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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Btw, Holacracy One (HO) never answered the question I posed at the end of this post. I was discussing some videos on holacracy on that page and the prior one if you want the context. HO previously was answering my questions but I guess with that one they decided I was beyond reaching.

Even the NeoLiberal mouthpiece Andrew Coyne is letting Canadians know the this country is finished as far as we knew it during the post war era up to 1980.

The NeoLiberals in power here have also passed another massive omnibus bill deconstructing most of the things that were progressive and healthy in this country. The government in power now is a carbon copy of the Bush administration.

Here is a realistic take on what has happened to Canada's mass media:


Here's a tune for these deluded goats of Christianity that have taken over the planet.

This is the energy issue:

And this one on the nationalization of the money supply in light of this:

I'll continue to harp on these two themes because of their utmost importance to our future survival 

A word on the goats of Christianity: for all it's many flaws its a tradition that does know how to repent. It is a choice though, but i'm confident a good choice could be made here. 

A note on the comments section on the banking video: ethnocentrism will never be the correct way to solve these complex issues. The goats of other religions could learn that, too.

Repent what though? Repenting that we are imperfect and make mistakes, taking responsibility for those mistakes, and committing to do better is one thing. Repenting that we are thereby somehow tainted beings in the light of a perfect God who will lead our kind (the house of Noah) into heaven is another matter entirely.

Meanwhile, in the news ....

You first sentence will certainly suffice, even just that movement would be enough to shift the balance in the right direction. The last thing i wish to do on this thread is change the all to important subject matter into a debate about theism. I do however, for the purposes of this thread, think that the ebbs and flows of traditional religion have a roll to play in correcting the imbalances that are happening within western culture. 

It's within that context that i was referencing. We have a prime minister in this country that is a christian zionist and public policy is being drastically changed here because of it. These believers in these radical right wing churches have to be told that they don't represent an accurate portrayal of the teachings of Jesus when it comes to how we are supposed to treat each other (and the planet) within society: with dignity and respect. Surely, this was a point MLK tried to make. Surely, this was a part of the reformation. Surely, this idea is a part of western culture where ever christian people stood up for fairness and equality throughout its history. This is a completely different issue than arguing over the veracity of the bible which god knows i would never do. This is a different issue of highlighting the genocides and atrocities of that religion which i would never argue against; but rather, try to make sure that these distortions don't get further out of control then they already are in our lifetime. The vicar in  Rome even seems to be suggesting this.

Secular people within our culture have a choice to make to. We can wage war against what we perceive as distortion or we can try and argue for a healthy correction and social compromise. Christians are here, they life and work among us, my preference would be to try and negotiate fair and just public policy with them rather than just use the tactic of a full frontal assault on every thing they believe. Am not going to stop you if that's your path Edward but it is certainly not mine. These memes live among us, we have to find a way to compromise on important social issues of justice and equality otherwise, imo, we will all doom ourselves. 

The point i was making above is that any religionist on the planet that is bigoted, racist, sexist, or egotistically greedy is a goat according to one specific evaluation by a man who, apparently, walked on this earth 2000 years ago. 

The second coming of Noah! Praise God.

Balder said:

Meanwhile, in the news ....

"my preference would be to try and negotiate fair and just public policy with them rather than just use the tactic of a full frontal assault on every thing they believe."

Actually I often post things from progressive Christians and give due credit, particularly when it comes to capitalism and budgets. Same for the progressives among other religions, at least in certain areas. But I'll continue to argue for a more progressive enaction of all religions, hence my participation in a forum with such a name. I'm even for a progressive mytho-poetic interpretation of religions, but that if far, far different than a literal belief in the veracity of Biblical ( or Koran etc.) statements.

In this thread I've argued that it is metaphysical beliefs, capitalism being a major one, that creates such strict dichotomies. In capitalism's case, between the purely abstract forms of speculative finance divorced from all concrete or natural resources, leading of course to humongous bubbles that crash the entire economy. It's the same kind of metaphyics when religions have that strict dichotomy between God and man.

Recall this post from p. 3: Pope Francis criticizes unfettered capitalism and trickledown economics. And this one from the same page a little further on, quoting the Pope verbatim.

Recall this post just a couple of weeks ago:

I'm reminded of Rifkin's comments in this post, on how economics was originally formulated based on the well-ordered clock metaphor, enlightened self-interest its invisible hand. All of which was based on the reversible nature of Newtonian physics, which had yet to account for the irreversible nature of time via the laws of thermodynamics. It's that transcendent world divorced from the relative world inherent to metaphysical formal rationality, or false reason. Also remember this Rifkin riff (and following post) relating it to the capitalist economic frame, which must change if we are to survive.

DavidM58's comment in another thread reminded me of this post therein, reiterating my last comments above from yet another source. Same metaphysics.

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