September 2001

David Korten
September 25, 2001

Given the significance of the events of September 11, I want to quickly bring up to date on my activities and thinking before and since, mainly calling your attention to new materials on the PCDF website.

Perhaps no other single event in history has so focused world attention, altered our collective consciousness, and demonstrated the need to reorder human priorities as the terrible tragedy of September 11. Within hours, much of humanity came to know that in a world filled with hatred and violence there is no security, no escape, not even for the wealthy elites of the world’s most militarily and economically powerful nation.

All through the world, people are asking:What is the source of the hatred so deep as to motivate such desperate and violent acts? Where is the joy in a world so fractured that we live in fear of every stranger? What is justice in a world in which both the avenged and the avenger knowingly take innocent lives in its name?

The answers point to a truth many of us have been speaking for years: Only the hopelessly deranged would knowingly choose the future that lies ahead for humanity if we stay our present course.

Soon after the tragedy, it became clear that the Bush administration and the corporate media monopolies were preparing the nation for a futile war certain to result in a massive loss of innocent lives and an escalation of terrorist violence, yet there was hardly a mention from the media of the irrationality and immorality of such an action. I joined with friends and colleagues at YES! magazine and elsewhere to do what we could to encourage voices of sanity to speak out.

Now, as the danger of a massive, precipitous, and self-destructive U.S. military assault seems to be giving way to the tools of intelligence gather and criminal justice in a cooperative international effort to identify the guilty parties and bring them to justice, we can turn some attention to what lies ahead. Here there seem to be new openings for positive proposals to deal with the underlying causes of terrorism. We must prepare our selves to engage in new conversations in new forums.

I just created a sub-web on the PCDForum website dealing with the September 11 crisis under the banner "Justice, Not Vengeance."  You will find information and links relating to our participation with other civil society groups to prevent a self-defeating escalation of violence. You will also find various of my thoughts on what lies ahead.

Apart from responding to the September 11 crisis, most of my attention since last April has been devoted to the newly established PCDF Living Economies Program dealing with practical strategies for transformative economic change. You will find that although most of the ideas are familiar, it introduces new language and a strategic framework that help practitioners working for transformative change to see and act on often neglected opportunities. This work is attracting particular interest from members of the Social Ventures Network (SVN), a dynamic group of socially committed entrepreneurs who are deeply committed to creating positive change through the businesses and investment funds they own and manage. The development of living economies will be a central theme of SVN's forthcoming October Conference. My web essay “Living Economies for a Living Planet,” is the gateway to a wealth of ideas and commentary.