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Chief Economist, Author, & Activist
Updated: 8 hours 9 min ago

Shifting Perceptions: The #LoveSummit2017

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 13:44

“The world is violent and mercurial–it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love—love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.” ― Tennessee Williams

We know that we have entered an era in human history when we must re-perceive our relationship as a species to the space station that is our home, Earth. Many organizations advocate a perceptual change from one of exploitation to one of love. A nonprofit named Dream Change is taking a bold giant step in exactly that direction. Through its Love Summit business conferences, it is helping companies and governments move from a global Death Economy to a global Life (Love) Economy. The next Love Summit business conference is coming up on October 12 and 13 at LPK brand design agency’s global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I am honored to be speaking there alongside an extraordinary lineup of business, government and thought leaders paving the road to a more just and sustainable future.

An important theme in the talks I give at events like the Love Summit and other business and government conferences, is that there are two types of reality: objective and perceived reality. The computer I’m typing on is objective reality. Most of the words that I type deal with perceived reality. Human activity is determined largely by perceived reality. Religions, culture, legal and economic systems, corporations, and even countries are created and maintained by perceived reality; when enough people accept a perception or when it is codified into law, that perception changes objective reality. The way to change economic and other systems is through crossing a Perception Bridge from old ways of thinking into new ones.

From a global perspective, Objective Realty 1 is that the world has many natural and human resources. The current Perceived Realty is that we can exploit these ruthlessly, focusing on maximizing short term gains, rather than on the long run viability of human existence on this planet. This Perceived Reality has resulted in Objective Reality 2 – a failed global economic system that is on the path to consuming itself into extinction. Although referred to as an economic system, it also includes political and social systems. It has produced a predatory form of capitalism and what we might define as a Death Economy since it depends heavily on investments in militarization and in processes that ravage the earth and its ecosystems.

The Death Economy has meant that economic activity in general is measured in terms of short-term profit maximization (for a few wealthy people). Individuals strive to maximize their returns on investments. Corporations endeavor to maximize market share, as well as profits. Countries judge themselves and their leaders by their effectiveness at maximizing growth in GDP, a measurement of the value of resources consumed and goods and services produced that does not account for what are known as externalities (e.g. the costs of environmental destruction, human suffering, etc.). At the same time, anything that appears to obstruct monetized maximization, such as taxes, is disparaged. Instead of looking at these as investments (e.g. redefining taxes as investments in infrastructure, education, health care etc.) they are vilified as impediments to maximization of personal and corporate income.

An irony of this current system is that wars – or the mere threat of wars – contribute to economic growth by earning profits for the firms that produce war materiel and spin-offs that include those that provide food, clothing, health care, insurance, banking and other services to the war industries. After a country has been devastated by war, the process of rebuilding its infrastructure provides more opportunities to maximize profits through reconstruction activities. The same is true for reconstruction after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and tidal waves.

The Death Economy has led to severe and unacceptable increases in environmental degradation, social inequality, political instability, and the threat that humans will destroy the world as we know it, that we will drive ourselves and many other species into a period of extinction like no other this planet has experienced since the end of the dinosaur age.

A Life Economy – one that loves the Earth and enhances life upon it – rewards governments and businesses that clean up pollution, that regenerate devastated environments, that recycle instead of ravaging the planet, and that develop new technologies for energy, transportation, communications, trade, banking, and most everything else. In this Life Economy, the responsibility of government and business is to serve the public interest while earning decent rates of return for investors. The money from these investors is dedicated to building a system that is itself a renewable resource. Long-term economic activity takes precedent over short-term maximization. Individuals focus on investments that create better life-styles for them and their prodigy. Statistical yardsticks like GDP include externalities and assign high values to goods and services that contribute to long term sustainability. Taxes are considered as investments made for the benefit of the general population – both current and future.

The transformation from a failed economic system to one that offers an environmentally sustainable and socially just world occurs by changing perceptions, crossing the Perception Bridge. In both the Death and the Life Economies the objective reality is the same: the world has many natural and human resources. The Death Economy manifests when “success” is perceived as maximizing short term gains regardless of the social and environmental costs. This leads to the crises we now face. A Life Economy manifests when “success” is perceived as serving the public interest – long term as well as short term.

The nonprofit I mentioned earlier is one of the organizations that is leading the way across this Perception Bridge. The name Dream Change comes from the idea that we must change our dream – our perception – in order to change the world. Dream Change’s Love Summits focus on how a heart-centered approach to politics and business will rapidly drive society toward a more socially, environmentally and economically sound way of living on planet earth.

I need to disclose a certain bias. I founded Dream Change more than 30 years ago. Although I continue to serve on the board, I have turned management over to a dynamic team of people much younger than me. Led by Executive Director (and creator of the Love Summit) Samantha Thomas, she and other young people have much to gain by bringing love into the world of business and government – and a great deal to lose if we stay on the current course. I am extremely proud of Dream Change’s work and the model it is successfully presenting to the world.

Focused on the intersection of smart business and compassionate leadership, the Love Summit aims to raise awareness and inspire new, sustainable methods for solving social and economic issues. I will be speaking at the 2017 Love Summit on October 12th and 13th at LPK brand design agency’s global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. I can’t wait to share the stage with the summit’s outstanding speaker lineup of 20+ business, government and thought leaders who are eager to share the most pragmatic methods and effective tools for creating the more sustainable, just and compassionate world that we all dream of. I hope you’ll join us.

Early bird admission ($200 off tickets) to the 2017 Love Summit is available through September 1st. To book a spot for you and your colleagues, visit lovesummit2017.eventbrite.com.

For Love Summit sponsor package information, please email Samantha@dreamchange.org.

What people say about the Love Summit:

“The Love Summit has the potential to be one of the most provocative, most transformational get-togethers you have ever participated in.” — Dan Wieden, Creator of Nike’s slogan: “Just Do It”; Co-Founder & Chairman, Wieden+Kennedy

“What a fantastic opportunity to interact with so many people who are trying make a difference for good. Thanks again for having me speak at your conference.” — Dan Price, Founder & CEO, Gravity Payments

Upcoming Events:

August 28-30, 2017
Keynote at the 2017 WELCOA Summit
Embassy Suites / Omaha, NE
Click to register.

September 8-10, 2017
Prosperity Through Creativity: Shapeshifting Into A Mindful Future
Omega Institute / Rhinebeck, NY
Click to register.

October 12-13, 2017
Love Summit 2017 Business Conference
LPK headquarters / Cincinnati, Ohio
Click to register.

November 19-26, 2017
The Mastery Course With Margot Anand and John Perkins
Hotel Eden Roc / Girona, Spain
To register, email: mprokunina@gmail.com

Shifting Perceptions: The #LoveSummit2017

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 13:22

“The world is violent and mercurial–it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love—love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.” ― Tennessee Williams

We know that we have entered an era in human history when we must re-perceive our relationship as a species to the space station that is our home, Earth. Many organizations advocate a perceptual change from one of exploitation to one of love. A nonprofit named Dream Change is taking a bold giant step in exactly that direction. Through its Love Summit business conferences, it is helping companies and governments move from a global Death Economy to a global Life (Love) Economy. The next Love Summit business conference is coming up on October 12 and 13 at LPK brand design agency’s global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I am honored to be speaking there alongside an extraordinary lineup of business, government and thought leaders paving the road to a more just and sustainable future.

An important theme in the talks I give at events like the Love Summit and other business and government conferences, is that there are two types of reality: objective and perceived reality. The computer I’m typing on is objective reality. Most of the words that I type deal with perceived reality. Human activity is determined largely by perceived reality. Religions, culture, legal and economic systems, corporations, and even countries are created and maintained by perceived reality; when enough people accept a perception or when it is codified into law, that perception changes objective reality. The way to change economic and other systems is through crossing a Perception Bridge from old ways of thinking into new ones.

From a global perspective, Objective Realty 1 is that the world has many natural and human resources. The current Perceived Realty is that we can exploit these ruthlessly, focusing on maximizing short term gains, rather than on the long run viability of human existence on this planet. This Perceived Reality has resulted in Objective Reality 2 – a failed global economic system that is on the path to consuming itself into extinction. Although referred to as an economic system, it also includes political and social systems. It has produced a predatory form of capitalism and what we might define as a Death Economy since it depends heavily on investments in militarization and in processes that ravage the earth and its ecosystems.

The Death Economy has meant that economic activity in general is measured in terms of short-term profit maximization (for a few wealthy people). Individuals strive to maximize their returns on investments. Corporations endeavor to maximize market share, as well as profits. Countries judge themselves and their leaders by their effectiveness at maximizing growth in GDP, a measurement of the value of resources consumed and goods and services produced that does not account for what are known as externalities (e.g. the costs of environmental destruction, human suffering, etc.). At the same time, anything that appears to obstruct monetized maximization, such as taxes, is disparaged. Instead of looking at these as investments (e.g. redefining taxes as investments in infrastructure, education, health care etc.) they are vilified as impediments to maximization of personal and corporate income.

An irony of this current system is that wars – or the mere threat of wars – contribute to economic growth by earning profits for the firms that produce war materiel and spin-offs that include those that provide food, clothing, health care, insurance, banking and other services to the war industries. After a country has been devastated by war, the process of rebuilding its infrastructure provides more opportunities to maximize profits through reconstruction activities. The same is true for reconstruction after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and tidal waves.

The Death Economy has led to severe and unacceptable increases in environmental degradation, social inequality, political instability, and the threat that humans will destroy the world as we know it, that we will drive ourselves and many other species into a period of extinction like no other this planet has experienced since the end of the dinosaur age.

A Life Economy – one that loves the Earth and enhances life upon it – rewards governments and businesses that clean up pollution, that regenerate devastated environments, that recycle instead of ravaging the planet, and that develop new technologies for energy, transportation, communications, trade, banking, and most everything else. In this Life Economy, the responsibility of government and business is to serve the public interest while earning decent rates of return for investors. The money from these investors is dedicated to building a system that is itself a renewable resource. Long-term economic activity takes precedent over short-term maximization. Individuals focus on investments that create better life-styles for them and their prodigy. Statistical yardsticks like GDP include externalities and assign high values to goods and services that contribute to long term sustainability. Taxes are considered as investments made for the benefit of the general population – both current and future.

The transformation from a failed economic system to one that offers an environmentally sustainable and socially just world occurs by changing perceptions, crossing the Perception Bridge. In both the Death and the Life Economies the objective reality is the same: the world has many natural and human resources. The Death Economy manifests when “success” is perceived as maximizing short term gains regardless of the social and environmental costs. This leads to the crises we now face. A Life Economy manifests when “success” is perceived as serving the public interest – long term as well as short term.

The nonprofit I mentioned earlier is one of the organizations that is leading the way across this Perception Bridge. The name Dream Change comes from the idea that we must change our dream – our perception – in order to change the world. Dream Change’s Love Summits focus on how a heart-centered approach to politics and business will rapidly drive society toward a more socially, environmentally and economically sound way of living on planet earth.

I need to disclose a certain bias. I founded Dream Change more than 30 years ago. Although I continue to serve on the board, I have turned management over to a dynamic team of people much younger than me. Led by Executive Director (and creator of the Love Summit) Samantha Thomas, she and other young people have much to gain by bringing love into the world of business and government – and a great deal to lose if we stay on the current course. I am extremely proud of Dream Change’s work and the model it is successfully presenting to the world.

Focused on the intersection of smart business and compassionate leadership, the Love Summit aims to raise awareness and inspire new, sustainable methods for solving social and economic issues. I will be speaking at the 2017 Love Summit on October 12th and 13th at LPK brand design agency’s global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. I can’t wait to share the stage with the summit’s outstanding speaker lineup of 20+ business, government and thought leaders who are eager to share the most pragmatic methods and effective tools for creating the more sustainable, just and compassionate world that we all dream of. I hope you’ll join us.

Early bird admission ($200 off tickets) to the 2017 Love Summit is available through September 1st. To book a spot for you and your colleagues, visit lovesummit2017.eventbrite.com.

For Love Summit sponsor package information, please email Samantha@dreamchange.org.

What people say about the Love Summit:

“The Love Summit has the potential to be one of the most provocative, most transformational get-togethers you have ever participated in.” — Dan Wieden, Creator of Nike’s slogan: “Just Do It”; Co-Founder & Chairman, Wieden+Kennedy

“What a fantastic opportunity to interact with so many people who are trying make a difference for good. Thanks again for having me speak at your conference.” — Dan Price, Founder & CEO, Gravity Payments

Upcoming Events:

August 28-30, 2017
Keynote at the 2017 WELCOA Summit
Embassy Suites / Omaha, NE
Click to register.

September 8-10, 2017
Prosperity Through Creativity: Shapeshifting Into A Mindful Future
Omega Institute / Rhinebeck, NY
Click to register.

October 12-13, 2017
Love Summit 2017 Business Conference
LPK headquarters / Cincinnati, Ohio
Click to register.

November 19-26, 2017
The Mastery Course With Margot Anand and John Perkins
Hotel Eden Roc / Girona, Spain
To register, email: mprokunina@gmail.com

From Astana to the Vatican: Molding Reality 2

Sun, 06/25/2017 - 06:00

A few spots left for my writer’s webinar: click here to book

Join me for my workshop “Prosperity Through Creativity” at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY: click here to reserve your spot

(For Molding Reality 1: johnperkins.org/global-politics/trump-vs-putin-molding-reality)

By John Perkins

I just left the Astana (Kazakhstan) Economic Forum. I had the opportunity to continue the discussions begun in St Petersburg at the conference there that included Russian President Vladimir Putin and UN Secretary General António Guterres on the need to end old, exploitative, unsustainable systems and replace them with ones that are just beginning to evolve.

In Astana, I shared the stage with some of the world’s most forward looking government, business and thought leaders. I sat on panels and in roundtable discussions with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstn, Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Francois Fillon of France (2007-2012), Prime Minister Marek Belka of Poland (2004-2005), Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev of Kyrgyzstan (2014-2015) Nobel Prize laureates Sviatoslav Timashev and Raekwon Chung, and President Putin’s Economic Adviser Sergey Glazyev.

And I received a few scathing emails and Facebook comments questioning why I would refer to some of these people as “thought leaders.” I was told that they are infamous for terrible human rights abuses. Yet, to most of the world what my country does in places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen are terrible human rights abuses – although they are not listed as such since they are not perpetrated within our borders.

One of the Chinese speakers pointed out that while his country is criticized for all the pollution it causes, many of the goods that produce that pollution are bought in the US and America. “Yes,” he said, “we need to focus on nonpolluting technologies, and you who buy from us need to take some responsibility – be willing to pay more to help us make the transition.”

Although many in the US have a very poor impression of the leaders in China and the former-USSR countries, I found them to be extremely concerned about the course our fragile space station — Earth — is taking. Their countries are moving rapidly into the digital, renewable resource age. One after another, they described the failures of current systems and called for reforms that will result in radical and positive changes. Many condemned yardsticks like GDP and advocated for alternatives, such as GGDP (Green GDP). During receptions and at less formal discussions, we spent many hours exchanging ideas on ways to transform business and government.

This trip has pointed out to me the importance – indeed the necessity – of coming together in the recognition that we are one species living on a fragile planet. It is time to stop blaming “them” – the Russians, Chinese, terrorists, the Republicans, Democrats, the Conservatives, Liberals or whatever. We simply must end that divisive way of looking at the world.

It is time to realize that blaming “the other” is part of a bygone era. Perhaps such combative and competitive attitudes served humanity in the past. Perhaps they helped us achieve miracles in medicine, engineering, computer technology, communications, transportation, the arts, and so on. Perhaps military research led to better radios, planes, computers, and more.

But enough. The painfully obvious fact is that we are in the process of causing irreversible damage to our home, our space station, our Earth. To ourselves and all other life-forms.

People around the world are waking up to the knowledge that this Death Economy has resulted in severe and unacceptable increases in environmental degradation, social inequality, political instability, and the threat that humans will destroy the world as we know it, that we will drive ourselves and many other species into a period of extinction like no other this planet has experienced since the end of the dinosaur age.

Throughout these two forums, I was struck by the role that perception plays in molding political, environmental, social, and economic realities. Much of my writing and speaking these days focusses on this very subject, including my upcoming webinar, How to Write a Bestseller (In Times of Crises) – Using the Power of Story to Accelerate Change and my Omega workshop, Prosperity through Creativity: Shapeshifting into a Mindful Future.

When we perceive “them” as the problem, our solution is to change them. Now is the time to awaken to the fact that “we” are the problem and we are the solution. We must work together.

I flew from Astana to Rome. Here I am reminded that all great empires come to an end. The essential question is: What do we learn from that process? My hope is that we learn that there must be no more empires, that we need to come together as one species. We can speak many languages, honor many cultures, and yet at the same time dedicate ourselves to guiding this space station into a sustainable, peaceful future.

Early one evening I snapped a photo of the Vatican. I did not realize until the next morning that there was a lone figure sitting there. That person appears to be either meditating or begging.  It strikes me as symbolic. While the sun is setting over a Vatican occupied by a new Pope, perhaps that lone figure symbolizes all of us and our need to meditate on and beg for a new way of perceiving, and thus changing, reality.

Upcoming Events

July 11 – September 29: Writers’ Webinar
Learn how to write a bestseller in times of crises and use the power of story to accelerate change | 4 Sessions, Tuesdays, July 11 – September 29

September 8-10: Omega Institute Workshop – Prosperity Through Creativity 
Tap into your deepest creativity, honor your passions, realize your true potential, and shapeshift your ideas into projects, books, works of art, successful businesses, fruitful relationships, and ultimately the life you want.

October 12-13: The 2nd Love Summit Business Conference
TED-style talks and workshops with some of the most progressive business, government and thought leaders of our time. Register today to get $200 off tickets: lovesummit2017.eventbrite.com.

November 19-26: Mastery Course with Margot Anand & John Perkins
A unique opportunity to study with two world renowned teachers, weaving together the magic of Tantra and Shamanism on the magnificent coast of Spain.

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