Foreword by Danny Glover

From When Corporations Rule the World



How do we create a more sustainable, and at the same time a more economically and socially just world? Sustainable in the sense that we steward responsibly, and for the benefit of all this magnificently beautiful, small blue planet that we are blessed to call home. It is the major challenge of our time.

In this revised edition of When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten presents us with a brilliant and incisive analysis of the problem, the challenge, and the opportunity. An important first step toward addressing the challenge is to grasp the magnitude of the problem.For the past several years, as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), I have been focusing on the issues of HIV/AIDS and poverty, particularly in Africa. In that capacity, I have had an opportunity to grapple deeply with some of the underlying issues related to poverty and development. This has also presented me with an opportunity to witness first hand, the ravaging effects of the widening economic gap between rich and poor. I see that growing gap everywhere, within and between families, neighborhoods, and nations.

Much of the prevailing public dialogue treats such problems as though they were merely personal issues to be worked out by individuals who have failed to get their own lives in order--without reference to the larger struggle to create a just world. It leads us to a dead end of cynicism and despair.

Meeting David Korten and reading the earlier edition of When Corporations Rule the World have had a profound impact on my own thinking and sense of my life mission. It has helped me see the larger context of the inequities people everywhere are experiencing and understand their root causes. Only as we begin to see ourselves in an ever enlarging, interconnected context can we fully appreciate the extent to which the problems we face as individuals, and the solutions to those problems, are global.

From here it is a short step to the obvious, but neglected, truth that to redeem ourselves we must also redeem our institutions. We must all lend our passion and creative energy to the collective work of institutional transformation to create a world of justice for all.

Like many of the people who in November 1999 attended the WTO teach-ins in Seattle, I was motivated to be there because of David's work and the profound opportunity that the occasion presented to deepen our collective understanding. I was deeply moved by the stories; stories of courage, resistance and compassion shared by people from every corner of the globe.

When Corporations Rule the World continues to be at the very center of this expanding global dialogue. This revised and updated edition is even more powerful than the original in its articulation of the issues, its stories of the struggle, and its compelling call to each and every one of us to become participants in what I believe to be a sacred trust. That trust involves creating a world that works for all; a world that we, through our consciousness and our collective actions have a responsibility to help bring into existence for ourselves, for our children, and for the yet unborn. Accepting this profound responsibility takes us to a whole new place as human beings.

Such is the power of this dialogue toward the articulation and realization of a vision of the human possibility. I'm humbled to be a part of it.

Danny Glover