The Joe Blow Report 2

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Black Hope Only a Storehouse of Phantom Expectations

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yes_magazineBack when I first entered the business world, nearly 45 years ago Joe Blow was full of “white” hope and a storehouse of expectations. My father, a “Gypo” logger in those days, bought property, built a modern home, raised his family, had a good reputation within the community, and was moderately properous. When he offered me the opportunity to become his equal partner I jumped at the chance. Some of my goals for the business were to make family and social (community and enviornment) interests as a priority objective. Financially, the goal was to operate from a sound base, never needing to operate or make payments or living from one paycheck to the next. It was obvious to me that the old ways were failing and a fundamentally new approach was required if we were to survive long term. My Father, however, had bought into this idea of “phantom money” as sound wealth. The rest of the story, of course, is history. 50 or more years of dark age thinking based upon the deceptive lies of medieval beliefs has taken America and the World to the point of no return.

Mr. Korton, however, still seems to think that there is a chance for America. Even though he plainly says its very “clear that we have a failed economic system”. Hand in hand with that reality also proven during the past 50 years is that we also have a failed political system. Both systems are an illusion. Hope in hope. Faith in faith. Belief in hope. Belief in faith. Belief in opinion. All are as illusory as smoke. They are the object of themselves, without substance or any basis. Nothing more than superstitious beliefs in the Hoper. It’s obvious Mr. Obama, even at this early stage, do not have the pedigree necessary to fix the failed systems even if he wanted to do so.

Real hope is defined by men like Mr. David Korten. Read what he has to say and why then compare that to Mr. Barack Obama, what he said and what he is currently doing and you just might come to understand the difference.

We encourage you to consider what David Korten offers as a better way, a way we could start or improve on right here in Humboldt County.

David Korten, co-founder of Positive Futures Network and publisher of the magazine YES!. He is also a former professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business and the author of several books, including When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. His newest book is just out, called Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth. In it, David Korten argues the nation faces a monumental economic challenge that goes far beyond anything being discussed in Congress. He writes that now is an opportune moment to move forward an agenda to replace the failed money-serving institutions of our present economy with the institutions of a new economy dedicated to serving life.

Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth

DAVID KORTEN: Well, it really starts with being clear that we have a failed economic system. And we’ve seen very dramatically the consequences of the financial failure. But what we’re not talking about is the connection to the environmental failure, the destruction of earth’s living systems, and the social failure of an economic system that by its very design, particularly as manifest on Wall Street, is designed to increase inequality. You know, having worked in international development for many years, I’m very familiar with the argument that the way to deal with poverty is, through economic growth, to bring up the bottom. But, of course, what we see—and we’ve seen this for decades—is that, in fact, economic growth tends to raise the top and depress the bottom.

Now, part of it’s coming to terms with the fact that we live on a finite planet. We’ve got finite resources. And the question is, what are our economic priorities? How do we allocate those resources? And it requires a fundamentally different approach to the economy: evaluating economic performance by the things that we really want, in terms of human and natural well-being, rather than a system that is purely designed to increase financial returns to the already very wealthy.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Your book’s subtitle, From a Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth—what is phantom wealth?

DAVID KORTEN: Yeah. This is part of understanding the current Wall Street system, which is built around an illusion, the illusion that money is wealth, which then translates into the idea that people who are creating—or who are making money are in fact creating wealth. And what Wall Street has become extremely expert at is creating money out of nothing through financial bubbles, through pyramiding lending to create fictitious assets that become collateral for more bank lending, and then combining that with the predatory aspects of usurious lending and deceptive lending and the use of credit cards as a substitute for a living wage—all the games that Wall Street is playing. And it’s actually based on a philosophy that says we don’t need to produce anything as a country, if we can—you know, if we can do all this financial innovation that allows us to create financial assets without producing anything of real value. I mean, it’s absolutely insane. And yet, it is the—it’s been the foundation of our economic policy in this country for decades now.

AMY GOODMAN: You have spent your life focusing on issues of sustainability. You talk about excess consumption. What is the model that you could see right now? What is the model that we have right now? And what is the one you want to see built?

DAVID KORTEN: Yeah, well, the amazing thing is that 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. So you have to have two or more people in the household working more than one job each just to keep the household together, which means the children are without caretakers and so forth.

You begin to put this all together, you say, well, if we began to really organize our economic activities around the things that really matter, we’d be looking at things—well, how do we organize our economy so that it actually builds human relationships, so it supports families, so it creates an environment in which our children can grow up both physically and psychologically healthy? And we begin to say, well, first of all, it would be a good idea to end war. And, of course, most of our wars are about competition for resources to maintain our wasteful lifestyle. So let’s really get serious about world peace. Then we’ve got to start reducing our dependence on automobiles and recognize that rather than reemploying autoworkers in making automobiles, we should be employing them in building bicycles, building public transportation and so forth, all the things we need. Instead of investing massively in advertising, you know, redirect those creative communications resources to education. You begin to see, in almost every aspect of our economy, the opportunity to redirect resources in ways that actually increase our well-being—they’re not about sacrifice, ultimately—and bringing ourselves into balance with one another and with earth.

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