Monday, January 26, 2009

Markets generate conversations

David Korten on Democracy Now:
. . . our system is built on driving increased consumption, but particularly it is driving the most destructive and wasteful forms of consumption, of course, starting with war, moving on to automobile dependence, and which is not just about the energy issue, but it’s about the fragmentation of society, as we move out into the suburbs. It’s about the breakdown of the family, as we put more and more stress on the family.

One interesting specific mentioned by Korten: People have ten times more conversations in farmers' markets than they have in the supermarket. If markets "are" conversations, we can say some conversations generate more conversations than others. And different sorts of exchanges. Korten is author of Agenda for a New Economy.

This is a crucial point -- tieing to what Doc Searls has been getting at forever. 

But the nuance matters. Some markets tend to dumb down conversations, or produce fake ones. Other markets generate talk with more matter. The nature of markets and the conversations they generate differs materially according to context, culture, etc. 

In places where open markets reside in town squares (Latin America, eg) the rich public and historical context - this place where people have spent their days every day for centuries - generates richer conversations - more hooks, more relations, more life content.

The whole interview with Korten is worthwhile. His notion of phantom vs. real wealth is very much on the money.

And in the spirit of phantom wealth, IMproPRieTies introduces its new, Amazon Affiliate linkthingage:

If we make $10 this year, we'll share half with you  in the spirit of phantom wealth aggregator proprietorship.

Update: Phil at Gifthub on Korten and Catherine Austin Fitts, and material differences between them.

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Blogger jonhusband said...

David Korten's first book "When Corporations Rule The World" had an enormous impact on me.

I have not read this latest .. if it is well-researched and thought through as "When corporations ... " was, then I should read it, I think. But basically it's my opinion that the fundamental assumptions and structures of business and money under which we live are too deeply rooted for any of us alive to day to expect any really substantive change towards something more equitable and honest for humankind.

I often wish I could shake my fundamental pessimism. Nothing I have seen or read to date gives me enough tangible hope. What keeps me from completely terminal pessimism is Barbara Marx Hubbard's "It's too late for pessimism"".

2/05/2009 3:53 PM  
Blogger jonhusband said...

Hmm ... very interesting update.

I must state that I also read Korten's 2nd book The Great Turning .. my reaction was similar to CA Fitts'.

orth America and leaving some states off because they were having regulatory problems in those states. The problem is that if you are driving from New York to California, you may get lost because the map is not accurate.

I had not read Korten’ books when he told me that he did not think one could write about the “real deal” and stay alive. I have recently skimmed his latest book, The Great Turning: from Empire to Earth Community. Like most books of this genre, it is twisted into the pretzels that result when an author tries to provide a comprehensive picture in which problems and solutions are defined in terms of the overt economy, while truths that are not socially acceptable are exorcised. Which is to say that Korten is asking his readers to pay money and invest time reading a book which is rife with material omissions.

Why am I not surprised, and why am I disappointed after long remembering the impact "When Corporations Rule ... " ?

I'd recommend to anyone spending more time with Fitts' work .. she is closer to what seems to be reality, and I suspect she understands the scope and depth of the machinations of our lovely system better.

Thanks, Tom, for posting that illuminating update.

2/07/2009 1:53 PM  
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