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How to Break the Power of Money


How to Break the Power of Money

David Korten

Our current political chaos has a simple explanation. The economic system is driving environmental collapse, economic desperation, political corruption, and financial instability. And it isn’t working for the vast majority of people.

It serves mainly the interests of a financial oligarchy that in the United States dominates the establishment wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties. So voters are rebelling against those wings of both parties—and for good reason.


Great article.

Evolution may require conflict, but money does not seem to be what separates the wheat from the chaff. Too much money does not seem to differentiate the fit from the unfit, the weak from the strong. It seems to favor what we regard as evil instead of good. It separates the cowardly, weak, amoral rich from the brave, strong working poor and middle classes who fight the rich man's wars and clean up their mess.


I'm no genius, but this article is on the right track but offers no solutions. Seems to me we,, the people, need leverage. Leverage means a relatively small force makes a much larger change. There are many corporate entities ( such as the "defense" industries where we can only indirectly sway them, by voting in candidates that promise to reign them in.,but there may not be any that have that position) But there are other corporations that are much more dependant on us, the sheep...the consumers. Our only power is letting them know they will not get our money unless they change and become more what we want, it's difficult, but it is the only way. The bottom line is the ONLY consideration anymore. No morals, no right thing, just profit. The only way to,vote anymore is by withholding money. It's sad, but it still can be used, but requires boycotts where a majority of the people refrain from buying and tell the powers that be exactly why and what we demand if they want more of our money.

The problem is organizational and how to be collectively recognized. It's not that hard.


Just to,add...that was the whole idea with the USA. Leverage f the people to sway the powers that be, nowadays it is not the congressmen so much as the ones they abdicated to...the rich corporations.


"We see it in millions of defectors from consumerism, who by choice or necessity are living more simply."
- from this excellent article by David Korten

That would be me and my family. While challenging - less really is more. I have found this out the hard way, or perhaps more completely the hard and slow way, over an adventurous lifetime, with mistakes aplenty, but a gradually and at times not so gradual awareness of what is what.

I'm going to get David Korten's book(s), because he is well educated, is a member of the Club of Rome ("Limits to Growth" ca 1972 by the MIT group), and he seems to have some good ideas, which I am hoping will help me to continue down this path that I began, really about 1994.

A ray of hope in a darkened world.

Power to you David !


Money talks

Can we learn not to listen?


"And the deepest truths, those on which our common future depends, live in the human heart. ": Very well stated and true. What, after all, do we all have in common? Life, existence is what unites us. If only we can see this then everything else that is presently a cause for conflict will vanish.


You forget that the way the oligarchy has the financial system structured allows IT to just print money. What do you think Q.E 1-2-3, etc. are about?

If the elites can print money and distribute their faux financial graft AS the real thing, the various attempts to boycott products have FAR less impact.


Money yammers.


I think it adds an interesting perspective for us CD folk that Korten, the author of this article, is a self-styled conservative, though he obviously does not mean that in any way that I or most of us would likely think it.


Change won't happen in the foreseeable future. Think: Even liberals (who should know better) so strongly believe in the success of our deregulated capitalism, that they think everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. In reality, the US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare aid in the 1990s. The last I heard, there are 7 jobs for every 10 jobless people who still have the means to pursue one (home address, phone, etc.). What has been the response from the left?

Face it, we're true believers in US capitalism. Who doesn't believe, as Bill Clinton had stated, that all anyone needs to do is "get up every morning, work hard, and play by all the rules?"


I recently read that the overall life expectancy of the US poor has already fallen to age 60-62. What we don't all have in common is access to a means of survival.


The best way to break the power of money over our minds is to give everyone a guaranteed basic income, pegged say to 1/2 the median wage (including the GBI). Once enough money to live on is not hard to get, people will cease to value it, or at least not to the ridiculous extent they now do. If you're worried about inflation (which is in any case much kinder than deflation, in case you hadn't noticed), impose a stiff wealth tax on the rich (and an even stiffer inheritance tax, to make sure dynasties do not rule the earth like they now do). Then I honestly do believe that all the other issues discussed in this article would in due course take care of themselves (if only there were time).


This article is on the right track, but we need practical solutions:
1. As long as money generates % interest, it will continue to hold its power......We need a currency that is just that a currency that can be used for exchange.
2. TO obtain your necessities you need money to buy them, to obtain them.....your food, your energy, your housing...you need cash or credit to obtain them.... maybe a system that also includes Time Dollars as a new currency.
3. We need to move from a system based on Competition to one Based on Cooperation with Competition playing a secondary role serving Cooperation......
4. What is also ironic is that the Most Powerful Country on Earth is one that print its own dollars and holds the most debt in the world.

  1. Regarding the interest that is generated on your dollars, Did You Ever Wonder where the % dollars come from?????..... most likely from natural resources or human labor being converted to dollars.....


I have just bought David Korten's new book, "Change the Story, Change the Future".

I didn't realize this was in fact a Report to the Club of Rome at the time I bought it (last night after reading David's post here on Common Dreams).

The last report I read from the Club of Rome was "The Limits to Growth" by the MIT Systems Group in 1972, after I had dropped out of my third year at McGill University in 1970. But I knew enough science by then, and enough about the world, to realize that the picture painted by that MIT Group was accurate enough. I have never forgotten about that report in the forty-four years since, and as David Korten reports in this new Club of Rome Report, "The Limits to Growth" has proven largely accurate and on the money, to indulge in a bit of morbid humor.

I can say with certainty that I agree with both the forecast of the "Limits to Growth" and with David Korten's new Report to The club of Rome.

It is reminiscent of Ervin Laszlo's Club of Budapest book "Worldshift 2012", but this one by David is by an American, and is couched in more understandable language - closer to the culture I grew up in.

But the message is the same - change or die.

I urge all to read this new book.

The inertia in the system all but guarantees ongoing collapse, but without hope we are truly lost.

Manysummits, B.Sc., - in Calgary


A more relevant question is: What needs to be done to save our species from extinction, and what is the likelihood that that will get done. Writing about breaking the power of money today amounts to sticking one's head in the sand, and pretending that our species is not in serious danger; it qualifies as insanity!


I posted an essay at Economics Without Greed with the title "Is Capitalism Broken? 22% of last years national income went to 1% of households. Under 6% went to 47% of workers, 71 million workers (from Social Security report on wage income). The main point in Korten's essay, we first live in a society, and secondly in an economy. The "economy" is a tool, an expression of the society. Having the economy dictate to the society doesn't promote our values. We have to over-rule and over-ride those false mandates of "money" and "wealth". We are the wealthy, they are the thieves of our wealth. It is an us-versus-them thing. They are the minority, let them adjust to our values which are life supporting.


Three weeks before he too was assassinated, Bobby Kennedy gave a speech which outlined this self evident truth, but in a style verging on the poetic: "GDP measures everything in short, except that which makes life worth living". His supposed assassin was already disarmed and on the floor though shots still rang out. Thirteen shots, but from a gun which only hold eight bullets. The shots which killed RFK were fired from behind his ear close enough to burn the skin, though Sirhan was only ever in front by several feet.
This is the gist of an interview of John Pilger on Democracy Now on the 40 the Anniversary. Pilger hated RFK but surely, his testimony might have helped free an innocent man? Sirhan still has no recollection of the event which some believe points to the CIA's MKUltra Project of hypnotised assassins as in the Manchurian Candidate. The CIA were very concerned that RFK might win the election then be in a position to pursue his brother's killers. Plus ca change.


Quite simply stated and so very true; I would add: "....change or die 'before our time' such as when the next meteorite slams into Mother....."
The practice of "capitalism" is nothing but a game, a game that requires rules; the rules that had been in place for many decades and somewhat "worked" (to a point of extreme greed) had/have been dismantled so what we have is "out of control" capitalism with no oversight to protect the common folk. There also was a time when corporations that did harm to society lost their charters.......today we call it "white collar crime" and dismiss it like ignoring deviant teenagers.
Change or die.


A substantial guaranteed income is in fact a great way disempower the power of money. It may be the best possible way NOW to move forward.
Naysayers should be reminded that the money system is a falsehood, and money can be created at will. We just need to have the political will to give the people control over money production and dispensing. Equality and democracy first. Capitalism to serve the people, NOT people to serve capitalism.