David Korten: Agenda for a New Economy (video)

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The 2010 mid-term election results have produced a substantial political shift in the house of representatives, and state legislatures throughout the country. No where across the political landscape—where the mood of the electorate is variously described as angry, fearful, frustrated—have the deepest issues of our time been openly discussed, let alone carefully examined. Indeed, one of those deeper issues, the president conceded today, Climate Change legislation, was now off the table for the remainder of his term given the new political realities.

This is but one example of the political rift that exists between opposing ideologies, in this case, where the proper role of science to inform responsible policy decisions (embodied in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and whose reports are sounding the alarm), are disregarded by a sizable political faction who openly question the validity of the science. Of course, in the end, mother nature will not abate her will in homage to any particular party ideology, or powerful vested interest.

The major issues before our nation, and of the world run deeper, more profound, than political labels and simplistic arguments currently maintain. We have framed our debate in almost Homer Simpsonesque style, fittingly delivered through endless sound bites, and cursory analysis on traditional news outlets, relying heavily upon the most effective (and cynical) educational tool ever devised: mass media advertising.

Off the national debate table, is how we Americans, and other citizens of the world, are going to “create a world that works for all.” One, as David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, and co-founder of Yes! Magazine, outlines a framework for, in these talks on CUpS.

In part one, of this 4 part series, Korten melds economic theory to the built environment (man-made structures that define our local communities and larger society), he argues requires a complete “system redesign,” a political, economic, and environmental restructuring in order to avert serious consequences for humankind. Along the way, he summarizes the story of our existence as he has interpreted it from philosophers, religious, and scientific thinkers throughout the ages. Pointing to the preamble to the Earth’s Charter crafted at the 1992 Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Korton argues this framework provides for an understanding of the type of new world economy that will sustain life for everyone, including that of the natural world, the foundation for all life to prosper—including our species.

David Korten’s talk was presented by the Cascadia Green Building Council whose focus is on addressing “the impact of the built environment on the planet we call home”.


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