What we’re doing fits within the framework of “whole systems development.” It is made possible by the new levels of human coordination and communication in the digital age — what some people have called the emergence of “the global brain” — and by the possibility of pragmatic and sustainable solutions to human problems.
We are, in our own way, an expression of the most significant event so far in the course of human history, where we graduate to a new level of integrity, responsibility, and interrelationship with ourselves, with other species, and with the universe as a whole. If we’re aware of it, if it’s happening here, it’s likely also happening in many other places and contexts on the Earth. But it’s significant either way: whether we’re leading or joining the parade does not matter as much as the fact of our participation and our stand.
We have a number of ideas that we want to contribute to society, and we want that contribution to be recognized and rewarded in a way that’s proportionate to the value that’s created, so we’ve come up with the idea of a Contribution Economy. This economy would be fueled by an alternative global currency, Commons Credits (CC), awarded according to rules established and continuously updated by a collaborative of the best minds of our era.
Unless people of good will join in common cause to build a truly democratic world that works for all, we will find ourselves living in a world that works for no one. —David Korten (2000)
There is a sense in which we already find ourselves living in “a world that works for no one”: not the rich, and certainly not the poor; not the believer or the agnostic, not the Ph.D. or the high school drop-out, not the pop celebrity or the homeless veteran still suffering from PTSD. It’s not just that the rich are as depressed, confused, and cynical as the rest of us, which is certainly true in many cases; or that the world we live in seems to be unravelling in a dozen different ways, which has certainly been the case during all of our lifetimes. It’s that the world cannot work for anyone unless it at least begins to work for everyone.
“A World that Works” is the central project of our time — and will indeed be that of any foreseeable future. Science has brought us enormous realms of understanding, but none more important than an awareness of our actual impact on the planet and its unsustainability. We may regard this as fact: our Earth, which is at this point our only habitat, is in the process of becoming increasingly inhospitable to life. Climate change, mass extinction, ocean acidification and the loss of biodiversity are each capable of becoming massive and in some cases overwhelming disruptors, each capable of passing a point of no return.
The people of the world know enough, now, about how the world could work for everyone, with no one and nothing left out. We just need to: