David's Story

Co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, founder and president of the Living Economies Forum [formerly People-Centered Development Forum (PCDForum)], which is my organizational base, and a member of the Club of Rome. I am also a founding board member emeritus of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). My books include Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real WealthThe Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and the international best seller When Corporations Rule the World.

For most people, the more interesting part of my bio is the story of the personal journey that led to my take on the path to a viable and prosperous human future.

This is a four and a half minute video version of my life story produced as an introduction to my presentation to the Trinity Wall Street Institute Theological Conference, January 2009

These are five highlights of my life experience:

  1. I grew up in a conservative small town where I learned to value family, community, and nature. In my childhood, my dad, a local retail merchant, taught me that if your primary business purpose is not to serve your customers and community, then you have no business being in business.
  2. My years as a business school student and professor honed my skills in identifying the upstream source of system failure that caused downstream problems within for-profit corporations. Later in my career I applied these same skills to sorting out why Wall Street corporations pose a threat to human viability and identifying changes in the structure of the global economic system essential to human well-being. 
  3. During 21 years living in Africa, Latin America, and Asia on a quest to end global poverty, I witnessed a growing gap between the promise that economic growth brings universal prosperity and the on the ground reality.
  4. After years of working as a would be change agent within establishment organizations, I realized the futility of seeking transformation from within, defected, and became a builder of institutions and social movements working from the outside to create a new cultural, institutional, and political reality from the bottom up.
  5. My involvement in facilitating the emergence of global civil society as a counter to the global consolidation of corporate power, gave me an insider view of the potential of global-scale, self-organizing citizen action to change the human course. I have since devoted substantial time and energy to reflecting on and applying the lessons of this experience.

The particulars of my experience can be viewed through a variety of lenses: a conventional author bio, details of my current organizational affiliations, a list of my early career establishment credentials, and my reflections on critical turning points in my career and thinking. A December 16, 2000 interview by the University of Washington Center for Communication and Civic Engagement provides further detail.

This site also provides a calendar of up coming media and speaking events, information on my books currently in print, and recent articles and talks. See introductions for a few key facts useful in making an introduction. Two major themes developed on this site frame my current work: the New Economy and the Great Turning.