For an introduction to this expanding meta-thread see Integral Anti-Capitalism pt I. We continue here because we have, hilariously, exceeded this website's capacity...


I agree that holacracy should be singled out for special investigation. The provocative notion that we are dramatically over-emphasizing the need for "conscious leadership" pertains very pertinently to this discussion. Robertson, like ourselves, is pointing to the fact that business (organizations) which integrally improve the interiors and cultural
spirit of their participants are still predisposed to certain outcomes as a result of their actual structural habits of communication and their specific decision-making protocols.
His notion of a constantly self-correcting dynamic organization drawing upon the capacity of individuals to act as tension-sensors relative to the "evolutionary purpose" of the organization is compelling and admirable.

More important is simply that he is making a stand and making an attempt to construct a protocol (constitution). I am not fully versed in the 4.0 version of the holacracy constitution but we should get deeper into some of these proposals.  

Given the level of your current knowledge of their protocols, what would you want to change or add in order to ethically and functionally empower this approach even more?


First some housekeeping in providing links in part I to comments on holacracy: their website, comment 1, comment 2, comment 3 (and 3 more on p. 7), and the first 7 comments on p. 8

I’m not yet familiar enough with holacracy to know it might need. So for now I’ll ask questions.  From p. 8 there was a blog post on ownership and the model might (but not necessarily) include outside capital investors. I asked:

“One question immediately pops up on outside investors. Are there limits on the amount of outside capital investment? What if their investment is such that without it the company could not financially survive? And/or depends on it for start-up? Then such investment would control the company, like it or not. If you don't do what I say I'm taking my ball and going home. No ball, no ballgame. Not the same as a mortgage or loan company.”

Granted why such investors are included on the Board there are other stake-holders to balance their input. But are there rules about which outside individuals or companies can invest? Do they have to have similar values like triple bottom lines instead of just profit for their investors? Can a Goldman Sachs provide start-up capital? Or Romeny’s ex-firm, Bain? Just wondering, so perhaps it’s time for those out there more familiar with the system to engage us?


I appreciate your inquiry about the potential influence of outside investors in holacratic systems. Perhaps they have a good protocol for that. Or perhaps not. In general, all "smart groups" need to comprehend and anticipate the distortion influence that donors and enablers wield. The psychology of human nature shows that we may believe ourselves to be quite sturdy and impartial while we are really bending in the breeze.

One of the concerns I had while perusing the holacracy constitution was about the voting procedure for filling roles. There are many parts of their approach which impress. In particular I would like to make not of the necessity to place constraints upon discussion. When the mention of a concern is met with the mention of counter-concerns then the intelligence and practical efficacy of discussions drops dramatically. A highly suspicious mind might even supposed that the human hive is encouraged to engage in the constant casual usage of dysfunctional conversation. So their use of controlled phases in both operational and hiring decisions is admirable. However, their actual voting protocol seems (to my naive glance) to be based on a model of transparent majority. A sophisticated "show of hands".

So this may be an area in which holacratic principles can be expanded to include a more thorough use of "secret ballot" and "averaged ranking".

The former often seems like a show of bad faith and an invitation to covert dangers... but these are considerably outweighed by the liberation of individual intelligence from any conscious or unconscious concerns about the social consequences of their input.

The latter evades a primitive "first past the post" approach in which our intelligence is functionally limited to a yes/no determination about each candidate relative to other candidates.

Another thing I admire about holacracy is that it represents a functional procedure and culture in which participants would appear to become better participants by participating. Their capacity and ethical commitment to the good of the organization through its evolving protocols should be an increasing trend. Any smart group needs to be arranged so that even people who try to distort the results will find their capacity and will to do this reducing over time. Replaced by the inspirational efficacy of the group.

This brings me to another issue relative to voting, both in political and economic groups. That is the relative absence of specific instructions about how to translated ones feelings into a vote-mark. This is almost completely unaddressed in terms of popular elections. To discuss it even seems insidious to some people who fear coercion (and/or wish to maintain the current material power structures).

Protocols should have at least a clear suggestion about how to locate both "gut" and "intellectual" data within ourselves and convert that into a numerical value which can be contributed to a group decision. A lack of clarification at this critical junction may act as an invisible source of drag upon an otherwise very functional group organism.

It might even be possible to define an "integral-level organizational set up" for business or politics by simply compiling a list of areas in which intelligence and capacity are distorted. We might recall that most of Wilber's philosophy has emerged in levels correlated to his discovery of "fallacies" or "basic errors". Integral proposals about business and society could be all over the map unless there is a reasonable set of constraints that make sure they fall in the most lucrative zone.

So other than the potential influence of outside "helpers" and "donors" what other sources of distortion or inhibition do you see going mostly unaddressed in otherwise progressive groups?


My next question of holacracy is who came up with it? It seems to be the pet project of Brian Robertson, his own brainchild. I'm wondering if that is so of if it was a community or P2P project? I mean, the structure of holacracy itself calls for distributed decision-making but was the creation of holacracy itself derived from this process or mostly dictated by Robertson? I've yet to find an answer at the site so I posed this question to them via contact info. I'll provide the response if/when received. I think the answer is pivotal in determining if this thing called holacracy arose from its own medicine.


I look forward that answer if it is forthcoming. The notion of self-arising systems is something which haunts the periphery of these discussions. My fantasy is that we can devise a group protocol which so reliably and simply exceeds the cognitive capacity of the individual participants that it would be foolish to predetermine the purpose and nature of the group. Collectively we could a better job of determining what kind of a collective we should be. "Smartgroups" of this kind could then spread through the world in a very radical social uprising. How possible that is remains uncertain...

As I understand holacracy, the different companies making use of it are assumed to engage in their own mutational modifications of the "constitution". So even if Brian wrote the whole thing out in his bathtub it still retains an open source quality. The answer to whether its current forms are or are not the result of distributed decision-making is almost certainly: sort of.

One of the reasons the holacracy approach is so amenable to business organization is that it seems to depend upon the functional axis of a specified purpose. The aim is somewhat pregiven -- our job is to sell widgets or maximize share-holder profit, etc. His use of the metaphor of the sensors on an airplane derives from a mechanism that is assumed to be designed for a well-known purpose.

My question would be whether or not this "aim" is a necessarily functional element in generating enhanced organizational capacity? Or whether it is simply an artifact of the need to make these systems serve a relatively conventional marketplace task?


Your suggestion of a smart group that arises creatively from a continually evolving set of parameters seems to be the intent and practice of holacracy. As to the organizational purpose of Holacracy One, it seems to have multiple bottom lines including but not limited to profit. For example, see this post in the comments where I noted that the top to bottom pay ratio is 3 to 1, and quoted some of those multiple purposes:

"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authoritythe separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."

This sounds much more like the sort of emerging P2P organizational structure discussed throughout this thread. And also of significance in the post following this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."

These are indeed advances over the kind of conscious capitalism promoted and AQALly packaged for sale at I-I.


(comment pending)

This is an interesting moment. Apparently is experimenting with a version of holacracy as well. It clearly represents a theoretical advance over the typical kind of conscious capitalism which combines advanced sentiments with a potentially dangerous and uninspected ideological allegiance to more primitive routines of social organization and wealth production. Yet we cannot know the results of the experiment in advance.

I have tremendous optimism about emergent p2p organizational structures. Experimentation is utterly necessary and should be strongly encouraged. I am also very hopeful that advances can be made in terms of quantification. This is very central in my thinking lately.

It seems that experimental protocols for advances social organization systems suffer from the lack of a quantifiable evaluation of their respective degrees of "collective intelligence". Most people are drawn to such possibilities by ethical and aesthetic criteria which do no necessarily persuade the world. So I would love to see experimentation supplemented by the attempt to devise a metric for estimating the intelligence of a social organization protocol.

Along similar lines, my "tetrabucks" type notions represent the possibility/necessity to structure our currency at a level that correlates to advanced P2P organizational structures and post-pluralistic consciousness.

The potential of an evil holacracy has hardly been broached. If it works -- it works. Other than simply the tendency of less complex people not to use more complex systems, and the tendency of more complex systems to complexify their participants, there needs to be some inter-organizational structures which incline all organizations int he direction of broad human well-being. It is my assertion that as long as primary areas of value remain outside monetization the actions of groups trying to utilize official social credits will constantly become unstable.

So I am imagining a line leading from pathological capitalism to standard capitalism to conscious capitalism to trans-capitalist network organizations to such organizations bound together by a integrated set of metrics for determining the intelligence of groups and splicing together (at least) four broad domains of human value.

Along these lines -- how will we decide whether holacratic integral business is working better?


As to how we determine whether alternative economic paradigms are 'working,' I'd suggest that even by the standards of typical business democratic workplaces like co-ops are successful. If by that we mean the organization runs smoothly, has low employee turnover, high employee satisfaction, makes a profit or surplus over operating costs, and other such typical measures. Plus they fulfill their stated purposes as expressed in theRochdale principles, like community education, cooperation, democratic control, etc.

I'd say the same applies to holacracy. They also have to accomplish the usual business parameters like above but also meet stated principles like in their constitution. Given Robertson's business acumen I'm sure at the site he has precise and measurable indices to track such progress, though I didn't try to find them as yet.


(comment pending)

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Awesome! I've been lamenting on-line since 2005 that there is no where on earth that escaped the reach or toxic grasp of the central bankers and their oil henchmen with their monological vision of society. And although, as far i know, India has embraced neoliberalism with its concomitant inequality, I am nevertheless, thrilled to see this! At this level of integration one no longer has to talk about god as one is actually living as god would want one to live. 

IMO, one of the esoteric agendas of capitalism is to turn lowly developed individuals into self -entitled narcissists through capitalist homeownership. I've witnessed this to be true over 50 years in this country and see first hand from a spiritual perspective how damaging this is on almost every level of being. Perhaps an economic system where Ka$h wasn't king and mammon wasn't served, one possibly could have healthy homeownership, but that emphatically is not the case today. What we have today, implemented by a thousand white men over 200 years is a global disaster. One could also look to my Noah thread for an alternative explanation for these tragic happenings.

To even hint that Tony Blair and people like him are working from an Integral level of consciousness is sickening and disgusting. The people in Auroville are implementing Integral consciousness, imo. There is no inherent reason why Christian communities couldn't be patterned on this model at this level of being. The Roman church and the Reformation churches(modern evangelical) have been exceedingly efficient at spreading a false gospel of christ.

I should prolly mention that India's embrace of neoliberalism is rather natural in that neoliberalism IS the enactment of the Indian caste system framed within modern economic jargon.

I wanted to let Darrell and Joseph(and whoever else) know that I can't respond to every post on this site and not to take any non replies personally. Also, this is a medium that i severely struggle with, although I can tell great writers like nickeson and kela; I sure as hell can't write like them.

I tip a cup of soma in dionysian spirit to you all!

Now Pope Francis is calling for "legitimate redistribution" of wealth to the poor. He's also denied being a Marxist, in fact battling it for years in Argentina. He's just into justice and dignity for all, but to regressive capitalists those qualities are the most heinous of crimes standing in the way of greed and corruption.

Bi-partisan capitalist report: climate change is bad for business.

Telling Piketty The Real Reason Why Economies Can't Keep Growing

by Noel Ortega, originally published by Foreign Policy in Focus

True, but Rifkin addresses this move from capitalist consumption to commons sharing, thereby aligning with a sustainable biospheric capacity. The likes of Picketty's tax-the-rich scheme may still operate in the capitalist system, but it might also be a necessary fix at that level to set up conditions toward the sort of Commons on which Rifkin reports. I also said previously that I see that as the transitional role of Senators Sanders and Warren, though they also seem to want to implement some of those infrastructural bases from which to support the Commons: net neutrality, investment in science/tech paid for by getting adequate tax revenue from the rich, punishing polluters and creating better environmental standards, creating a fair playing field where the average Joe can start an RE business, etc.

There has been much talk in integral circles about trans-partisanship, on how we work together to implement a better political system. Unfortunately this usually revolves around selling the AQAL model, that to achieve this end we must use this particular model not only to understand the problem but to implement its solution. That is, we have to teach this model to government officials which will thereby elevate their personal level of understanding so that they can then use the model for coordinating such trans-partisanship.

On the other hand we have the likes of Ralph Nader, who it seems has never heard of such a model and is making inroads into just the sort of trans-partisanship necessary to overcome what has become a fascist oligarchy in the US. His new book Unstoppable documents the already existing coalitions where right and left have come together on key issues like minimum wage, Wall Street crime, corporate welfare, civil liberties and more. He recently sponsored a conference where there was ample discussion from the left and right on how they are teaming up to fight the fascist State-Corp alliance and are achieving results. If you want to see how a real integral agenda gets trans-partisanship done see this, instead of investing in some pipe dream that requires one to swallow (buy) its trademarked and ironically partisan (and capitalist) theoretical model hook, line and sinker before anything even gets off the ground.

If as some have proposed we accept the tenet that a true integralist can implement its agenda without ever mentioning the word 'integral,' or requiring the implementation of a model derived therefrom, or that some are doing integral work already without any knowledge of the foregoing, then Nader might very well be such an example. He is certainly accomplishing trans-partisanship and empowering the people while kennilingus is not. In that case who really gives a fuck if it's 'integral' in the kennilingus sense?

Sounds promising.  Remember that Nader originally became famous for bringing to light issues around Safety, truly a trans-partisan issue.

Fascinating article!

The open source revolution is coming and it will conquer the 1% - ex CIA spy

The man who trained more than 66 countries in open source methods calls for re-invention of intelligence to re-engineer Earth

I first came across David Robert Steele as a top reviewer on Amazon. His glowing "six star" review of Edgar Morin's "Homeland Earth" convinced me to buy it ("Rarely have I encountered a mind this deep and this broad. He easily is a peer if not outrageously beyond Buckminster Fuller, Russell Ackoff, and the rest of us modern holistics.")

Very interesting to hear a former Marine, CIA case officer, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps Intelligence Activity so intelligently discuss the complex array of issues with a systems thinking approach and recommending "open source intelligence," and in fact "open source everything."

"Over the course of the last centuries, the commons was fenced, and everything from agriculture to water was commoditised without regard to the true cost in non-renewable resources. Human beings, who had spent centuries evolving away from slavery, were re-commoditised by the Industrial Era."

Encouraging indeed. I read recently that the US intelligence agencies did an analysis that climate change is already causing serious national security risks, and will only continue to get worse without change. As is typical, House Republicans then directed those agencies to stop such reports.

Another good piece of news: reached its second crowdfunding goal of $5 million today, just beating the deadline.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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