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Innovation Takes All of Us

By John Perkins

This post was originally published on CSRwire:

Our history and our experience should teach us that what we’ve been doing isn’t working. When it’s clear that the status quo, the normal, the “way it’s always been,” isn’t good for the planet or we humans who live on her, we must look for new ways to thrive. If we value the world that we will give to our children and grandchildren, then we must innovate not only in areas such as energy and fuel efficiency but also in our perspective, our mindsets, and our consciousness. This isn’t optional or just for those who “have time;” changing the system of our world is an urgent responsibility for all of us regardless of political affiliation, belief system, or socio-economic background.

There are many examples of what I call the Death Economy: war as a highly profitable industry, the wealthiest 85 people possessing 50% of the world’s assets, small farmers and ranchers struggling in the face of giant corporations like Monsanto that are poisoning their communities and sabotaging their livelihood, among others. The human costs are staggering, as people die every day from preventable causes such as hunger, exposure, disease, and violence. And the environmental costs are also extremely high: oil is ruining Amazon rainforests, Roundup and Big Agro are contaminating rivers and farmland, and overfishing is depleting the ocean’s population, to name a few examples.

ISIS and Al-Qaeda are tearing apart the Middle East, but the US military intervention there for the past few decades has played a large role in setting the stage for such groups to move into the vacuum. We can’t deny our part or our responsibility, though many in the government and the media try to convince us otherwise. The mutant form of predatory capitalism of our culture has allowed war to become big business, for massive profits to be made on the backs of the poor, and for pollution and vandalism of the earth to be acceptable if it helps corporate bottom lines.

What can you do? Begin by educating yourself, find resources you trust, and look for the stories behind the story. Although the mainstream media may not report damaging facts about the corporatocracy, the information is out there thanks to courageous outlets such as CSR Wire, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams, Mother Jones, and The Guardian. Support the truth, and then share it with your friends and family so that we can be stronger together.

Just recently, The Guardian has started a petition to demand that two large organizations, The Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, follow the example of the Rockefeller Foundation and immediately divest their fossil fuels interests in order to save the planet. This is an example of change happening with the power of all of us. You can sign the petition here. Look under the surface of what’s reported by the major outlets, instead of believing everything you are told. The US government, some NGOs, USAID, and other organizations that say they are doing “good” work around the world are often in bed with the corporatocracy, lining their own pockets or increasing their prestige and power, and exploiting the vulnerable. Their work, profiting off war and violence to people and nature, results in more death, more poverty, and more despair.

Take action; don’t let yourself off the hook. You have more power than you may realize and more power than the Corporatocracy wants you to believe you have. Let’s use our power together to innovate, to shift the message and let the world know that it’s not ok to pursue profits over people; let’s tell the corporatocracy and government that our Living Earth is more important than the bottom line. Share the truth and encourage those around you to act with you.

We can move from the Death Economy to the Life Economy by not only changing our actions and plans, but first and most importantly changing our mindset, our worldview, our dream. We have entered the Consciousness Revolution! Let’s make history – big time! It will take each one of us and all of us, together.



The New Story: Interbeing

By John Perkins

As seen on

I’m excited to be co-hosting the annual Love Summit organized by Dream Change this summer. Please join us! Information below.

The old story: violence to end violence. Destruction of resources to create economic growth. Profiting from separation. “They” are different; “they” are the problem.

Netanyahu clamors for war with Iran – and wins the election. ISIS terrorizes the Middle East. US civilian-killing drones wreak havoc on peace negotiations. Moscow and Washington face off across the Ukraine.

The Question:

What will it take for us to live together on this fragile space station, Earth?

Policies and profits have created this world of stark contrasts that is unsustainable if we want a future in which our children and grandchildren can enjoy peace, spiritual prosperity, and basic human rights.

Far from wanting to lead the world into peace, many in the US make themselves rich off the violent clashes in other countries. The problem isn’t just that violence doesn’t stop violence, but that there are people and organizations who see dollar signs by creating and exacerbating violence and war.

A recent study by IHS Inc., cited at Common Dreams demonstrates that nations and multinational corporations compete for money and power at each other’s expense – and at the expense of innocent lives. This trend is predicted to continue to rise as the potential for profits increases.

The “defense trade” is a booming business that depends on war, violence, and bloodshed – or the mere threat of these – and the ravaging of the Earth’s resources. It is time to turn this Death Economy into a Peace or Life Economy (based on businesses that clean up pollution and benefit from peace and Earth stewardship).

When we live in fear of each other and are focused on our differences instead of our similarities, we miss the joy that comes from collaboration and the solutions that will create a better future.

The Answer:

A new story. The story of Interconnectedness, or (to use Charles Eisenstein’s word) Interbeing.

By flexing our power in the marketplace and with our letters and calls to our elected officials, we can change the way businesses work. When we reward companies that are committed to people and nature instead of just maximizing profits and when we boycott companies that exploit war and the environment, we create a new system.

Dream Change, a non-profit I founded more than 25 years ago, is committed to the New Story and is sponsoring an annual Love Summit, dedicated to bringing compassion into business and establishing a global Life Economy. Businesses clearly have a powerful impact on the world; they can be either creative and sustainable or destructive. By teaching executives that “compassion – love – is good business,” we can shift the story in meaningful ways.

The Love Summit is a big step in that direction. It is a recognition that “business as usual” is not working – even for those who profit financially from the Old Story – and that those businesses that transform themselves will be the success stories of the future.

It is time to stop thinking about separation, about differences, and about the things that keep us apart. Let’s change the story of separation that has dominated human philosophies for far too long into a story of solidarity. Let’s turn the Death Economy into a Life Economy — the War Mentality into a Peace Mentality, the Hate Reaction into a Love Reaction.


June 13th, 2015: The Love Summit
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Location: Portland, OR at the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency
Registration: Early Bird Tickets on sale until April 15:



Aruba: Future World

Aruba is an island nation without freshwater or native fossil fuels. It has a population of slightly over 100,000 and more than 1 million tourist visitors every year who come for the sun, Caribbean waters, and exceptional white sand beaches. They expect potable water and electricity, amenities that most of us take completely for granted.

This attention from tourists from around the world has required the small island member of the Netherlands group to develop creative ways to face its lack of water and standard sources of energy. In doing so it now finds itself with the opportunity to set an example for the entire world.

My time there was extremely full, exciting, and inspirational. I met with the Prime Minister, the Governor (who represents the King of the Netherlands) and members of the cabinet, administrative staff members in various offices of government, bankers, investment bankers, faculty, students and administrators at the University of Aruba, gave a couple of major speeches and was interviewed by the media. I found the people of Aruba to be exceedingly intelligent, openhearted, and willing to listen to ideas that might frighten those in countries like my own, the United States.

I spent an afternoon with the managers and workers being shown around a state of the art reverse osmosis water purification plant that is five times more fuel-efficient than the previous one which, when it was built, was also state of the art. I sat in the control room of the nation’s electricity producing company and saw that 30% of the capacity was being produced by wind machines, which is impressive.

During meetings with the various people mentioned above, we discussed the way Aruba can take these innovative approaches for water purification and energy production to new levels. This country has the opportunity to send its experts out to the world and help others deal with the incredible challenges that face the entire planet.

Turn on any faucet in Aruba and out flows the Champagne of water, the purest best-tasting water I’ve ever had. I tell the Arubans that they need to take their expertise to Miami, New York, Chicago, LA, Paris, London, and just about every other major city where the water insults the taste buds. In addition to taste, of course there is a huge need throughout countries like China and India and those in Latin America and Africa where there are horrible droughts, unhealthy water sources, and the collapsing glaciers are causing major rivers to dry up.

A Dream for Aruba

One night I presented a speech to the people of this country, and in that speech I described a dream I have for Aruba:

The streets, parking lots and rooftops are painted white which saves a great deal of energy, as compared to ones that are black. The cars are electric. The water purification plant and electric facilities include beautiful parks for children (as well as adults) who come to play and learn about the technologies involved – a sort of modern, practical version of Epcot. Aruba’s experts are traveling the world to help others solve the problems associated with declining water and fossil fuel resources – fuels that are also destroying our atmosphere.

This is a dream that can become reality quickly. It only requires a mindset from people who are already open-minded and receptive to innovative approaches to solving their problems. I take great hope in what I see in Aruba. I have witnessed similar innovative approaches to solving a variety of problems in many other smaller countries – Iceland, Ecuador, Panama, Romania, and Croatia, to name a few.

The big countries, like the United States, Russia, China, and the European Union nations have failed us. Their approach to global economics has resulted in disaster for most of the world. It is time for change! It is time to move from the Death to a Life Economy, as I’ve said so many times in my writings and speeches.

Aruba is an example of a country that is taking a leadership role down the path of the Life Economy. My hat is off to the people of Aruba.


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