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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Bruce Kunkel recommended this on his FB feed:  Killing the Host


Thanks for the link.  Paul Craig Roberts is someone to follow and pay attention to. I'm not familiar with Hudson, but now will look into. 

The beginning of the article mentions Hudson trying to get George Lukacs (and Trotsky) published. This reminds me of this Peter Pogany paper presented to the Gebser Society in 2013, in which he argues that George Lukacs was a strong influence, even though never referenced directly by Gebser:

Tributaries to Gebser’s Social Thought (presented October 2013) [Download pdf]

“Gebser’s archeology of consciousness with its unstoppable gravitation toward its natural immanence contains a vital core of social philosophy.

He despised both Nazism and Communism without becoming an ideological spokesman of Western-style consumer capitalism. He saw crisis coming “big time,” ushering in renewal.

Mutation toward universally “intensified awareness” (Gebser, 1984 — henceforth EPO — p. 335) means the liberation of the individual from anxiety (EPO, pp. 360 and 361) and alienation manifest in “isolation and collectivism” (EPO, p. 358). How could such a portentous transformation occur without a change in the substance and form and politics, without new, hitherto unseen social and economic institutions, without a new statecraft, without a new form of global self-organization? Despite his occasional beatific overtones and his generally theoretic-aesthetic disposition, Gebser was not a pessimistic quietist.”

Re theurj's comment about Kevin Cruse's book One Nation Under God:

 A week ago I attended the funeral of my daughter-in-law's grandmother who was a member of a rural Presbetarian church. During the after-funeral-brunch/gathering (as rural churches do), Becky (my wife) and I sat across from the minister and his wife. I never broached the topic  "about that Calvinism belief in the elect ..." , but kind of wish I had, in order to get his take on it. I suspect that the notion of predetermined "blessed" ones leave room for free will or something like an epigenetic override once you get into the nuances of Calvin's theology, but that certainly is not the stereotype of Calvinism. The stereotype is that it would likely be the foundation of prosperity theology, fertile soil for planting the seeds of exceptionalism and Christian capitalism (which, to me,  seems about as far from the essence of Christ's teachings as one could get).

 I'll have to get and read that book. In a self-published book (good luck getting hold of a copy! -- I have one though), Social Theology, by Werner Lang (a professor at Edinborro University, Pa, where my youngest son graduated from), mention was made about an astroturf-like squashing of the social gospel starting (as I recall) around the time period of 1930s. I think the social gospel movement itself started around the turn of the century, but was starting to be challenged by an individual salvation meme promoted by capitalistic church leaders by the 1930s or so. I'll have to go back and see how Lang reported that history.

This historical account is at least in the ballpark of what Cruse reports in his book. Efforts from the LR to engineer or shape the LL, in the form of "Christian Conservatism" have apparently been going on for quite some time.

Will Ted Cruse (not likely related to this "Cruse"! "Cruse" or "Cruze" ?) gain traction in SC  and the south, via this successful propaganda-like distortion of my chosen faith (Christianity)? It pains me to see the legitimate spiritual vehicle that I have opted to "ride" in and use, bastardized as the Ted Cruses's of the world, and the conspirators before him have done.

I am really getting into some Open Source literature lately. I'm thinking about organizing a local labor trading movement in a disenfranchised area of Columbus where my church has a mission house. Charity alone does little to transcend the horrible "loser" metamessage internalized by some of the citizens in such impoverished/disenfranchised areas. An inventory of trade-worthy human resources which can be mobilized and translated into money, a kind of "gift economy," could be a valuable starting point for psycho/socially refranchising the "losers" into "winners." A "Lakelord" trust fund for providing rent-to-own housing (linked to the local trade system, so that jobless renters/tenets could "pay" rent with locally-offered labor or "sweat equity") is also being brewed in my open-source inspired mind. The inspiration for a local labor trading system came largely from Charles Hugh Smith's CLIME (Community Labor Integrated Money Economy) proposed system in his book A Radically Beneficial World. I'm also reading Robert David Steele's book The Open-Source Everything Manifesto.

  The ideas seem right in line with Rifkin's collaborative commons notions and many other points he makes in his various books. Would it be right to say that Rifkin is part of the "Open-Source" movement?



theurj said:

See this Chris Hedges article. It's a similar argument used for conscious capitalism. An excerpt:

"The self-identified religious institutions that thrive preach the perverted 'prosperity gospel,' the message that magic Jesus will make you rich, respected and powerful if you believe in him. Jesus, they claim, is an American capitalist, bigot and ardent imperialist. These sects selectively lift passages from the Bible to justify the unjustifiable, including homophobia, war, racism against Muslims, and the death penalty."

"The doctrine these sects preach is Christian heresy. The Christian faith—as in the 1930s under Germany’s pro-Nazi Christian church—is being distorted to sanctify nationalism, unregulated capitalism and militarism. The mainstream church, which refuses to denounce these heretics as heretics, a decision made in the name of tolerance, tacitly gives these sects credibility and squanders the prophetic voice of the church."

"Kevin Kruse in his book One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, details how industrialists in the 1930s and 1940s poured money and resources into an effort to silence the social witness of the mainstream church, which was home to many radicals, socialists and proponents of the New Deal. These corporatists promoted and funded a brand of Christianity—which is today dominant—that conflates faith with free enterprise and American exceptionalism. The rich are rich, this creed goes, not because they are greedy or privileged, not because they use their power to their own advantage, not because they oppress the poor and the vulnerable, but because they are blessed. And if we have enough faith, this heretical form of Christianity claims, God will bless the rest of us too. It is an inversion of the central message of the Gospel. You don’t need to spend three years at Harvard Divinity School as I did to figure that out."

Yes, Rifkin's reporting on the Commons includes open-source everything. And thanks for your local church work with the downtrodden.

Yes, the Kevin Kruse book looks very interesting! Another older book that helps explain the rise of the religious right in the U.S. is Living in the Shadow of the Second Coming by Timothy Weber (though he doesn't talk specifically about connections to corporate America as far as I can remember).  He also has On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Isreal's Best Friend, which I haven't read. 

The new Integral Review is out and this article is of particular interest to this thread: "Orange capitalism--and then what?" It starts with a review of 2 books, Memenomics by Dawlabani and From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Scharmer. It then offers the author's own speculations on a turquoise economy. I'll post more after I read it.

“So what is Dawlabani proposing as a solution and way forward for the American economy after this Orange collapse? Perhaps an economic system based on the Green 6th level value system?! Well, not really. […] There is no consistent and functioning Green vMeme economic system described or discussed here. Shouldn’t the Green economic system, whatever that is, have its cycle with all its phases? Shouldn’t stages not be skipped?! Instead of elaborating on a green system as a solution to the orange problems, Dawlabani moves on and proposes a Yellow system, which he refers to as Functional Capitalism. […] The Green value system, however, is in my view oversimplified. In order to integrate values at a higher level, the lower ones need to be accurately understood and described. And the key to do that, I believe, is to acquire a deeper understanding of the life conditions and problems that are associated with the Green value system and created by the Orange systems. Here I find the second book more elaborate” (131-32).

“Dawlabani sees the development of the US economic system in the last decades as in transition from blue to orange while Scharmer and Kaufer argues that it has moved from 2.0 (orange) towards 3.0 already after the great depression in the 1930’s and then regressing during the Reagan years. [...] Thus, their view of the current market oriented system as being a result of a regression is more problematizing than Dawlabani’s as they refer to 2.0 as an ego-system economy. […] Another inconsistency is that Dawlabani views the information revolution as belonging to the Green value system while Scharmer and Kaufer sees it as corresponding to Society 4.0 (the reverse relation holds to Google as a company that Dawlabani considers to be Yellow while Scharmer and Kaufer sees it as 3.0). (137-38).

On the last quote, I'm more in line with Scharmer in that the US economy has regressed from the 3.0 of FDR back to the neo-liberal/social democracy mix of 2.5. Sanders is trying to move it back to 3.0. I'm also more aligned with Scharmer that conscious capitalism is more 3.0, not 4.0. This seems a result of the skipping green syndrome noted earlier and conflating these levels.

Here's Senator Warren on the Morgan Stanley settlement, quoting:

If a young guy is caught red-handed stealing a car, he’s likely facing arrest, prosecution and jail time. But that’s not how it works for big bank executives. The Justice Department found an email from a Morgan Stanley executive specifically instructing a colleague to hide critical facts about the problems with the mortgages in the mortgage-backed securities the bank was selling to investors. When those mortgages later blew up, they helped spark the 2008 financial crisis and a massive taxpayer bailout. In spite of that smoking gun – and many others – the Justice Department announced a settlement with Morgan Stanley yesterday that doesn’t hold a single live human being accountable for the type of fraud that ultimately cheated investors out of tens of millions of dollars and cost millions more people their homes, their jobs, and their savings.

These guys broke the law, and they did for the oldest reason in the books: to make more money. They didn’t care who they cheated, so long as they got what they wanted. And now, the company will pay a fine, and tonight every executive who plotted, planned and scammed can go home to his family, spend his fat bonus and smile all the way – no arrest, no prosecution, no jail time.

Last week, I spoke on the Senate floor about the government’s failure to enforce the laws against big companies and their executives. The Morgan Stanley settlement just hammers the point home. There are two justice systems in this country – one for the wealthy and powerful who know how to steal millions, and one for everyone else.

Enough is enough.

Thanks for the link to Kristian Stalne's review of the two books above. I look forward to reading it in full. 

Here is something from the latest Kosmos Journal, "Regenerative Economies for a Regenerative Civilization". Very promising, as it so far seems to be consistent with both PatternDynamics and Permaculture Principles, and informed by the Ecological Economics work of Herman Daly. 

"The centerpiece of this story is that systems that last in the real world—i.e., truly ‘sustainable systems’—are systems that are healthy, regenerative energy flow networks.4 (Science now understands that everything, from matter to living beings and even human consciousness, is all energy.) While highly diverse and context-specific, vibrant systems follow a consistent pattern, one in alignment with the eight principles summarized below..."

Agreed. Scharmer's scheme is much more closely aligned with my views.

Disappointing to read that Dawlabani "rather sweepingly" dismisses Green. So the statement, as you pointed out is apt: "Shouldn't stages not be skipped?" And why do so many integralists fail to do the subject/object move to the extent of being capable of noticing that they are favoring a lower stage (Orange)?

Reading Stalne's summary of Scharmer and Kaufer's developmental framework, one could also correlate these with Gebser's structures of consciousness, and with Peter Pogany's Global Systems structures.

Society 0.0 would correlate with Magic; 1.0 would correlate with Mythic (and with early stage Mental-Rational, probably; and with Pogany's Global System 0. 

Society 2.0, associated with the industrial revolution and laissez-fair economics correlates with the mental-rational structure, and with what Pogany calls Global System 1.

Society 3.0 would still be within Gebser's Mental-Rational (Gebser didn't foresee an interveening "Green" or postmodern stage); but it does correlate with Pogany's Global System 2, which Pogany, like Scharmer sees as a reaction, or attempted reformation of the deficiencies of Global System 1.

Society 4.0 would herald the integral stage, or what Pogany calls Global System 3.

I appreciate Stalne's brief rundown of the topic "Sustainability" under his discussion of "The Challenges of the 3.0 Society or the Postmodern World." Stalne admits to adding a few of his own sources on this topic, which I would guess might be the paragraph about energy. For more on this topic, read this article by Stalne over at Integral World; Stalne and Svein Horn also presented an award winning paper on peak oil and integral at the IEC 2014 conference - worth trying to get a hold of.  Back to this review, he states "In terms of energy we are possibly not only approaching a full world but one that is shrinking."

If anyone doubts "peak oil" is still a legitimate concern, read recent posts here and here and especially here.

I would have to agree with Scharmer and Kaufer that Society 3.0 is not up to the task of dealing with the current series of crises.  However, it also looks to me that the 4.0 is not as well thought out as it might be. The circular economy based on Cradle to Cradle principles of Braungart and McDonough is good as far as it goes, but...

Stalne points out that "the book does not refer to any theory from the field of adult development or integral theory in further elaborating on what they mean by evolution of consciousness, a connection that needs to be further addressed."

Rather than just relating it to the Spiral Dynamics model, as Stalne does, I believe all integral thinkers would be well served to dive into a deep meditation on Gebser's Ever-Present Origin.

Stalne closes with some of his own suggestions of resources for Yellow economic systems, including Tim Jackson's "Property Without Growth," Robert Costanza's "An Introduction to Ecological Economics" and Gunner Rundgren's "Garden Earth: From hunter and Gatherers to Global Capitalism and Thereafter."

All good resources, I'm sure. I will add, once again, that for any consideration of Integral Economics, one absolutely needs to include Peter Pogany's work. Pogany was a practicing economist at a high level for many years before he began his own short-lived public writing career. Combine his real world experience as an economist, a holistic perspective that was also well versed in numerous other disciplines enabling truly integrative thinking, a deep understanding of Jean Gebser, and deep understanding of our current ecological AND energy crisis, and you get a very important body of work. 

theurj said:

On the last quote, I'm more in line with Scharmer in that the US economy has regressed from the 3.0 of FDR back to the neo-liberal/social democracy mix of 2.5. Sanders is trying to move it back to 3.0. I'm also more aligned with Scharmer that conscious capitalism is more 3.0, not 4.0. This seems a result of the skipping green syndrome noted earlier and conflating these levels.

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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?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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