Although the author has written a more recent book, Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence, the later book is focused on helping the individual, while the book being reviewed focuses on the larger matter of social engineering.
I was growing up in Asia at the time that this extraordinary person was getting herself nominated, along with Geraldine Ferraro in 198, as a Democratic candidate for Vice President, and this book serves as both a practical statement of needs and next steps to achieve conscious evolution as a species in the aggregate (see also the book edited by Mark Tovey with 55 contributors, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peaceand as a very self-effacing overview of the extraordinary life and social network of the author. I am tempted to speculate that hers was the first social network of consequence in modern times.
The core strategic idea in this book is that we are now capable of coming together across all boundaries at all locations to discourse on Conscious Evolution.
Frances Lappe Moore has my vote for Vice President–2008 *must* see the Republic “get a grip.”
This book will be handed out to 250 individuals representing Foundations, United Nations elements, other Non-Governmental Organizations, and US military leaders who are focused on Stabilization, Reconstruction, Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief. I met the author in the process of putting the four-day program together, and feel very fortunate that she will be speaking to these leaeders who will be discussing nothing less than how to redirect 1 trillion plus a year through the creation of compelling decision-support on the ten destabilizing threats, the twelve policies from Agriculture to Water that must be harmonized, all to the end of helping the eight major players avoid our mistakes.
This is a brilliant Nobel Peace Prize level of work, and I note with interest that the author has received the “Alternative Nobel,”the Right Livelihood Award. She will be the first person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Earth Intelligence Network and Transpartisan Policy Institute.
This book can read and appreciated at multiple levels from strategic to tactical. I list some other books below, but this book is now at the top of short list of books important for all time. If I could make a wish, it would be that every American voter read this book and share this book and enter into the active listening active dialog mode that the author outlines in clear terms. In combination with Reuniting American and with the Naitonal Initiative for Democracy, I believe that we have a real chance of taking about the power and implementing the author’s program.
Frances Moore Lappe as Presideent, and The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen as Vice President, with a Transpartisan Cabinet that includes great leaders from all political parties; that produces a balanced sustainable budget before election, and that DEMANDS an Electoral Reform Act prior to November 20008, is in my view totally possible, totally credible, and quite certain of restoring America the Beautiful.
Read the Other Reviews, This One Connects Some Dots, May 30, 2007
Frances Moore Lappe
There are some excellent reviews of this book, so I will summarize the key points briefly and then point to the top ten books on my Transpartisan Democracy list.
This is a delightful, thoughtful read that is totally transpartisan in spirit, and joins other books like Escaping the Matrix and Society’s Breakthrough in setting the stage for a non-violent restoration of We the People as the working owners of the Republic.
The author distinguishes between thin and living democracy, points out that democracy is a process, and you must live it or lose it. The two appendices are superb, one on competing frames (one page) and one on restoring the meaning of language for democracy (3 pages). I recommend taking a look at them before reading the book itself.
I have a note in my margin, “Lappe for President.” Seriously. Lappe, not Hillary Clinton, and certainly not Condi Rice, is precisely the kind of Epoch B leader we need right now, someone who can energize Wisdom Councils at every level, and convene Global Intelligence Councils and Global Policy Councils on the ten threats, twelve policies, and eight players other than the EU and the US (see my comment for a URL).
I absolutely agree with her that poverty is caused by a lack of democracy. Dictators and Wall Street have created a class war in which the few are looting the natural resources of the many, and it is time we put a stop to that, to include disbanding the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization.
She says that voice is the heart of democracy, and that a culture of connection is now being woven (see Blessed Unrest, Tao of Democracy, and Society’s Breakthrough).
She says that the split is not between left and right, but rather between those who believe in democracy and We the People, and those that do not (see George Orwell’s Animal Farm–we are all being harvested for profit by a handful).
In the author’s view, the crisis is our feeling of helplessness, and the solution is to widen the circle of problem solvers. Well, Joe Trippi is going to bring us the “Big Bat” to channel $500M a year into the Transpartisan Peoples’ Trust, and Reuniting America will join with the World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility (WISER) to connect all of the people all of the time.
There is such a wealth of gifted insight in this book that I do not want to list all the points that made it to my fly-leaf. BUT THIS BOOK. Discuss it with friends. Send this review to everyone you wish to engage in this national conversation.
There is a breathtaking graphic on page 33 in which she lists the seven main areas affecting our public life, and then lists specific individual roles of the citizen in each of these, which I depict by the number in parenthesis:
Economic Life (9 roles)
Media (3 roles, but she neglected to mention citizen journalist)
Education (6 roles)
Cultural (9 roles)
Civic life (7 roles)
Human and Health Care Services (6 roles)
Religious Life (3 roles)
True power, good power, is our multiple relationships to one another. We can get rid of money TOMORROW and shift to localized currencies and Internet barter points. Governments should not be going into debt to banks, they should nationalize them!
She destroys the four prevailing myths:
1) that we only need two parties
2) that we cannot limit private money in politics
3) that we must not tamper with the “free” market
4) that corporations are only responsible for short-term bottom line
See my varied lists, especially on Natural Capitalism and on Democracy, for more recommended readings that strongly support her concise views.
She lists eight corporate crimes:
1) Enrichment through manipulated public giveaways
2) Tax avoidance
3) Global Warming (we have to pay)
4) Hazardous Waste (we have to pay)
5) Profits retained by the managers, worker’s salaries do not increase
6) Concentration killing our health industry (and agriculture and energy)
7) Low corporate wages force us to pay benefits–Wal-Mart costs us $2.5 billion a year because their employees are so badly paid they qualify for public benefits! This is NUTS!
8) Campaign to eradicate unions leaves workers without voice or protection
I am quite pleased to learn from this author that townships are passing laws abolishing corporate citizenship. This needs to be a nation-wide finding.
Pension fund managers are one key to victory over corporations.
SA8000 sets global standards for fair labor conditions. We need to enforce it with our purchases.
Expectations and fairness matter. COSTCO pays its employees more, and gives them good benefits, yet applies only 7% of its budget to labor. Wal-Mart treats them like slaves, and applies 12% because of turn-over.
Part III has chapters on attention, action, choice, and voice, and focuses on the need to create localized economies with local currencies, community banking, and 100% worker ownership. That, in my view, is precisely where we are headed.
She lists 11 sources of citizen power, credited to the Industrial Areas Foundation:
4) Tapping passion
6) Disciplined preparation
7) Actions and intentional tension (helps reframing)
11) Reflection and evaluation
She lists five ways we are robbed of choice by corporations, and ten losses we suffer from corporations. She reminds us that Thomas Jefferson was very concerned in the 1790’s about commercial monopolies, and concludes, correctly, that corporations have more power and as much secrecy as the Communist Party in China and Russia.
She presents loss of voice facts on pages 222-224, addresses the need for democratic software and low-cost Internet access for all (good-bye, Microsoft, unless everyone can get mobile Windows for a dollar a month.
She concludes with chapters on learning, security, and reframing.
This book is magical in its common sense and imminent applicability.