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Lift Review: The Great Turning

lift book review grtturning

THE GREAT TURNING: From Empire to Earth Community David C. Korten

If you're interested in finding out how things have gone wrong for the world, after it started out so well, and how we can lead the change to a better world, read this book.


Korten starts by describing the basic choices in attitudes and beliefs available now in these challenging times; describes the origins of societies, some community based, but most changing over time to empire-style monarchies or bureaucracies or transnational institutions, or plutocracy (America is now a plutocratic Empire - just look at the election process); he details the problems for the majority of the world's population in this mode of control by violence, and shows how the controls have been strengthened in modern society in ways which attacked efforts to bring justice to all people, rather than power and wealth to the elite few.


He wrote this book in 2005, before major signs of popular revolt against Empire, both in the Middle East, and in the USA with the Occupy Movement. They bear out his theories exactly, and they're not over yet. He describes "how self-organising processes of citizen action, based on grassroots leadership, can advance an agenda of cultural, economic and political democratization that roots power in people and liberates the creative potential of the species." Family and community values, and concern for children, are the basis for development.
This is one of the most readable, detailed, convincing and inspiring books I've read.
Sure, Korten is American and does expand on American history and developments, but all the way through I kept thinking: "Is it the same here in New Zealand?" or "Oh! This is the same here!" or "How come those in power haven't eliminated this man for telling the truth about them?"
After working in business, academic, and international development institutions, he now works exclusively with public interest citizen action groups. He is a member of the Club of Rome, and founded the magazine "YES! A journal of Positive Futures" . Google that and look at some issues and actions.

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LIFT's Reviews & Summaries

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 Wanting to read one of our great books but just don't have time?

Just ask Juliet for a summary, she has several available by email including:
  • "Blessed Unrest", by Paul Hawken
  • "Fleeing Vesuvius", by FEASTA and LE
  • "No More Throwaway People", by Edgar S. Cahn
  • "Sacred Economics", by Charles Eisenstein
  • "The End of Money and the Future of Civilization", by Thomas H. Greco
  • "The Future of Money", by Bernard Lietaer
  • "We the People", by John Buck and Sharon Villines