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The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community | [David C. Korten]

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community

David Korten argues that global corporate consolidation of power is but one manifestation of what he calls "Empire", the organization of society by hierarchies of dominance that have held sway for the past 5,000 years. Empire has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few. Now it threatens the very future of humanity. The Great Turning traces the ancient roots of Empire and charts its long evolution from monarchies to the transnational institutions of the global economy.
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Publisher's Summary

In his classic international best seller, When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten exposed the destructive and oppressive nature of the global corporate economy and helped spark a global resistance movement. Now, he shows that the problem runs deeper than corporate domination with far greater consequences.

Korten argues that global corporate consolidation of power is but one manifestation of what he calls "Empire", the organization of society by hierarchies of dominance that have held sway for the past 5,000 years. Empire has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few. Now it threatens the very future of humanity.

The Great Turning traces the ancient roots of Empire and charts its long evolution from monarchies to the transnational institutions of the global economy. Empire is not inevitable, not the natural order of things, Korten argues. He draws on evidence from sources as varied as evolutionary theory, developmental psychology, and religious teachings to make the case that "Earth Community", a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable way of ordering human society based on democratic principles of partnership, is indeed possible. He details a practical strategy for advancing a turning toward a future of as-yet-unrealized human potential.

©2006 People-Centered Development Forum; (P)2006 Polity Audio LLC

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  •  
    Rob UsquertNetherlands 10-21-07
    Rob UsquertNetherlands 10-21-07
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    "Wakeup call"

    ... at least that what this book was for me. While I can partially agree with other reviewers that Korten's attempt to (re-)tell the stories needed for the other view on the world which he calls Earth Community (as opposed to the prevailing view he calls Empire) feels a bit immature, it is very much appreciated and needed. While clearly inspired by spiritual movements, the author maintains a scientific and rational approach, another aspect of this book I admire greatly. This book was the most inspiring book I have read in many years, and I read a lot. There is already a lot going on in the world to work on something like a Great Turning (towards Earth Community) and this book deserves a serious place as an inspiration from one of our elders in this work.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hh pdx United States 09-16-07
    hh pdx United States 09-16-07 Listener Since 2003

    hh01

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    "ahead of its time?"

    Some writers are so far ahead of their time that they fail to get the recognition they deserve. I'm not sure that is the case here. I think Korten is perfectly synched with "time." It's everybody else who is so far behind the times that creates the mismatch. Korten is presenting "cooperation" as a life affirming essential in an age when dog eat dog is still the mantra. We have no trouble grasping the concept of cooperation when it's abstract, cartoonish and linked to a story long ago and far away (the classic childhood tale of two men with a pot of food and only long handled spoons), but in the here and now it all becomes Greek (the stock market goes up when employment goes down, schools that can't afford a good lit department invest heavily in a new football stadium, etc.) Sadly, I think things will have to get much worse before most readers truly open up to Korten's message. Let's just hope it isn't too late by then.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kryton2725 Fort Wayne, IN USA 10-26-11
    Kryton2725 Fort Wayne, IN USA 10-26-11 Member Since 2007

    Kryton

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    "I Can't Believe What I Heard!"

    This book had the potential to be a great AWAKENING... Unfortunately... and I've never said this before... the narrator was horrible... beyond bad... I could not listen to this book... even though I wanted desperately to hear the information within... I believe in the great turning... I believe in the cycle of life and the evolutionary growth of human consciousnesses... and that one day their will be a falling away from greed... and the lust for power and control... That said... THE NARRATOR RUINED THIS AUDIO BOOK!... END OF STORY... BUY THE BOOK INSTEAD!...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Hawley PORTLAND, OR USA 02-22-08
    A. Hawley PORTLAND, OR USA 02-22-08
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    "Some fascinating ideas"

    If I'd read user reviews prior to buying this audiobook, I wouldn't have bought it, and would have missed some very thought-provoking ideas, particularly in Korten's take on American history. He casts the whole founding of the United States in the light of his central thesis, that empire is inimical to humanity. He lays out some very good arguments against starry-eyed patriotism about Liberty and Justice For All when considering the foundations of the nation. Fascinating and perspective-altering.

    I'd be remiss, however, if I didn't warn other audiobook listeners (of any political persuasion) that this is a very poorly narrated piece with mediocre production value at best. The reader, I'm sorry to say, sounds like a 2nd-grade teacher didactically o-ver-pro-nouncing every word--and with a slight lisp, no less, and as a result, this book was very difficult for me to listen to.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Denton, TX, USA 09-14-07
    Michelle Denton, TX, USA 09-14-07
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    "unlistenable"

    The narrator does a horrible job. The book may be good but the audiobook is unlistenable. unimpressive at best.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Sassafras, Australia 02-04-13
    Peter Sassafras, Australia 02-04-13
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    "Extremely insightful and enlightening"
    Where does The Great Turning rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best in the genre of analysiing and bringing to the fore the historic, social, psychological and many other root causes for the mess we are in and provides very much spot on recommendations on how to fix the mess we are in.
    This book is highly recommended to anyone trying to understand and see the light at the end of the tunnel of where we should head. But also should be compulsory reading for all economcis and law students (often part of the elite), an all in political and economic power (they will likely hate it).


    What does Sandra Swafford bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I just live Audio books


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    From 5000 years of domination by empire to real communities and democracy


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luc calgary, Alberta, Canada 03-25-09
    Luc calgary, Alberta, Canada 03-25-09
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    "Hit the nail on the head"

    Albeit a bit wordy and a tad longer than it needed to be, this audiobook sums up many of the earth changes already in progress.

    Imperials will yell 'not true' but for those of us at the right level of consciousness this books gives great evidence and diction to the change we need to be in the world, or else.

    Much recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan FarnboroughUnited Kingdom 11-19-06
    Susan FarnboroughUnited Kingdom 11-19-06
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    "Food for thought"

    This is my first David Korten book and I was drawn to it by the “Empire” element. I love history and I have always been rather irritated by the mainstream opinion that my country had no “culture” prior to the Roman invasion. Many things that were previously accepted as fact have proven to be false when examined impartially. History has always been written by the ‘winners’ and that, for me, makes it suspect.

    Mr Korten draws on the past and very skilfully makes comparisons to the present. One cannot say this book is enjoyable - its relation to present day problems is too close for enjoyment. It does, however, show the carousel humanity has been riding on and makes a good case for getting off it, when it is still possible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 12-01-06
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 12-01-06 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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    "Enlightening for me but Quite Weak overall..."

    This book was enlightening to me. By the end it became clear that the movement the book describes is not really a political, philosophical, or economics movement, but instead is a religious movement. Most of the book is a recapitulation of history to support the idea that the pre-historic peoples, with spiritual consciousnesses, were infected by the virus of the empire-consciousness. Basically anyone who disagrees are to be dismissed (and pitied) as being stuck in the low-level consciousness of empire – while the author has attained the much higher spiritual consciousness. Of course, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have all been infected by the empire virus – so the spiritualism discussed is kind of mother goddess, kind of pantheism focused. The author admits that the actual facts of history are really unimportant, what is important is to create stories that communicate what the spiritually conscious have learned. Although I agree with many of the goals of the author, I did not find the historical retelling compelling, and I have to agree with the author that the stories for earth community need some work.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Cannon Detroit, MI 12-15-06
    Ryan Cannon Detroit, MI 12-15-06 Member Since 2005

    http://ryancannon.com

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    "Uninteresting for left or right"

    After many years of reading audiobooks, this is one of the few that I could get two-thirds of the way through and still be unable to finish. Lefties will find this book to have a far-end, tree-hugging flavor, while righties will see little or no attempt to meet halfway or uncourage a shift in perspective. The author assumes the audience already agrees, and is unconvincing to anyone the least bit skeptical.

    The author (male) mainly writes in the first-person, which becomes confusing when the reader (female) talks about his wife and other personal facts. The author also seems to believe that, like him, everyone in America's children attend schools abroad and begin globetrotting before twenty.

    Some good ideas, but the obtuse lack of insight into what the real world is actually like makes this book a slow, unfulfilling listen.

    1 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Vaughan
    Yelverton, DEV, United Kingdom
    4/6/07
    Overall
    "Very Very interesting"

    If you are a curious type, and ever have wondered about the nature of huge multinational corps, how they came to be, and wondered about their reason for existence, and their relationship with the state...this is a book for you, the sheer scope of this book is amazing, Korten draws analogies from ancient 'empire' based societies from Greece, Persia, Rome...and shows that human motivations and actions have changed little over 5000 years, although initially a depressing view of the human condition, Korton suggests (persuasively in my opinion) that humans now have the ability and the information, to change human society, from the empire based, money driven, consumerist environmentally damaging lifestyle, to a more sustainable future of 'earth community'...surely we all know something will have to give ??
    There is a huge amount of solid historical information in this book, from the formation of the Roman Empire, to the declaration of independance of the USA,...even if you reject some of Kortens analyasis, the story of human history contained is brilliant
    Well read and very very well written, its not an easy an easy ride but I shall listen to it at least twice....excellent, I only wish that I could get his previous book 'when corporations rule the world' in audio format.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Kevin
    OMAGH, United Kingdom
    11/24/12
    Overall
    "The great (trouble) turning (the page)"

    The sentimental, open-university, sandal wearing, beard sporting, vegan living, side-burn touting, cauliflower cheese chomping brigade will probably be delighted at the style of this book, but I found it nauseating. It's the first audiobook I haven't got to the end of - I just couldn't take any more.



    The chapter on how they screwed up the earth summit with their voluminous language and sanctified inclusivity, just sums up the whole book for me, and the reason why the ideal has failed to engage the public properly. The author may have a point, but he needs to spend some time with normal people and then write about it again.



    Brothers and collegiate sisters of the mother earth, I suggest you look elsewhere. Something about the Venus Project, which is more in the realms of practicality, should suffice.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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