May 2001

David Korten
May 25, 2001

Much has happened since I sent out the last PCDForum Memorandum on January 26, 1999. The long silence reflects the incredible pace of events and PCDF’s ever more substantial involvements.

Indeed, from the PCDF perspective, we now live in a new world. As you know, millions of people have taken to the world’s streets over the past two years—in Seattle, Washington, DC, Prague, Delhi, La Paz, Quebec City and many others—to express their concern about corporate globalization and neoliberal economic policies, the issues PCDF was created to help bring to public consciousness. Civil resistance is growing to the point that corporate globalists now have difficulty finding adequately secure venues for their secret meetings and negotiations. Seminars, forums, and conferences dealing with corporate rule and the need for transformative change are now common place, as are the countless networks of civil society organizations engaged in defining and advancing a new agenda for humanity.

PCDF's reach and influence have grown accordingly. When Corporations Rule the World has now sold over 90,000 copies in fourteen languages. A second edition was released in April 2001 in a low cost format positioned to reach an even larger audience with five new chapters and a Foreword by actor/activist Danny Glover. The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism has sold more than 25,000 copies in seven languages. The PCDF website has been updated and redesigned and can now be accessed via its own domain name <www.pcdf.org>.

I've been speaking to ever larger audiences, helped draft the international institutions section of a soon to be released International Forum on Globalization white paper on alternatives to the global economy, contributed to the Earth Charter scheduled for ratification by the UN General Assembly in 1992, and worked with the State of the World Forum on its plans to create an international multi-stakeholder Commission on Globalization on which I have agreed to serve as a commissioner. The Social Ventures Network, an activist business alliance, has named me one of its "Visionary Advisors" and I am working with its members and the Esalen Institute, a leading personal growth center, on developing a living economy initiative to advance the creation of post-corporate alternatives to the “suicide economy” of global capitalism.

Linda Elswick of International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture was appointed as a PCDF Fellow in May 2000 to establish a Washington, DC Program Center. She and PCDF Fellow Tina Liamzon, who heads our Rome Program Center, have been working together with Thomas Forster to open a variety of official UN forums on food and agriculture to representative voices of civil society and to facilitate and mentor their input. This is an important step toward ending the hegemony of corporate influence in international policy fora.

PCDF has continued its close partnership with the Positive Futures Network (PFN), publishers of the quarterly YES! A Journal of Positive Futures <www.yesmagazine.org>. Since the beginning of 1999 the subscriber base of YES! has more than doubled to 14,000 and continues to grow rapidly. Total circulation is now 30,000 copies per issue. PFN has also been building a strong networking role, organizing two "State of the Possible" retreats each year to strengthen relations among key leaders from diverse U.S. civil society constituencies and to build a shared language and vision.

Given the current state of the global movement it's now hard to believe that when PCDF was founded at the beginning of 1990 the early paradigm warriors who were challenging what we now call “corporate globalization” were a lonely, scattered, and largely invisible lot. One of the main reasons for bringing PCDF into being was to help these lonely warriors connect to like minded colleagues, encourage one another, and share insights. These were the primary early functions of the PCDF Board of Contributing Editors. The Internet was still so new that communications were primarily by mail and fax.

At its 2001 annual meeting PCDF's governing board concluded that the PCDF Board of Contributing Editors has so effectively accomplished the objectives for which it was formed that it has become largely redundant and should be retired with proper thanks and congratulations.
A smaller advisory board will be formed in its place. Future communications will be by e-mail and the web will become one of PCDF's important publication outlets.

PCDF was created originally as a response to crisis and set out to challenge the official denial that precluded appropriate public action. With time we came to understand that the crisis presents to humanity both a threat and an opportunity—for it calls us to take a collective step to a new level of spiritual, social, and intellectual function. Even the stolen U.S. election and the seeming triumph of right wing extremism in the United States presents an opportunity for raising political consciousness given that the values of the Bush administration are so sharply at odds with the values on which he campaigned and the values of the majority of the electorate.

The hope that we will realize the potential of this opportunity resides in a global awakening of cultural consciousness that appears to be rapidly reaching critical mass. This awakening is a key to activating the processes by which the collective social energies of human societies will gradually be withdrawn from the institutions of violence and domination that defined the era now passing and redirected to the creative task of building caring institutions of global community based on partnership and mutuality for an emerging new era.

It is a process without precedent in human history. The scale is global and the energies for change flow not from the top down but from the bottom up. The goal is a world that works for all and the inspiration and leadership come less from prestigious intellectuals, political leaders, and persons of means than from the marginalized, the dispossessed, and even the vanishing species of a dying earth.
A next step in the unfolding transformative process is to create an infrastructure of dialogue toward the sharing of new stories and the liberation from corporate domination of ever expanding authentic cultural, political, and economic spaces within which people can bring into being the living communities and economies of the new era.

The energies of PCDF are increasingly directed to nurturing the sharing of new stories, the formation of an infrastructure of dialogue, and the opening of authentic spaces.