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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Here's an update on the LIBOR scandal that Taibbi called a 'crime so immense it's almost impossible to wrap your mind around it', or something like that.

I am actually surprised that the FDIC is doing something about this. Eric Holder's mantra is usually 'we will not prosecute'. We'll see, according to Mike Whitney congress is in the process of insuring another housing collapse by passing a new law that will insure taxpayers are responsible when people with no money are given mortgages and then default. WTF is fannie and freddie? They truly are right out of the Flintstones!

Your theory about what might have happened is in line with the Neoliberal or Plutocratic "M.O". The horrible shennanagins they pulled in Latin American third world countries in the 50s and 60s (according to Naimi Klien in her book The Shock Doctrine) shows that the NeoLiberal economics folks are not strangers to doing full-out conspiracies. 


andrew said:

Hey Darrell, yes, correct, there is a rabid feeding frenzy up here by the regressive's over this misspending by these left progressives. I've been stewing on this issue all night and have come up with an unlikely alternate explanation for what happened here. It's premised on the fact that everyone in government knows that this type of behaviour is not criminal by the law codes and no one was ever going to be charged for this misspending. Now, in light of that, and considering the behaviour of powerful lefties like Glen Clark ( who switched sides), i am proposing that the regressive Neo-Liberal machine got to these folks in this society. I would like to follow any money trails to off-shore deposits in these peoples names. We know that this society had a bulls-eye on it's forehead  somewhat similar to Iceland in 2008. This kind of progressive system just cannot be tolerated by the NeoLiberal machine anywhere! And sadly, maybe this was just another tactic used. Okay, maybe imaginative and unlikely, but it's just hard for me to wrap my head around this one. Narcissism and a sense of entitlement also explains some of what happened. 

On another somewhat less important topic: from every thing i can recall and remember, i was the first one to use the term Integralite on the old Gaia website in 2005.2006. Naturally, i could be wrong about this, but i never read it anywhere until i used it in a post. Shame on you Brian, for shutting that site down!

Anyway, we all know that condoms are anathema to the archetypes of the old roman church who's structure is very much alive and well today under the guise of global finance. The God Ka$h, the corporate messiah, the holy spirit of profit and the mysterious machinations of fiat currency, with it's apostles, celebrity disciples , Wall St. advertising evangelicals, etc…….

Carry on my Wayward sons!

Hi Darrell, yes, well, for the record, i think my speculation is most likely incorrect; at least i hope so. Yes, i spent a lot of time posting about The Chicago School of economics, Naomi Klein, Neo-Lieberalism, and disaster capitalism. All very much the regressive economic doctrines of goats, imo. Now, the pastoral metaphor is interesting, we all know that goats are very useful creatures; certainly not evil at all. So, what does this mean? Look, when humans experience the unbearable brightness of the right hand of god and choose to turn away from that splendour then omniscience has no choice but to use another method. The gruesome corruption of the left hand path. The end result will be the same: that's just the way it is when one is the unfathomable all……... Now really, i did just have that old Kansas song going through my head earlier  today when i was posting, and really have absolutely no problem with the idea and concept of Dust In The Wind. If that's what it all is. 

This is a paper i think everyone should at least read: The indoctrinated west.

Now, there is obviously much to say for and against what this author said, and i get that he would probably be the first to disagree with my particular interpretation of what he said. My alternative theory of God/Jesus is certainly one way to explain what this guy said. This isn't just about modern Neoliberalism, this behaviour goes back thousands of years. The difference now is that all the earth's bio systems are being brought to their knees. 

Aronofsky must be a monied republican as he has just released the story of Noah! 

Would anyone care to speculate on what Andre Vltchek would say if one gave him a copy of 'A Brief History of Everything', and told him that this should satisfy all his concerns and queries?

There is a populist majority in the US and this is our agenda. But we need to engage and enact it or it will not get done. If we want to provide the infrastructure to give all an equal opportunity to evolve, then put up or shut up.

I think that the economic spectrum of the problems on this planet could be solved fairly straightforwardly by implementing something like a Guaranteed Annual Income tied to inflation combined with education and skills training where the cost is absorbed something like 50/50 by the individual and government. This  is fairly pragmatic and recognizes that the wealthy and the poor seem to be with us always. The issue of sourcing an energy supply to scale civilization which is sustainable is much more problematical.

The toxic behaviour of the elites in the west is only recently tied to America, so i wouldn't take it too personally, and there may still be a chance to negotiate some truly just policies. Not easy though, NeoLiberalism is as close to fascism as it gets while still maintaining a hint of freedom and fairness.

Mr Vitchek has pointed out how NeoLiberal finance is willing to partner with the worst ethnocentric tendencies in humans; hence, the situation in Ukraine. He's not only pointing out the hegemony of finance but also the hegemony of ideas. I don't really know what will work to correct the retrograde motion of civilization over the last 30 years but i can reasonable predict what won't work: the continued insistance that the majority of people must accept extreme austerity while the corporations that run the world are given trillions in welfare; that banks that should fail because of corrupt practices should be given welfare and then rewarded for doing a great job; that politicians continue their downward spiral of corruption by the various world mafias; that the west condescends to the rest of the world that one day they will grow up and take responsibility just as they do; that it continues to be acceptable that extreme luxury belongs juxtaposed to abject poverty. And i am quite sure that we should stop giving nobel peace prizes to those chiefs who allow their troops to cut bullets out of dead flesh to hide botched covert ops. But on the up side over here: as of yet we are not being forced to get haircuts just like our leaders.

Excellent article on the recent NASA paper about the decline of civilization:

His predictions seem likely to me. There is just this nagging sense that the wealthy have this deep rooted magical notion that they have righteously manifested what they have while everyone one else just has lousy karma and is lazy.

From Joseph Stiglitz's, The Price of Inequality

This chapter has illuminated certain stark and uncomfortable facts about the U.S. economy:

(a) Recent US income growth primarily occurs at the top 1 percent.

(b) As a result there is growing inequality. 

(c) And those at the bottom and in the middle are actually worse-off today than they were at the beginning of the century. 

(d) Inequalities in wealth are even greater than inequalities in income. 

(e) Inequalities are apparent not just in income but in a variety of other variables that reflect standards of living, such as insecurity and health. 

(f) Life is particualarly harsh at the bottom--and the recession made it much worse. 

(g) There has been a hollowing out of the middle class. 

(h) There is little income mobility--the notion of America as a land of opportunity is a myth. 

(i) And America has more inequality than any other advanced industrialized country, it does less to correct these inequitites, and inequality is growing more than in many other countries. 



B. Sanders on oligarchy:

A couple of points on this: it's nothing new, this is the history of rule by divine right and today justified by social darwinism. I wouldn't argue against the psychiatric hypothesis for this behaviour but would also suggest a spiritual pathology. Myself, and i don't expect anyone else to buy this; i believe they HATE the poor! Now where do you think that comes from?

Thanks, Andrew for the link. It was a powerful voicing of the truth which a lot of sleepwalkers are simply not hearing. But the momentum seems to be building. Such info is shared more frequently, in more forums. Or so it seems. Is that wishful thinking on my part?  

Never mind the brainwashed right. It may be a long time before facts mean anything to them, so powerful has been the effect of the propoganda. Folks like Bernie Sanders must stand up and speak to whomever can still hear and still reason and still give a damn. 

To the extent that we can work on the dual process of head-on truth to power while at the same time organize and catalyze a great (albeit hardly noticed) outflanking (Trojan Horse style or no) then we can, I believe, turn this impending disaster around. Not sure if we can do it before all hell breaks loose, but we will turn it around. I believe that the force of evolution is on our side. 

The right is getting loud and aggressive because they sense that their way of life is tenuous. Even if the top of the right are living high on the hog, they too feel threatened in their gut, because they sense the changes coming. The harder they push, the more we can be reassured that it's the last gasp of a dying organism. Cornered animals fight like hell. I think that sense, even more than greed, is the driving force behind the power grabs and unequality of income and wealth. Cancer cells reproduce frenetically to compensate for thier distorted DNA. Inner insecurity leads to such excessive compensation. The seemingly great amassing of power by these insecure people is really a house of cards waiting to collapse at any moment. We need to be thinking of ways to help it collapse. But if all we do is fight head on then it will only make the insecure ones push back harder. Creating quicksand under their feet by showing lucrative resource-sharing or resource-sharing approximations such as more pro-social profit sharing corporations will create positive counter-examples to the Plutocratic ways. What can a person say when you beat them at their own game? 


andrew said:

B. Sanders on oligarchy:

A couple of points on this: it's nothing new, this is the history of rule by divine right and today justified by social darwinism. I wouldn't argue against the psychiatric hypothesis for this behaviour but would also suggest a spiritual pathology. Myself, and i don't expect anyone else to buy this; i believe they HATE the poor! Now where do you think that comes from?

In this post I referenced Dierkes' blog post here. Some of it also applies to this thread. (I added the bold type.)

"By framing postmodernism as a cultural value system, integral writers can argue that they are including these values (environmentalism, minority rights, etc) and therefore have incorporated postmodernism into their outlook. They typically then equate modernism with progress and industriousness. So when they offer their integral (or post-postmodern) vision they basically end up advocating a modernist political and economic system with a more compassionate, supposedly postmodern, value system. And this, it is argued, is post-postmodern: transcending while yet including modernism and postmodernism.

"This is how we arrive at ideas like Conscious Capitalism and also, I would argue, Holacracy (note: see Olivier's reponse disputing that point in the comments below). In other words, we are to assume the modernist structure of globalized capitalism and then seek to find ways to bring integral consciousness within that reality (including more postmodern values of sensitivity)."

Recall my appreciation for and criticism of conscious capitalism and holacracy above.

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