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By Kartika Chendorain Tulusan
The Battle of Seattle was a sign of a change and the rise of civil society. It lead to increased power for NGO’s, labor unions, non-profits and co-ops that address social, environmental and economic issues. Together with governments and corporations, the civil sphere should have created a balance.
Despite all efforts of the civil sphere, we still face complex issues such as poverty, pollution and over- consumption fueling terrorism, climate change and more importantly a global environmental crisis due to the exploitation of natural resources.
Today, new types of businesses that focus on sustainability and social innovations are on the rise as well as new legal structures such as B-Corp and hybrid models that blend corporate agility with the triple bottom line. These structures give the framework to account not only for monetary profits but also social benefits.
However corporations today have become more callous than ever, considering recent events such as Enron 2002, the Financial Crises 2009, and General Electric’s 2011 tax avoidance, the latter being a leader in sustainability reporting with its “Ecomagination” group. Thus, we need to truly question ourselves and ask for the root cause of our economic failures.
David Korten addresses our current economic model failure and describes our capitalistic society the following: “An active propaganda machinery controlled by the world’s largest corporations constantly reassuring us that consumerism is the path to happiness, governmental restraint of market excess is the cause of our distress, and economic globalization is both a historical inevitability and a boon to the human species.”
In his latest book, “An Agenda for a New Economy”, Korten skillfully addresses the opportunities we face now to move towards a new economic system that is based on real wealth such as "health" or "love", an ecological system perspective and “living enterprises”.
“The structure of a living enterprise is nearly the mirror opposite of the structure of a publicly traded, limited liability, global corporation. It truly functions as a community of people making a living, not a pool of money seeking to reproduce itself. It is built on human relationships and maintains itself at a human-scale — preferably less than a hundred employees and rarely more than 500 — because to grow larger would be to loose its human quality”. (Living Economies)
Furthermore, he proposes 9 work-streams that will bridge the local living economies to global rules, replace GDP and inevitable reach a peace economy.
Kartika Chendorain Tulusan is a management consultant, and a MBA Student at Presidio School of Management.
Ms Tulusan aims to leverage her professional experience with her business education towards a career in sustainable management. Her interests are water, radical innovation, systems thinking and scenario planning.
She can be reached under firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on twitter @kartika