Book Review: The Post Corporate World

Every once in a while I come across a book that just blows me away with the depth and scope of what someone has managed to put together. The Post Corporate World by David C Korten is one of those books.

He starts off discussing the current story we are in and how in basic terms it can’t continue because we are destroying the very systems that support our lives. He then offers a suggestion that a new story is required that is focused on life as something to model. I very impressed that given the possible scope of his work he focused in economic issues. How do we remodel the world to support life from a business/consumer perspective?

The book contains many interesting ideas from the world of life that we should try to incorporate in our lives. He provides an interesting discussion on capitalism and communism pointing out both are extremes, that something towards the middle is required. Companies currently seek profit with too few barriers from governments, we need to insist on a more balanced approach.

Perhaps one of the more impressive sections in the book is where he provides some thought on what the new economic system would look like in our daily lives. It’s sort of a mind blowing read to see someone who looked at the world and provided a blueprint on how to rebuild it from the ground up. I can’t cover here everything he discussed but in general it was a more decentralized population distribution with a more local focus on business and higher dependence on solar or other renewal power.

So where does all this tie into this overly long essay this week? I particularly liked at the end the author provides a large list of items can can do to support a more balanced economic system. Some of them will even look familiar to you. A sample of a few of his ideas include:

  • Simply your life and stop buying crap you don’t need. If you stop feeding money to companies you will have more for yourself and can then consider a more life affirming job which may not pay as well (Mmm, that sounds a lot like semi-early retirement and being frugal).
  • Buy smaller rather than bigger (cars, TV’s, just about everything). Smaller often uses less resources so consider what will work for you and keep it small.
  • Buy local. Save the world use of oil by buying things locally made where possible.
  • Use a community based bank to keep the profits in your local area.
  • Vote with your money and don’t support companies with a history of destruction.
  • Reduce your own dependence on your car. Can you live in an area where you don’t use it much or could you live closer to work.
  • Limit corporation influence in politics (specifically in regards to donations to political parties).
  • Remove the fiction that a corporation is a person under the law.
  • Support alternative measures of economic progress. Ie: Let’s stop making the GDP the most important number.

In the end I felt just about everyone could stand to read this book. I don’t expect people to do everything he suggests, but he does provide a good place to start the discussion on. Why accept the world as it is when you can start changing it today?

On a little side note I want to thank everyone who put up with me as I went on this little tangent path for the week. In the end it all ties into some of the themes I regularly hit up including money and the environment, but it was a long trip getting here. So feel free to ask anything on your mind. I can’t promise to know it all, but I’ll try to address what I can.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Post Corporate World”

  1. Another really good (and short!) book in the same vein is Workers of the World Relax, by Conrad Schmidt. I really enjoyed it.

  2. How could you possibly change a corporation not being a separate entity in law? It would affect everything in capitalism from starting businesses, the liability of employees and shareholders, the tax burden businesses pay, holding companies liable under law, meaning they can enter contracts and be sued. Seems like a pretty bad idea to me, I don’t see how business or our economy could operate without it.

  3. Ultimately it’ll require a mentality shift from our current state of pillaging the earth for our own gain to one of co-existence and harmony with nature. Unfortunately, like all societal changes on a macro scale, this will not occur until something drastic occurs that forces us to follow this new way of behaving on our world… the most likely culprit being severe environmental collapse that directly affects us in a terrible way.

    I try to look at my own consumption, energy, consumer products, etc, and multiply that by 6 billion human beings to get a feeling for how destructive my contribution to the environment is. Sadly, even with my attempts at living an environmentally friendly lifestyle would still result in severe ecological damage if 6 billion humans all consumed the same amount. With 80% of the world racing like mad right now to catch up with our western world, we are soon going to find out just how destructive our habits are.

  4. Elaine,

    I haven’t read that one. I’ll have to look it up.

    Jordan,

    I would suggest reading the book as the author does a much better job describing the problem than I could. Basically a corporation would still have a legal standing, just modified to avoid certain conflicts or abuses that currently happen. I agree you can’t remove corporations as a whole without a major overhaul of the system.

    Sarlock,

    Nice summary of the issue. I don’t agree that it requires something drastic (yet this is a likely outcome). I think people need to be given more of what they really need to promote change.

    We’ve been selling changes the wrong way. We tell people you shouldn’t be doing that (which to most adults just pisses them off). We should be selling it all as: do you want to work less , lose weight and increase your average happiness by 50%? Well that stop working yourself to an early death and simplify your life. Use less and stop buying crap, then you need less money to live and you can take a more satisfying job and finally have time to lose that five pounds you’ve been meaning to. Not to mention you will feel great and enjoy less stress.

    Sales is about helping people see a need and what they can do to fill that need. We may be rich in stuff in North America, yet at the same time we are some of the poorest people I’ve seen. We don’t get what we really need from each other (love, support, caring).

    Ok, I’m done ranting.

    Tim

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