Change the Story, Change the Future | David C. Korten

Summary of: Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth
By: David C. Korten

Introduction

In Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth, author David C. Korten discusses the harmful effects of the dominant global narrative – the Sacred Money and Markets story – which primarily benefits the wealthy and powerful while causing pain and destruction for the majority of humanity. By examining the roles of stories in shaping our perceptions and behavior, Korten delves into the power of the right stories to bring positive change to humanity. Furthermore, he explores alternative narratives, such as the Sacred Life and Living Earth story, which aims to focus on harmony, fairness, and sustainability.

Sacred Money and Markets

The Sacred Money and Markets story is a misguided narrative that prioritizes economic growth and perpetuates inequality and environmental destruction. This story is upheld by wealthy and powerful corporations, but its power is dwindling as more people become aware of its negative impacts. A new narrative is emerging that opposes corporate globalization and advocates for sustainability and social justice.

The book highlights how stories shape our perception of reality and assign value. The Sacred Money and Markets story defines happiness for humanity as increased economic growth. It claims that economic development benefits the planet’s nearly nine billion people. However, the reality is that economic development undermines the poor and poisons the natural environment, leading to violence and consumer excess becoming the accepted norm. In this story, consumption’s growth has no limits, government should not interfere with business, and the most intense marketplace competition results in the greatest economic prosperity for all. It advocates for removing human conscience and moral sensibility from financial markets.

The book argues that this story harms ordinary people and influences government policies, directing power away from the common people and towards global corporations and financial markets. The corporations pursue money that does not further life but consumes it. The book emphasizes that money is a reflection of human will and, on its own, does nothing.

As GDP grows, life becomes increasingly difficult for most people, and the natural environment becomes more poisoned. The Sacred Money and Markets story forces all but the wealthy ever deeper into poverty, resulting in less food, less access to clean water, less basic security, and less joy. The story puts a price on everything, including the earth, and promotes monopolistic control by corporations, leading to inequality.

However, the book highlights that the power of the Sacred Money and Markets story is dwindling. People understand that it’s an exploitative fairy tale based on bad ethics, science, and economics. Today, stories that run counter to the Sacred Money and Markets story are gaining traction. For example, the International Forum on Globalization opposes corporate globalization and provides a platform for activists and others to tell real-life stories about the negative side of global corporate rule. The book mentions the 1999 World Trade Organization protest in Seattle and the Occupy movement as examples that raised public consciousness about the dangers of corporate globalization.

In conclusion, the Sacred Money and Markets story prioritizes economic growth and perpetuates inequality and environmental destruction. A new narrative that opposes corporate globalization and advocates for sustainability and social justice is emerging. It is crucial to understand the power of stories in shaping our reality and assign value. The book emphasizes the importance of choosing the right stories that provide notable benefits to humanity while avoiding and opposing the wrong stories that prove immensely destructive.

The Transformative Power of the Sacred Life Story

The Sacred Life and Living Earth story is a unifying force behind the people-power movement, promoting harmony, fairness, and sustainability. It provides authentic meaning to life, counters the notion of human greed, and offers a workable future for humanity. By following this story, people can positively transform their lives and the planet.

Three Cosmologies Explained

The book delves into how the three cosmologies – Distant Patriarch, Grand Machine, and Mystical Unity – shape our society and values. The Distant Patriarch cosmology, prevalent in Abrahamic religions, emphasizes a male-dominated hierarchy that aligns with the Sacred Money and Markets story. The Grand Machine cosmology, relying heavily on science and rationality, justifies colonialism and capitalism. The Mystical Unity cosmology sees material reality as an illusion and emphasizes compassion and sharing, aligning with the Sacred Life and Living Earth story. Understanding these cosmologies can help us comprehend and possibly transcend our societal values and beliefs.

The Three Narratives of the Sacred Life

The Sacred Life and Living Earth story holds the key to the cosmic purpose and inspires people to make things better for themselves and the planet. The book presents three narratives, namely “The Living Universe,” “The Living Earth,” and “The Living Economy,” which act as complimentary views offering the purpose behind the universe’s creation. The Living Universe narrative emphasizes that everything in the universe is interconnected, and beings share this world. It takes elements from the Distant Patriarch cosmology, the Grand Machine cosmology, and the Mystical Unity cosmology. The Living Earth narrative recognizes that everything depends on the Sacred Mother, Earth. It asserts that nature has innate natural rights that humans must respect. The Living Economy narrative signifies that the global economy should not function against nature. It encourages people to design their lives, eliminate jobs that harm the environment, make financial speculation unprofitable, and develop incentives for local businesses. Overall, the book encourages people to live in harmony with nature and strive towards global prosperity.

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