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Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth ~By David C. Korten

This is not a book review, rather this is a report about a book that I am in the process of reading and am planning to review.

I would like to tell you that I have read and outlined this book, but rather I am reporting that I have heard David Korten speak about this book nearly 10 times now and this has inspired me to treat the book as a course of study. I wish to understand and convey exactly what Korten is talking about and I believe that I want to incorporate his concepts into my daily living and into my community.

I hungrily read Korten book When Corporations Rule the World a number of years ago and was so impressed by his command of information, his ability to translate complex systems into understandable language and thought, and how his ideas were smart, savvy and so honest that they need to arouse the spirit to do something to make change.

I then heard him speak when his partner became the Executive Director, Publisher of the Positive Futures Network and involved with YES magazine, so he now live nearby and was locally accessible. His words and ideas resonated with our Voluntary Simplicity Study group, our Spiritual Community and the State College Community where I was working.

I prepared a paper and lead a discussion group on that book and then passed it on for the next reader to find its wisdom. I believe Mr. Korten is one of the smart people, who is ahead of his time, and provides real opportunity to develop systems of change within one’s own community.

Korten is from the Global Economic Community and the New York City – Beltway Community, but he created his efforts from his personal foundation in human values. As the political signs begin popping up for our city council elections, I am formulating questions based on my study of the new book.

In Korten’s own word from the Spring 2009 issue of YES, Magazine:

Trying to solve the crisis with the same tools that caused it is the definition of insanity….
Real wealth is, first of all, the tangible things that support life-food, shelter, clothing. Of course, the most valuable forms of real wealth are those that are beyond price: love; a healthy, happy child; a job that provides a sense of self-worth and contribution; membership in a strong, caring community; a healthy vibrant natural environment; peace. Our Wall-Street-driven economic system makes fantastic amounts of money and actively destroys all these many forms of real wealth.

Every time I spend my money, I feel as though I am making a vote for a new way of life; voicing my opinion in the loudest voice I have. Do you feel you can vote with your money?

Here is what one of the professionals says about Korten’s book:

Building upon his earlier explorations of economics, history, and psychology, Korten explains why Washington’s response to the current economic crisis is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline. By outlining a foundational framework for extricating the economy from the clutches of Wall Street and creating a real-wealth New Economy based on Main Street, Korten provides essential guideposts for those working for real change.

Charlie Cray, Director, Center for Corporate Policy.

I want to make real change for my future and for my children’s future. I am arming myself with the best knowledge I can find. Surrounding myself with experts and planners, who can jump start my endeavors.

What do you think? Want to read this book? Want to know more? Feeling powerful? How do you help to make change happen? Fix the problem?

Looking forward to your comments and studying this book.

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43 Responses to “Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth ~By David C. Korten”

  1. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Yes yes I want to read my book. I love how he defined thier methods of fixing it are insane. Yes the wall streeters have destroyed their most important assets and I won’t mention Madoffs name here. Oops!

    Tess The Bold Lifes last blog post..Magic Monday Freebie with Steve Pavlina

  2. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    Sounds interesting. I am looking forward to your review.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Truth In Advertising

  3. Patricia Says:

    I am going slowly and carefully through this book, as I think Korten is on to some very valuable solutions that can be implemented locally in first steps. Every page I am more impressed.

    I am going to try an do a review in a J.D. Meier’s or Marelisa’s style,because this is dynamic information.

  4. Kathy | Virtual Impax Says:

    I love the concept of “making a vote” with the dollars you spend!!! I agree 100% that it is – by far – the loudest “vote” of all!!!

    I too eagerly await your analysis of the book!

    Kathy | Virtual Impaxs last blog post..Facebook Fan Pages – Ask WIIFM

  5. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for coming on by, I am working diligently on this one, I think it is very valuable

  6. bunnygotblog Says:

    This is very influential stuff here. I am going to check it more.

    Thanks for the great article.

    bunnygotblogs last blog post..17 Sexy Commercials: Advertising Towards Dummies

  7. J.D. Meier Says:

    There is a lot to be said for the basics.

    I’m focusing on the basics by doing the following:
    – reducing my monthly burn
    – distinguishing intrinsic value from market value
    – consolidating and cutting the dead wood
    – exploring passive income strategies
    – improving the value I can flow (by scaling myself)
    – productizing myself (simple best passive income by creating value)
    – analyzing the TCO (the total cost of ownership) of some of my things
    – getting input and advice from various experts, books, and real-world heroes.

    I’m not materialistic so that helps. I’m more about experiences, people, and adventure.

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..If You Miss the Train, Catch the Next One

  8. Jannie Funster Says:

    Well, I sure like the tenet about “not adding gasoline to the fire” and would want to read this book, yes!

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..Five Little Lightbulbs

  9. Patricia Says:

    So far my reading has made me ask better questions of the candidates and a speech in the park I heard Saturday I could identify as the same old, same old in a modified package, I think we need a change at the basic levels.

    Great list, I am going to try to summarize this book in your style because it is so clear and informative and doable. I took the kids through a lot of your list for hands on math. We were all surprised that a load of laundry was about $3.50 a run through…and that not using the dryer saved us $60 a month. Those cost are getting to be 10 years old. Your is a great list, will it change government?

    I think not many folks will want to read the book, so that is why I am going to chunk it down as best I can here before I go on my walking tour.

  10. Robin Says:

    Hi Patricia – he sounds very interesting – real wealth certainly isn’t a matter of just money is it?

    Robins last blog post..An Eventful Month

  11. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Oh Patricia,

    This is so fascinating. How fortunate you are to have heard him speak. He sounds like such a wise man.

    I’ll be looking forward to your review. :)

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..How To Capitalize On Your Blog Statistics

  12. Mama Zen Says:

    This sounds fascinating!

    Mama Zens last blog post..Fair

  13. Mark Says:

    This sounds like fascinating material. I will add this to my reading list. Thanks for the preview.

    Marks last blog post..We Are All One – May We Let Our Light Shine!

  14. patricia Says:

    Real wealth has almost nothing to do with money! We here have been living on Phantom or Virtual money for a long time and cheating ourselves out of meaning.

    I am going to include all the websites that Korten is on too..also he is interviewed on Democracy NOW and Bill Moyer’s in their archives.
    As JD would say – I think this Human Being is one of those giants JD wants to stand on their shoulders. He is willing to go before us and share this genius. I just am having trouble reading fast enough!

    Mama Zen,
    Fascinating and Meaningful are two words that just jump out at me as I read this – Hope I can share it well enough.

    You will not be disappointed and I am sure you will want to know more…
    I am feeling like – how can I accomplish this here already?
    A real Human BEING.

  15. Alfred Says:

    I don’t like the idea of money as “voting power” because sometimes you have to spend money on something that sucks simply because you don’t have another option.
    Example: Heath Insurance.

  16. patricia Says:

    Yep it can be fairly yucky to have to pay for something that does not allow for another option. As a person who has lived in the past without health insurance – I don’t mind paying for it now, yet I still work on the preventative side with my dollars – there are places I don’t eat on purpose to vote with my dollars.

    I attempt not to purchase goods made in China – it is sometimes impossible and I work very hard at supporting my local economy. This helps to build my community and give more meaning to my life and hopefully extend this spirit for my community’s future – our children

  17. Thinking Out Loud | The Biking Architect Says:

    […] Yep I know that the world is not fair. I also know that by keeping our work localized that St. Louis firms may not know that there is all this expertise available for consulting or mentoring. My looking and thinking says that folks are really trying and working hard….but they are not going to solve the problems and make a better world with this same old same old patterns…. (see: David Korten’s book Agenda for a New Economy.) […]

  18. P.L. Says:

    You should also see BBC documentary “The ascent of money”.

    Episode 1: Dreams Of Avarice (A Financial History Of The World)

    Episode 2: Human Bondage (A Financial History Of The World)

    Episode 3: Blowing Bubbles (A Financial History Of The World)

    Episode 5: Safe As Houses (A Financial History Of The World)

    Episode 6: Chimerica (A Financial History Of The World)

    Money as Debt

    It explains in detail many concepts that allow you to understand why Korten is not an insane guy voicing a crazy opinion. There are myths we have that create a biased concept of how our world works. Watch these videos.

  19. Patricia Says:

    I have never thought Korten was an insane guy…I think he is really right on and have lived my life in accord. I thank you for all your links and I am working my way through them right now.

    I have a great deal of money worries on my mind and heart these days – thank you for more info.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Sometimes the Right Things Just Pop Up =-.

  20. P.L. Says:

    Some people try to discredit Korten, because they have an ideological bias, they are bees in the hive, saying that Korten makes senseless statements and saying he is a crazy guy whose rants are published.

    If you watch the conservative BBC documentary you may understand that his books were not rants.

    You also may like to se how banks transfer risk to investors using synthetic CDOs.

    Synthetic collateralized debt obligation (synthetic CDO)

  21. P.L. Says:

    Things you can do.
    1.Move to outsourcing centers in Latin America and look for a job. It is better than unemployment, if you have no debts in dollars.
    2.Get rid of debts to have financial freedom.
    3.Move to countries like Costa Rica, where residents may get public healthcare for a very cheap price. If possible, you also may go to UK and get healthcare from NHS.
    4.Push for de abolition of banks. Great empires never needed banks.

    People think about public vs private. But in macroeconomical financial programming by central banks, financial sector is a separate sector, aside of government and productive companies.
    Banks are like a government that produce nothing, but their purpose is to leech money from economy.

    So financial intervention is far worse than government intervention.

    So if you get rid of financial sector what is the alternative? Sense of community. How do Amish build their houses without a mortgage? Watch the movie “witness” with Harrison Ford. You may understand how sense of community makes banks and insurance companies useless.

    It is interesting that when it is about international matters, people must give their lifes because of “patriotism”. But patriotism ends when it is about money. People say “why should I pay for other people healthcare”. What is the point of giving your life when people may not give a few bucks to care about you. It reflects a strong lack of sense of community.

    Divide and conquer. Bankers have conquered America by dividing Americans, just like Pizarro conquered Inca empire after dividing them. Division is the opposite of sense of community.

    For years, crisis and inflation were exported to poor countries, but it made them cheap, and this is why jobs go overseas. So with foreign poverty, Americans will have to compete with poor for jobs, so fighting poverty anywhere is amust if you want to preserve a way of living. the other option is not to care and lose jobs.

    TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. Lack of sense of community, thinking about them and us, causes jobs to go overseas.

    When it is about money, selfishness and division must end. A nation may disappear when people are divided.

    As if Things Weren’t Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.

    Sense of community is the only way to avoid a disbanded nation. And it will require to care about poverty all around the planet, not just nationwide.

  22. Patricia Says:

    Thank you for all your good comments, I have to slow down to catch up with all the discoveries you have presented here – thank you – to better respond.
    The world has been using divide and conquer communities and individuals for so many years and years…it is hard for others to see and understand – people are so often sheep…especially when they are working to feed and shelter within a disorganized and polarized community

  23. P.L. Says:

    One idea to reduce money worries. If money was not able to be traded for goods, the entire world economy would be an online videogame played at the bank servers. Does it worth to torture yourself because of a videogame? Does it deserve your time and energy? It will help you to regain peace of mind, not to torture yourself too much about money.

    Money is a game. Learn the rules and play it to your advantage. Unfortunately, the game of money was plagued by greed and individualism, destroying sense of community and all the positive values of America, like working hard and family.

    Poverty comes because not everyone are told the rules of the game, and just like videogames, not everyone likes to play videogames.

    Greed makes the amount of money, the score in the videogame, not to be enough, ever. So you see people betraying people, killing people, cheating people, because of a videogame. People devote their lives to money, thinking it is real. Economists know that it is quasimoney, just a concept, a number stored as a magnetic in the hard drive of a bank. This is causing people to suffer and be worried.

    You are rich by the time when you do not need to worry about money. It means not too little so you are not in need, and not too much so you are not devoting your life to the videogame. Setting free from debts is a necessary step to be free. Avoid using credit. Instead of trying of increase your income, try to need less.

    The best and more enjoyable experiences in life are free. Find them. They just taught you that you must pay for everything, so you thought everything has a price tag. There are small things in life that are very pleasant and free. Once you discover them, life will make sense a bit more.

    Also you may wonder “Is the sense of life just about money? Being prisoners and slaves of a videogame in this hive where we are just insignificant bees? Or is there something else in life?”. It helps to put life in perspective.

    “What is my mission in life?”. You will discover that things will start to improve when you follow that mission in life, a greater purpose.

    You’d be amazed to discover that most people use to go from home to work and viceversa, so the amount of people making changes and determining the fate of a nation is very small. So as soon as you dedicate some spare time to change the world, you’d discover that even if some doors slam in your face, your persistence will lead to changes.

    We are insignificant bees because we left our power in the hands of others.

    I wish you luck with your financial situation. I am sure that in a few years you will be telling me how your life has improved as you set yourself free.

  24. Patricia Says:

    Such a good analysis of the money game. Our community has green dollars and fair trade stores too….I trade 60 hours of my time a month to get $100 in grocery dollars from the food coop. plus interact with a large number of nice folks. I purchase my chicken and pork from a local farm in a subscription system so they are free range and not antibiotics and local…

    Our house is maximum efficient and energy user…and we have solar panels even in this rainy clime…

    I had to purchase a lot of educational and medical services for one of my children…and I still am working on paying off that debt…but she did graduate from college and has a job…she is an asset to her community.

    It is just worrisome to be in debt at this age in life…and have no fall back position.

    …and it is very frightening to see how few people want to make any changes – they are still going for the bling – discouraging.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Who Would You Stay Up All Night to Meet? =-.

  25. P.L. Says:

    You are a very valiant person.
    Do not worry about feeling outcast.
    Truth is not popular when it questions the very core of the hive we live in.
    Do not worry about trying to change the system right now.
    we need people to be aware of things, and sometimes it would mean people rejecting you.

    You may think of me as a human being in a distant place who wants you to be fine, who wants you to succeed in life. I know this will give you the energy to go ahead and achieve your dreams and to fulfill your mission in life.

    When you follow your mission in life things may look impossible, but in the end they are not, just a matter of patience and persistence. God does not miss the chance to have a collaborator who follows the mission.

    Notice I do not mean the typical “join a religion and serve the church, and let a priest to tell you what you must do” but “find your personal God inside you, and follow your inner voice of good”.

  26. P.L. Says:

    Discouraging… there is a way never to be discouraged.
    You set a goal and determine which will be the first door to knock, find an alternative door (Plan B) in case the first one does not work. Go and knock.

    If they slam the door in your face, look for another door (Plan C) so when you knock on Plan B, you always hve a backup plan. Continue with Plan D, E, F, etc. Some day, with patience, a door will open.

    Normally a salesman may need to knock 1000 doors to achieve 100 people interested and only 10 buyers. If he gets 13 buyers he is an outstanding salesman. So now you know the odds.

    We fail when we surrender. Until then, you are taking steps to succeed with every attempt. Do not set expectations, life is unpredictable.

  27. P.L. Says:

    Some free softwares for home schooling


    3D viewer of universe (a 3 year old kid an use it)

    wait for more…

  28. P.L. Says:

    If you want education, home schooling with advanced tools makes people to develop skills and knowledge.
    Here some more tools to improve education at home for free.

    Software to make music (download MPT old version which has a simpler user interface)
    Downloadable HTML Tutorial

  29. P.L. Says:

    If you want to improve geography and science, here is an amazing free software that is just like taking a ride in a NASA sim just for free. It was developed by a professor of University College of London and released for free. It has real physics, so what you do is what a real astronaut would do. It is a free roaming sim, so you may do whatever you want, like going to space station, travel to other planets, land, perform slinghots, etc.

    Orbiter Space Flight Simulator
    it has no sound, so download sound addon and Delta Glider IV addon.

    Tutorial Go Play in Space
    You may begin with this.

  30. P.L. Says:

    Sorry for multiple posts, it did not seem to accept a single post with all these links. Do you think I am going off topic? I am not.

    Why did I post all these links? Because I wanted:
    1.To provide you free educational tools. You have paid enough in your life. It is time for you to enjoy what is free in this life.
    2.To show you there is an alternative to what we call “capitalism” where you pay for nearly everything.

    Free projects where everyone may enjoy the result of the effort of everyone brings more benefit to everyone. And in return for enjoying the work of others you contribute and add your own piece of work so others may enjoy. This maximizes benefit for the community.

    In the case of Orbiter community, just try to avoid topics on religion, politics, economics, and anything controversial. Stay on topic: space flight. Their community welcome people as long as they do not enter in such controversies.

    Also, sourceforge projects which are opensource projects use this model. People contribute for free and everyone gets the benefit. Usually, instead of money, the only reward of such projects for those involved, is a positive comment from users who enjoy it. Isn’t it better than using money.

  31. P.L. Says:

    Ooops, I read the “About” section and I realize you already are in a good path. I thought you were an activist on her own. So take back my “advise” which intended to be somehow positive.

    You already are in the path, and I am sure God will bless you. God does not like his collaborators to be distracted from the mission he put in place. So even if there are obstacles, you will succeed.

    On a side note, I was watching the program “survivor”. have you noticed how is that this program destroys all sense of community? It makes you think people should compete instead of collaborate.

  32. Patricia Says:

    I am enjoying all your comments and links – have have spent nearly 3 hours going to all of the BBC sites and now am working on the other free links…This is a great and supportive list…Thank you so much for sharing so much…

    I appreciate all your time and energies…Yep! I am on a mission, but I seem to be mostly on my own most of the time…

    Trying to break ideas down into smaller bites so it is not so scary for others to enjoy…and try on
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Move Your Money: Vote and Build Your Community =-.

  33. P.L. Says:

    Updates on economic situation:

    US government spending is creating a bubble of apparent stability, but it fuels deficit that increases risk of hyperinflation when banks have covered their toxic assets with real assets and real money from people…

    U.S. budget gap widens in December from year earlier
    The United States racked up a $91.85 billion budget deficit in December, a record for the month, as spending ramped up and receipts fell, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

    This bubble is what the Fed calls “mild economic pickup”…

    Fed says mild economic pickup broadening
    U.S. economic activity remained at a low level as 2010 began but was improving modestly and beginning to broaden out to include wider swaths of the country, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday

    In the meantime, Obama refuses to nationalize and calls for regulation, while SEC does not know how to regulate hedge funds that account 10 times the size of world economy. In 1997 hedge funds suffered a collapse that forced Wall Street banks to bail them out, but no one remembers. Nowadays a collapse of hedge funds would ot be subject to a bailout, since it is far bigger than before.

    Hedge funds seen losing staff to the SEC: survey
    U.S. hedge funds last year lost staff to endowments, sovereign wealth funds and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the trend is likely to continue in 2010, according to a survey by executive recruiter Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.

    Meantime, bankers defend pay as it would be needed to keep the talents that sank US economy and caused so much unemployment. Indeed bankers received a socialist bailout (government intervention with subsidy) that rewarded failure. Yes, bankers are also victims who raised their salaries as bonuses were cut, just like millions of unemployed Americans. Salary raises and bonuses are the new rewards for failure in the new model of American socialist capitalism first implemented by Bush.

    Barons of Wall Street concede failures, defend pay
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top executives of Wall Street’s biggest banks acknowledged broad failures as they testified to a U.S. commission looking into the financial crisis, while the White House said an industry apology was in order.

    Should I laugh or cry?

  34. P.L. Says:

    Our human mission is always on your own. Sometimes you do not suspect the effect of a small action in the future.

    When I was a teen I attended a writing workshop, led by the disciple of a famous writer. The writer died years ago and the disciple was an old man with lots of editorial experience on his own. The workshop was for free, and this was a place where I could learn to play with words, and I realized about the gift, just like those who attended it with me. When the man died, we continued our volunteer work in many areas of life.

    A few continued with the workshop. I did some other efforts in other fields, volunteer work, on my own.

    Once I led a workshop about making comics in a poor community that was very promt to crime. I started with 150 people and ended with 15 because poor people are not persistent. You could say it was “failure”, but no. Now you have 15 artists who will not be criminals, because they will be making comics instead of mugging people. And I was only one student in the writer’s workshop.

    So one person volunteered to help 15. Who knows how many people will benefit in the future from those 15 kids interest for arts.

    Never be discouraged. Making dreams come true is 1% inspiration, 99% transpiration.

  35. P.L. Says:

    About BBC links, you may find that I did not refer to episode 4. The presenter is good for criticizing, but not so good for advocating. In episode 4 he defends an insurance system in Chile that failed in US. The supposed bankruptcy of the japanese system is not caused by the fact that it is run by government, but because of demographic changes, as population are getting older, so less working people are paying so elders may be paid. In this episode 4 he blew it up.

  36. Patricia Says:

    I have been following the financial testimony on the internet the last two days – very, very worrisome stuff …an apology? I am attempting to take action by writing the MOVE YOUR MONEY post…maybe 15 will be inspired to do that and then there will be change… cry or laugh….I work at always picking laugh.

    I saw the episode 4 also….I thought it was weak…Do you know of YES magazine that Korten’s wife is the editor… and have you read the SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi Klein…an historic understanding of how all this weird finance came about…

    Getting out of the “banks too big to fail” seems like a good vote
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Move Your Money: Vote and Build Your Community =-.

  37. Patricia Says:

    I also enjoyed hearing some more of your story – Thank you
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Move Your Money: Vote and Build Your Community =-.

  38. Move Your Money: Vote and Build Your Community | The Biking Architect Says:

    […] is also a suggestion made by David Korten in his book Agenda for a New Economy. It is a noteworthy action because it certainly is a move that has assisted us in building our […]

  39. P.L. Says:

    Bankers knew what was happening, they did a bet and won.
    The factory of money that produces nothing has money that is not “collateralized” (ghost wealth), so financial maneuvers are aimed at transferring ghost money to others and turn ghost money into real assets, while others suffer the loss.

    Sadly, bankers do not acknowledge any faulty behavior.

    Wall St. Ethos Under Scrutiny at Hearing

    Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won

    Bankers in Their Own Words

  40. Patricia Says:

    More good things to read and discover – thank you..
    Life is filling up the spaces right now of my time….my eldest brother is ill – I am it as far as support team…so will be a bit slower responding and exploring until I figure out what I need to do.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Book Review: Born to Run ~ Christopher McDougall =-.

  41. P.L. Says:

    Tell him to go to Costa Rica, rent a cheap home and register before Caja Costaricance de Seguro Social (CCSS) which is equivalent of british NHS. It provides a “seguro voluntario” (voluntary insurance) as independent worker, where you pay (monthly) a percentage of your income (about 15% last time I knew) an you may use government health services as much as you need. You need to live in Costa Rica to applly. It covers most of problems, except for some very complex surgery cases.

    The good thing is that once you pay, you do not need to worry about money. Perhaps the only thing that you may like to take care is the initial paperwork.

    Living in Costa Rica takes a few hundred dollars.
    Renting a small appartment with 2 rooms: $200
    Weekly vegetables at farmers fair (feria del agricultor): $51
    …so you have an idea.
    With $1000 a month he’d be fine making a decent living.

    Paul Krugman, Nobel prize writes…

    Bankers Without a Clue

  42. P.L. Says:

    More on banks.

    Bonuses JP Morgan Chase: $26,900m
    Total international aid to Haiti: $748m

    UPDATED: Haiti earthquake aid pledged by country

    JP Morgan Chase Earns $11.7 Billion in Year

    Do we need a more fair system? Does sense of community matter to healp each other?

  43. P.L. Says:

    BBC documentary in episode 4 has ideas that are consistent with neoliberal libertarian ideas of Milton Friedman, who opposes keynesianism. You may like to dig out what is keynesianism too.

    Canadian journalist Naomi Klein did some research and encouraged to question Friedman’s ideas and economical ideology, because of the disastrous long term results of the implementation of Friedman’s ideas. This video shows an alternate perspective.

    Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine

    Confused? Too many contradictory ideas from different authors?

    When we talk about economy, you may wonder if the economic system system should serve people, or if people should serve the economy. Perhaps this is the key point of debate.