominant narrative of consumerism and individualism and instead foster collaboration, cooperation, and collective action for the betterment of society.

David Korten’s contributions to the fields of alternative economics and sustainable development have had a lasting impact on global discourse. His ideas have influenced policymakers, activists, and scholars alike, inspiring conversations about the need for systemic change to create a more just and sustainable world. Korten’s work serves as a call to action, urging individuals and communities to reimagine and actively participate in shaping a future that prioritizes human well-being, ecological balance, and economic justice.

David Korten’s unwavering commitment to promoting sustainable communities and economic justice has positioned him as a leading figure in the movement for transformative change. His ideas challenge us to question the prevailing economic systems and envision alternatives that prioritize the well-being of people and the planet. As we confront the urgent social and environmental challenges of our time, Korten’s work continues to inspire and empower individuals and communities to build a more equitable, sustainable, and compassionate world.

Not exclusively, but the bulk of our local economy should be covered by local currencies, which is more efficient than having global currencies which lose connection with reality in the markets, shops and communities of the people.

David Korten

Wall Street sees a social fabric or social contract as inefficiencies, which need to be removed.

David Korten

More humane societies are usually smaller, like the Scandinavian countries and Holland, where it is much easier to reach consensus and cooperation.

David Korten

Money is not wealth. Money is a claim on wealth.

David Korten

Moreover, statistics can be deceiving: the growth of jobs in the US in the 90s was due to many part-time jobs, with no benefits and generally low pay.

David Korten

My claim is that we do not have a market economy, but a capitalist economy.

David Korten

My own experience in the third world was that even if people started to make more money, the cost of living and housing increased often faster than the wages.

David Korten

So, there is enormous instability in the global economy with a shift of winners and losers.

David Korten

The EU will face problems similar to the US: an increasing gap between the citizens and decision makers in Brussels and a perceived or even real lack of democracy.

David Korten

The first principle of the market economy is that it is comprised of many small buyers and sellers, which implies a substantial degree of equity. Another fundamental market principle is that costs are internalized in the producer’s price.

David Korten

The professional study of economics has become ideological brainwashing. It is a defense of the excesses of the capitalist system.

David Korten

There are actually very few US politicians who have integrity and vision.

David Korten

There is no visible sign that the current politicians in the US are willing to see the need for change.

David Korten

Money is a mechanism for control.

David Korten

We should be moving toward local currencies not global or European currencies.

David Korten

There is a huge shift taking place in the global awareness in the last 5 years with strong views about globalization and the power structures of major corporations.

David Korten

Europeans say they are proud of their social fabric, of strong rights for workers and the weak in society.

David Korten

More and more surveys in the US are indicating a change in values taking place among consumers, who become more concerned about quality of life, food, health and the environment.

David Korten

Money flows into the US, and inflates US assets, and allows the US to have a monstrous trade deficit. That means we are consuming more than we are producing.

David Korten

As long as you have a system that is based on the rational that if you are making money you are thereby making a contribution to society, these financial rogue practices will continue.

David Korten

But in the past, US companies have been able to increase their profits through downsizing in the US, through colonizing other people’s resources, and through the increase of globalization.

David Korten

But we can also take the radical view that the test of an economy has to do with the extent to which it is providing everybody with a decent means of living.

David Korten

Capitalism is not about free competitive choices among people who are reasonably equal in their buying and selling of economic power, it is about concentrating capital, concentrating economic power in very few hands using that power to trash everyone who gets in their way.

David Korten

And each of these perspectives comes to the same conclusion, which is that our global economy is out of control and performing contrary to basic principles of market economics.

David Korten

Global competition is about winners and losers.

David Korten

If I would need to make a prediction I still believe Kaplan’s scenario is very plausible.

David Korten

If you look at the US economy over the last 15-20 years wages have been stagnating or even declining.

David Korten

If you look internationally over the last 50 years there have been improvements in the third world, but in the last 20 years the reverse has happened, with debt crises and increased poverty.

David Korten

In a world of increasing inequality, the legitimacy of institutions that give precedence to the property rights of “the Haves” over the human rights of “the Have Nots” is inevitably called into serious question.

David Korten

In the US, most progressives start to see the differences between internationalism and economic globalization.

David Korten

It is interesting to note that the 200 richest people have more assets than the 2 billion poorest.

David Korten

It will take some time before a politician will capture the imagination of the American people and have the vision and understanding to do what is necessary for a better future for the people of America and the world.

David Korten

Capitalism and the market are presented as synonymous, but they are not. Capitalism is both the enemy of the market and democracy.

David Korten

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