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The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community [Paperback]

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Pages   402
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.34" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2003
Publisher   Berrett-Koehler Publishers
ISBN  1887208089  
EAN  9781887208086  

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Item Description...
*Sweeping survey of world history offering a new understanding of the key challenge of our time
*Offers a positive message of hope for a sustainable and just future and a practical strategy for getting there
In The Great Turning, David Korten argues that ""Empire,"" the organization of society through hierarchy and violence has always resulted in misery for the many and fortune for the few, but now it threatens the very future of humanity as Empire has become unsustainable and destructive.
Korten traces the roots of Empire and charts the evolution of its instruments of control, from absolute monarchies to the multinational institutions of the global economy. He describes efforts to develop democratic alternatives to Empire, such as the founding of the United States and shows how elitists with an imperial agenda have undermined the ""American experiment.""
Empire is not inevitable, and we can turn away from it. Korten draws on evidence from evolutionary theory, developmental psychology, and religious teachings to show that a life-centered, egalitarian, sustainable, democratic ""Earth Community"" is possible.

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More About David C. Korten

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David Korten is president and founder of the People-Centered Development Forum, and serves as a board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). He is an associate of the International Forum on Globalization and a member of the Club of Rome. David has authored numerous books, including the bestselling titles "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community," "When Corporations Rule the World," and "The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism." His newest title, Agenda for a New Economy (Second Edition) is a 2011 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medalist. He is a regular guest on talk radio and television and a popular speaker at conferences around the world.

David C. Korten currently resides in Bainbridge Island, in the state of Washington.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Into the mess, out of the mess  Sep 11, 2008
The planet's in trouble. That means we're in trouble. Korten gives us a history lesson, then describes our current context and ends by pointing toward a sustainable future. Rape of the environment and practicing highly distorted forms of capitalism and globilization must end.

The author's scenarios are accurate and his conclusions sound. Some reviewers have been disappointed that The Great Turning is short on solutions. I think that a critical first step is to wake up. Korten succeeds in helping us do that (or we've been awake but thought we were alone). For what it does accomplish, I feel compelled to give The Great Turning five stars.
--Jack H. Bender, author of Disregarded: Transforming the School and Workplace through Deep Respect and Courage
essential reading for our time  May 8, 2008
This is the essential read of our time. David Korten lays out the backgroud and the gameplan in full detail. If you want to have the perspective to understand just what has been going with our society just sit down and digest this book. This work certainly represents the culmination of David Korten's research and deep thinking on just how we got ourselves in to such a mess and how to solve the problems facing us.

It's not an easy read, but it is an essential read if you want to be part of the resolution. If you can initiate just a few of his suggestions, we will be on our way.

J. Marshall Gilmore
Winter Park, FL, USA
Turning the Great Ship of Human Civilization   Mar 17, 2008
This is an important book, one that I wish everyone could read. It is a well written synthesis not just of what is wrong with our civilization but what is hopeful and what could be changed. So many books are given over to a pessimistic litany of what we have done wrong that I find many people don't care to pick up a book like this out of frustration and hopelessness.

This book is the exact panacea to that condition. Korten is a true "elder" with a very impressive resume including professor at Harvard, military service, work in the private sector and heading NGO and aid organizations through out the world. He has a unique perspective in analyzing our history, culture and present predicament and showing what is wrong and revealing how it could be corrected.

I did feel that at times he oversimplified his criticism of all large corporations as bad and all small local business, organization and government as good when evidence and experience often shows the opposite.
I often think of times when there is a strong national concensus to protect resources over a local source of opposition.

Despite the slight flaws in his grand picture the overall impression is clear, thought provoking, novel, and important to consider. This is an inspiring book and should be widely read. Hopefully this will help to turn the ship.
fantasizing  Jan 30, 2008
The Great Turning is a horribly naive account of what steps are necessary in order to save the planet. Based on fairly arbitrary essentializing and an unfortunate dose of anthropocentrism, he does a fair job criticizing our current predicament but his goals are largely absurd. He talks of those in power being psychopaths, and yet believes that people could just walk away from that system to create some imaginary utopian society he has detailed down to his preferences. He doesn't account for details such as that the planet can't maintain the developed and technologized society he wants, and ignores the role of technology in breaking down the community values he wants. Nor can the planet maintain 6.5 billion people as he seems to think it should, as we far past our carrying capacity of (optimistically) 1 billion. The Green Revolution, built on chemicals derived from natural gas and petroleum, make up most of the difference, and those are being quickly depleted.

Do yourself a favor and read Derrick Jensen's Endgame instead.
Good Description of What We Need; Not Clear on How to Get It  Dec 25, 2007
"The Great Turning" by David Korten provides a well-organized and articulate description of what is wrong with our present, domination-based political and economic system, along with an envisionment of a proposed, alternative world in which things will be organized in a more cooperative and sustainable manner. In so doing, it makes an immense contribution to the vocabulary and literature describing not only our present conundrum, but also the new civilization that we might hope to create in answer to the present one's discontents. Since there are few, if any, authors who have even attempted such an ambitious project, this book is certain to occupy a central place in future discussions regarding the present crisis.

The book's descriptions of what is wrong with the present system of domination are insightful, and its descriptions of the more cooperative world to which we might aspire are visionary. Korten articulates the world view of what he calls "Empire" vs. that of "Earth Community" as first-person narrative "creeds" for each, an approach that has great clarifying power. Illustrating these distillations is an overview of the historical interaction of Empire with Earth Community, showing the recurring features of each through the ages. This reads almost like Howard Zinn's classic "People's History of the United States," only expanded beyond the U.S. to fill the world stage. Note that this is not a comprehensive history of human civilization; it is a view focused specifically upon the two conflicting tendencies that define our present-day life-or-death crisis. There are many other perspectives possible: the development of technology, the evolving view of nature, the vision and role of art, the biological evolution of the species, and so on. Korten chooses his particular focus in order to frame and explain the monumental decision facing us in the present historical moment.

My main concern regarding this book has to do with its cursory, almost dismissive, treatment of the topic of coercive manipulation of movements by control systems. To all of the complex issues raised by this topic, it has but one response: non-violence. The non-violent approach is described in the book's section on strategy as follows:

"Metaphorically, the strategy might be thought of as a process of 'walking away from the king,' because it centers not on confronting the authority of the king, but on walking away--withdrawing the legitimacy and the life energy on which the king's power depends. Think of it as a conversation with the king along the following lines:

"'You have your game. It's called Empire. It may work for you, but it doesn't work for me. So I'm leaving to join with a few million others for whom the game of Empire isn't working either. We are creating a new game with new rules based on the values and principles of Earth Community. You are welcome to join us as a fellow citizen if you are willing to share your power and wealth and to play by the new rules.'"

Korton states clearly that Earth Community movements "must always adhere to the principles of non-violence...even in the face of violent police and military repression." His arguments for this are that it "underscores Earth Community's moral authority, draws attention to the illegitimacy of Empire, and breaks the cycle of violence." Unfortunately, none of these arguments proves that non-violence will actually work, in all cases, as a strategy for dealing with the coercive tactics used by control hierarchies to suppress Earth Community movements that threaten those systems.

This is no small matter. Non-violence is the only approach the book allows for dealing with the vast arsenal of collective and individual shock tactics at the disposal of Empire, from war to torture to economic disruption. If Korten's movements cannot overcome such coercion, then they cannot succeed. And yet, even though the success or failure of the book's proposed movements hangs upon that question of efficacy, there is no discussion or example of how a non-violent approach could deal with even a single instance of coercion.

It's not that non-violent strategy has no way of dealing with coercion; it does. It deals with it by developing such a strong collective identity that threats and rewards leveled by the control system at individual members have no significant effect on their determination to support the broader movement, even if those members are threatened with death. Because its individual members are committed enough to persevere despite such threatened consequences, the broader movement can continue to withhold its cooperation from the control system, without anyone getting scared off or bought off. Korten is no doubt describing such non-cooperation when he refers to "withdrawing the legitimacy and the life energy on which the king's power depends." The control system, being parasitic, will then, if it is rational, have to yield to the demands of the movement, because it cannot destroy the entire diverse and cooperative community upon which it depends without destroying itself.

I see three problems, however.

1) Not all control systems are rational, and not all control systems have an actual dependency upon the oppressed population.

An irrational or self-destructive system may not acknowledge its own dependence upon the underlying cooperative and diverse society that it exploits, and may therefore have fewer or no limits upon the destruction that it is willing to wreak upon that society in order to control it. Such systems will actively pursue the suicidal path of destroying the cooperative host organism upon which they depend in an attempt to control it, even in the face of a disciplined nonviolent refusal to cooperate. An irrational or self-destructive system may not acknowledge its own dependence upon the underlying cooperative and diverse society that it exploits, and may therefore have fewer or no limits upon the destruction that it is willing to wreak upon that society in order to control it. Such systems will actively pursue the suicidal path of destroying the cooperative host organism upon which they depend in an attempt to control it, even in the face of a disciplined nonviolent refusal to cooperate.
In this situation, nonviolent movements for justice seem likely to lead to the equality of the grave. As author Naomi Klein has noted in a recent interview, belief in "The Rapture," in which all of the world is destroyed except for a chosen few, is the terminal psychological manifestation of such an elitism unto death. The prevalence of that belief among members of the Bush Administration and its supporters indicates that we may presently be encountering exactly that kind of implacable irrationality.

In other cases, the control system may actually not be critically dependent upon the population under attack. For example, the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex treats poor communities of color as "surplus" people suited only for filling up jails that it runs for a profit. In this situation, non-cooperation on the part of the oppressed has no effect on the oppressor, because the latter does not need the former to do anything other than sit in a cell, a requirement that can be directly and physically enforced, regardless of whether the victim "cooperates."

The successful non-violent movements of Gandhi and King were dealing with control systems which, while brutal, were not irrational or suicidal, and the control systems that they confronted were not able to destroy them with impunity.

2) There are approaches other than non-violence that have worked in some situations, and which have arguably fewer negative consequences than those that would be suffered using a non-violent approach. Korten seems to be rejecting these out of hand.

The book cites only two examples of successful non-violent movements, that of Gandhi and that of Martin Luther King. By contrast, there are quite a number of examples of movements that have moved us closer to Earth Community that were not grounded in non-violent principles. In Korten's own account of the U.S. Revolution, for example, he describes the military resistance of the colonists to British rule in laudatory terms, even though what the colonists did was the exact opposite of "walking away from the king." He sums up the U.S. revolutionary struggle as follows: "In the end, General Washington and his army expelled the British with the help of France, Spain and the Netherlands. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783. A rebellious people inspired by a vision of liberty gave birth to a new nation. It was a remarkable contribution to humanity's long journey beyond monarchy and theocracy, but it was only a beginning on the road to real democracy."

Why is violent resistance treated so positively for the U.S. revolution, but ruled out for present movements? It would be interesting to hear Korten's vision of how a non-violent colonial movement might have accomplished these same, or better, results. But the book does not analyze how and why repression works or does not work, the weaknesses that it plays upon, and what kinds of movements, non-violent or otherwise, have been successful in defeating it. Instead, it relies upon a mere reference to non-violent theory, leaving the proof of that theory to unspecified others who have already written on that topic. There is not even a reference to a specific work on how various forms of coercion can be overcome by non-violent methods.

Perhaps the absence of such an analysis is why the book does not list any contemporary examples of repression to match the kinds of historical examples (slavery, violent strikebreaking, etc.) to be found throughout the book. For instance, we do not find analysis of the struggle against the mass warehousing of men of color in an ever-expanding prison industrial complex, the environmental justice movement's struggle against toxic pollution that is concentrated in poor communities of color, movements opposing the repression of immigrants, indigenous peasant movements such as the Zapatistas, or other militant movements fighting oppression against great odds. What we do find is "creative social entrepreneurs" from the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies "linking local independent businesses, nonprofit organizations, and local governments in mature, locally rooted, life-serving economies with the potential to displace the rootless, opportunistic, money-driven, and ultimately suicidal corporate global economy."

Forming local economic networks is both admirable and essential, but the corporate control hierarchy is not going to simply "wither away" in the face of such multiple positive initiatives. And entire sections of the population are under attack right now. If non-violence is the answer, then we need an analysis of why and how it can work in the face of coercive manipulation by the opposing control systems, because those systems will not sit idly by while the ground is taken out from under them.

3) Korten has not discussed how a non-violent movement with the required collective consciousness and willingness to sacrifice is to be built.

When one considers the kinds of brutality that even rational control systems may impose, developing a non-violent movement's tolerance for punishment becomes a very serious matter.

Many of the manipulative methods employed by control hierarchies are specifically intended to stop individuals and movements from ever getting to the state where they assume the kind of collective identity and discipline that are required to carry out non-cooperation in the face of rewards and punishments intended to divert them from that purpose. Therefore, a reference to non-violence as a response to such methods raises the question of how we can create a movement with the sense of collective identity that is required to be able to remain cohesive in the face of such attacks on its members.

If non-violence is to be used, then it is necessary to analyze exactly what is required to make a movement willing and able to sustain the kinds of injuries that are bound to be inflicted in the course of taking a nonviolent approach against a violent adversary. Such injuries were a prominent part of both Gandhi's and King's one-sided nonviolence in their encounters with oppressive control systems.

This last point raises the issue of how the sense of identity of a movement's members is related to its willingness to sustain injury on behalf of a collective interest. Korten describes the present hold of Empire over our society as a "cultural trance," but does not describe the ways in which certain states of mind allow a control system's specific threats and rewards to cause people to sacrifice their true collective interest on behalf of the institutions of Empire, while other states of mind have the opposite effect.

The book elaborates a kind of Maslovian hierarchy of individual identity, but it does not describe the ways, or reasons, that some kinds of identity are susceptible to coercive manipulation, while others are more able to stand up to it. Specifically, the book describes five levels of consciousness: Magical, Imperial, Socialized, Cultural and Spiritual, with Magical consciousness involving propitiation of authority figures (the state of a person serving as a manipulated cog within a control system), Imperial consciousness being the thought process of those performing such manipulation, Socialized consciousness being a state that acknowledges dependency upon (and hence the need to adapt to) a larger group of which one is a member, Cultural consciousness being a state that values and tolerates other cultures for the sake of the diversity that they contribute rather than merely for the direct contributions that they make to one's personal well-being, and Spiritual consciousness being an overall awareness of diversity and cooperation interacting as the essential process creating all Being.

While these are helpful and meaningful distinctions, they are also descriptions of states of mind, of perspectives, rather than of active engagements in responding to and creating one's reality. Furthermore, they are the states of mind of *individuals*, not of *movements*, and so they lack an explicit collective aspect. That is, they reflect what an individual may personally value, which can include valuing collective entities, but they do not reflect the interactions of those individuals (e.g., as citizens) with their communities, nations, and so on.

How these states of mind are generated and maintained, how they interact with one another, and specifically, how the Imperial mindset is able to manipulate and maintain the Magical mindset, and how Spiritual consciousness might confer some immunity to such manipulation, are not explored in the book. For example, to me it appears that the Magical mindset could be manipulated by applying a credible mortal threat, because its egocentric perspective cannot model (imagine) the world without itself in it, and so a mortal threat undermines that model to such an extent that it cannot function, exposing the individual to the uninterpreted sensory inputs that characterize an infantile state (i.e., a state of terror), which is an immensely vulnerable condition. By contrast, the Spiritual mindset sees the individual as a finite element of a larger universe that will continue on without the individual once she or he is gone. Hence, the presence of a mortal threat does not undermine that mental model, and consequently a spiritually-oriented individual can function much more effectively in the face of a credible threat to its life.

Maslow, in his own hierarchy of mental states, emphasized that progress "upward" through his various states is heavily dependent upon the degree to which the material needs of a person are met, but Korten does not explore or discuss such a relationship between satisfying basic material needs and the ability of people to advance through the hierarchy described in his book. Since economic need is one of the main ways that people are manipulated by control systems, exploring that relationship (of ideology to material sufficiency) is essential to those aspects of strategy that attempt to insulate against such manipulation. This might lead to an approach involving networks of mutual support to ensure that the minimal material needs of all persons involved in a broad-based movement are met out of the movement's collective resources. A simple example of such an approach is the strike fund of a union. These are the kinds of strategic issues that need to be elaborated. Just to refer to non-violence by name does not explicate this content.

Philosophically, Korten's hierarchy of mental states implies an ethical metric in which spiritual motivation is preferable to the self-centered motivations of greed and fear. Starting from the co-related Magical and Imperial levels, which are narrowly focused upon the individual as such, the scope of identity moves outward to the increasingly more inclusive levels of one's own society (Socialized consciousness), other societies with which one's own society (but not necessarily one's self as an individual) has a relationship (Cultural consciousness), to the Spiritual level that encompasses the entirety of Existence.

The more narrowly-focused states are characterized by a lack of integrity that makes them more susceptible to manipulation by an external power (in the case of Magical consciousness), or to unilateral projections of their own power (in the case of Imperial consciousness) to capture needed resources (which undermine self-sufficiency) . The integrity of the person grows as more inclusive levels are reached until, at the Spiritual level, one has identified with the perfect integrity of Existence as a whole, an integrity which cannot be violated because there is nothing outside of Existence as a whole that might violate it, and no way that this singular Existence can be divided into anything other than itself. Ultimately, there is a relationship between such integrity within a community and the ability of an individual member of that community to resist manipulation (i.e., because it cares more about its larger context than about its self as such).

Another issue I have with the book is its preference for illustrative examples and stories at the expense of deeper analytical arguments. The stories are helpful, and are very well developed, but that does not mean that we should let them stand in place of a deeper analysis.

For example, Korten's hierachy of mental states implies an ethical metric valuing Spiritual consciousness more highly than, say, Magical or Imperial consciousness. However, the book does not make an explicit argument regarding *why* one such state is preferable to another. Similarly, it uses parables ("stories"), credos and envisionments to describe the present system and its alternatives, and strongly implies that its envisioned alternative of "Earth Community" is preferable to the present system of "Empire," but once again does not say exactly why this is so. While the desirability of what Korten calls Spiritual consciousness over what he calls Magical consciousness may seem obvious to many readers, we live in an age of moral relativism in which one view is as good as any other, and viewpoints can be changed like clothing to suit one's present needs and circumstances. Having a more fundamental ethical synopsis would help, because if we can answer the question of why certain outcomes are preferable, then we may be able to find the key to motivating people to pursue those outcomes. Stories, by contrast, illustrate "what" states are desired more than they describe "why" they are preferable, or "how" to accomplish them. This allows us to recognize the promised land when we see it, but does not provide a map of how we can travel there, or an argument regarding why it is better. Also, without such a metric, how can we know that we are making progress rather than regressing? Finally, once we are able to define the moral high ground, we may discover that it has pragmatic advantages that we can most effectively access when we have a specific abstract model of what that high ground is.

Korten has done a great job of deconstructing the stories of "Empire," and he seems to think that "Earth Community" advocates now need their own stories (which he has provided) to counterpose to those of the Right. But maybe the reason that the advocates of "Empire" resort to stories is because they have no underlying truths that would be acceptable if stated explicitly. By contrast, Earth Community's underlying truths should be resonant with the majority of people, and hence need not be presented solely as parables.

If I were to try my own hand at crafting such an ethical abstraction, I might describe Earth Community's general principles directly as follows: "Increase diversity and cooperation at every level of the hierarchy of inclusivity (e.g., family, community, nation, international community, biosphere) in which we hold membership, and when conflicts arise between doing this on one level vs. another, favor the more inclusive level (e.g., international community over nation) within which one has both knowledge and influence." Since Being itself is equivalent to diversity (i.e., total homogeneity equals total non-being), to pursue diversity can be shown to be simply a choice of Being over Non-Being, and there are few justifications more fundamental than that. As for cooperation, that is how distinct, diverse, bounded things come about - by the cooperative principle that unites their parts. So, cooperation must be pursued as a corollary to the pursuit of diversity. By contrast, the parasitic Empire's mode of operation reduces diversity by concentrating power in the hands of a few, and replaces cooperation with regimentation. Hence, when reduced to their fundamentals, Empire represents non-being, Earth Community represents Being, and it is not consistent for a living, breathing being to choose non-being, Q.E.D.

Another area that is not elaborated in this book is the transition from economic hierarchy to local economic control and bottom-up diversity and cooperation. This area also overlaps with the issue of how coercion impacts movements for change, because intermediate (e.g., reformist) economic forms must be able to resist such manipulation if they are to survive to become elements of a more lasting and systemic change to our social and economic structure.

Korten does express the concept of locally-rooted communities, but it is more of an urban planning concept (e.g., to save energy) than a means for managing the economy. And he does talk about "economic democracy," but only in terms of local ownership of homes and of businesses, not in terms of a model for cooperative decisionmaking. He talks about a "vibrant community life grounded in mutual trust, shared values and a sense of connection," but says nothing about how such a community will localize its economic and political decisionmaking. He says that "All people have a meaningful and dignified vocation that contributes to the well-being of the larger community," but says nothing about how more rewarding and empowering work, and work that is less so, will be allocated by the community itself among its various members. He says that "Intellectual life and scientific inquiry" will be dedicated to "life-serving technologies that address society's priority needs," but says nothing about how those priorities are to be democratically (and locally) determined.

Korten seems to realize that something is amiss, because at the end of this litany of desired outcomes, he writes: "The first time through, this list may read like a radical utopian fantasy, but only because it constrasts so starkly with our present experience." Actually, what makes this list seem utopian is the lack of a concrete envisionment of, and plan for, how these various desirable outcomes could actually be realized.

In considering the above issues, it is useful to view Korten's work in the light of that of two other authors: Naomi Klein, with her recent breakthrough analysis of economic and psychological coercion, "The Shock Doctrine," and Michael Albert, with the model for decentralized, democratic and cooperative economic decisionmaking presented in his many writings on "Participatory Economics" (also called PARECON). The work of Klein and Albert, in particular, complements "The Great Turning" by going in depth exactly where "The Great Turning" is brief. We need visionaries, and we need realists, and (aside from Vandana Shiva) it seems nearly impossible find them both in the same body, so it is important to hone the views of visionaries like Korten by considering how their proposed movements would respond to the tactics revealed by eye-widening exposes of capitalism's dark side such as those of Klein, and to concrete economic planning models such as those created by Albert, as well as to the daily problems encountered by grass roots activists organizing real movements on the ground. One planned conference that aims to create that kind of synergy is the "Building a New World" international conference ( scheduled for this coming May.

In "The Shock Doctrine," Klein analyzes and explores the coercive methods employed by dominator hierarchies to enforce their top-down control. These could be used as starting points for an exploration of how the positive solutions developed in "The Great Turning" can be made resistant to the coercive attacks so aptly delineated in Klein's book. In "The Great Turning," the elitist bias of economist Milton Friedman's writing is analyzed and rejected, but since Friedman's writings do not acknowledge the coercion that has been routinely and necessarily employed to implement his economic program, an analysis of the writings per se will also not encounter that topic (which may be why it is not discussed in "The Great Turning"). That is why it is essential that "The Shock Doctrine" be read along with the Korten analysis, because the Klein book is focused upon exactly that issue.

While Naomi Klein's work has provided an essential additional piece of the puzzle, for each coercive method that it documents, it raises a parallel, unanswered question regarding how to resist such techniques. There are two related aspects to such questions: 1) how to evolve from the present hierarchical systems to the new systems that will replace them without the intermediate, transitional systems being shattered and divided by coercion, and 2) how to prevent the resurgence of hierarchy once a more cooperative system has been put into place. Korten's answer of "nonviolence" at least does not entirely ignore this question, but as noted above, more detail as to how and why this approach would work is required.

Although nonviolence may not be sufficient to prevail in all circumstances, the willingness of individuals and groups to face coercive harm narrowly focused upon them rather than yield to manipulation by betraying the broader community (which is also required for nonviolence) is still an essential part of any resistance (nonviolent or otherwise) to the coercive methods of dominator hierarchies. If a movement's goals are to replace dominator hierarchies with a cooperative, bottom-up system, then that kind of broadening of identity can be accompanied by a movement's active protection of its communities and individuals, without any fundamental contradiction arising between such a movement's methods and its goals.

In his work on PARECON, Michael Albert has answered some of the questions just cited regarding how to build robust movements in the face of repression. If Empire is defined as a top-down, hierarchical system, then it seems to me that its alternative will be a bottom-up system that emphasizes cooperative relationships between independent entities, each of which has its own unique, self-determined integrity and character, and that is the kind of system that Albert describes.

Regarding the question of how to keep diverse and cooperative alternatives from getting dragged back to a hierarchical mode, Michael Albert has pointed out that in the Argentine factory takeovers (which, perhaps not coincidentally, have been documented in Naomi Klein's film, "The Take"), despite the democratic decisionmaking implemented by workers restarting the idled Argentine factories themselves, pre-existing hierarchical relationships were preserved in the stratified work complexes, in which certain persons had more access to operational information, and more ability and time to launch initiatives, which ultimately discouraged the participation of others who had less enabling assignments. So, part of the problem of protecting new, more democratic and localized control over decisionmaking may be the difficulty of detecting and eliminating such vestigial elements of hierarchy (e.g., through the balanced job complexes proposed by Albert's Participatory Economics, or Parecon, approach). This involves an analysis of how the modality of hierarchical control has grown like a fungus into the flesh of our present economy and society, with an eye to rooting it out and replacing it with bottom-up, cooperative systems that are respectful of their individual members. This is the kind of detailed analysis that we need to make the vision of "The Great Turning" a reality.

Despite its omissions, "The Great Turning" provides important abstract views of the two defining tendencies of our present crisis. In so doing, it brings to the table one important piece of an overall solution to that challenge. However, its lack of transitional and structural detail, and its sparse practical treatment of the issue of coercive manipulation by control hierarchies, make it necessary to add perspectives from other sources to attain a more complete picture of how "The Great Turning" might actually occur.


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