BK Magazine BK Currents
Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
In his new book, David Korten explains how our current "story" is one of Sacred Money and Markets which emphasizes monetary gain and the use of the planet purely for resources. We need a new story, Korten says, or face our own demise.
We humans live by shared cultural stories that shape our common values and how we structure institutional power. When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong.
Here are five ways the familiar Sacred Money and Markets story by which we currently live gets it badly wrong—with deadly consequences.
1. Money is wealth. Conditioned to believe that money is wealth rather than just a number, we forget that the only legitimate purpose of business and the economy is to serve living people and the rest of nature. We instead structure and manage them to make money as their defining purpose and allocate resources to maximize returns to money. The inevitable result is growing inequality, environmental destruction, political corruption, and poverty and servitude for all but the few.
2. Unregulated markets combine with the individualistic competitive drive for personal advantage to maximize wealth creation and thereby the well-being of all. We forget that humans survive and thrive only as members of healthy cooperative families and communities. We celebrate as a human ideal, behavior we might otherwise recognize as psychopathic.
3. Material consumption is the path to happiness. Thus misdirected, we live in indentured servitude to global corporations to feed insatiable addiction to consumption that destroys nature and deprives of us the true happiness of life as members of caring communities.
4. Earth belongs to us. She is our property to use as we find most financially profitable. We forget that Living Earth is our sacred mother, the source of our birth and nurture. We belong to her.
5. Corporations are just people and entitled to the same rights as any person. Publicly traded corporations are legal entities programmed by their legal structures to function as money-seeking robots that behave like psychopaths in response to signals from global financial markets that value only money and incessantly demand ever greater short-term profits without regard for the consequences for life.
Thus misdirected we believe we get richer as we destroy the living wealth foundational to our own existence to make money for those who already have far more money than could ever possibly use. Money prospers. Life withers.
Our future depends on awakening to the reality that we are living beings born of and nurtured by a Living Earth itself born of a Living Universe. And that changes everything.