David C. Korten

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David Korten

David C. Korten is a former United States Air Force captain, Harvard professor, author, co-founder of Yes! Magazine, and founder of the Living Economies Forum.[1] David is married to Yes! Magazine contributing editor Fran Korten.

Korten's Living Economies Forum website describes his work in the foreign aid establishment and his eventual disillusionment with the enterprise. As he described, "After nearly two decades living and working in Africa, Latin America, and Asia employed by the foreign aid establishment, I was coming to see that establishment as more a cause of rather than a solution to the human deprivation I had set out to end."[1]

The website also describes how Korten and others in his field attended a 1987 NGO symposium which concluded, "The development policies and strategies promoted by most official aid agencies benefit the rich at the expense of the poor and the environment. A fundamental change is imperative and the leadership will not come from establishment institutions. It must come from citizen action."[2] Partially in response to these revelations, Korten and additional NGO leaders and members founded the Living Economies Forum (formerly called the People-Centered Development Forum).

The Forum has engaged in several campaigns, most recently, "Challenging the story that it is our human nature to seek individual advantage in disregard of our neighbor and Earth is a dead rock free for the taking." since 2015.[3]

Korten is a critic of globalization and wishes to replace global corporate capitalism with "regionally self-reliant, energy-efficient, locally rooted living economies"[4] He also uses examples from the natural world to describe his ideal economic model, saying, "the lessons of life’s self-organizing evolutionary journey to the quest to displace a global corporate-driven money-seeking suicide economy with a life-serving living Earth economy."[1]


As of February 2020:[1]

  • Founder and president, Living Economies Forum
  • Co-founder and board chair, Yes! Magazine
  • governing board member, Toward Ecological Civilization
  • Associate Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies
  • Member, Club of Rome
  • Advisory Board Member, School of Regenerative Design
  • Advisory Board Member, Institute for Postmodern Development of China

Former Affiliations


  • Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2015)
  • Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009)
  • The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006)
  • The Post-Corporate World: Life after Capitalism (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1999)
  • Globalizing Civil Society: Reclaiming Our Right to Power (New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998)
  • When Corporations Rule the World (Kumarian Press, 1995)
  • Getting to the 21st Century: Voluntary Action and the Global Agenda (Kumarian Press, 1990)

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 David Korten, David's Story, organizational website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  2. David Korten, The Foreign Aid Story, organizational website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  3. David Korten, Changing the Human Future One Story at a Time, organizational website, accessed February 21, 2020.
  4. David Korten, Bioregional Self-Reliance, organizational website, accessed February 21, 2020.