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)

Views: 8764

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Here's a bit more information on them.

i think any discussion of integral anti-capitalism must first of all go beyond the orthodox misdirection in the phrase "the big three" of truth, beauty, and the good.

am i the only one who notices the discrepancy in saying the 'the big three' when there are FOUR quadrants?  moreover, truth, beauty, and goodness are not the only archetypal forms of ideas discussed by plato.

if we look at the lower-right quadrant as the inter-objective relation of objects within a system, the obvious conclusion is that it is the dimension of justice, of balance or imbalance, symmetry or asymmetry, equity or inequity between the parts of a system.

so why hasnt this been a central focus of discussion around integral political-economy and any critical theory of capitalism that claims to be integral?  i would go so far as to say that integral ideas have failed to be relevant to the larger world of political activism and helping to solve global problems precisely to the extent that it has ignored this issue of an absence of any notion of justice within the wilberian integral model.

"So why hasn't this been a central focus of discussion around integral political-economy and any critical theory of capitalism that claims to be integral?"

It has been for years in this forum and its predecessor forum at Gaia. Have you read this thread and the first anti-capitalism thread? And the links and comments referenced in each? Granted we're not strictly kennilingus but we're integral. Please consider investing an hour or two to see the references and you'll likely find what you claim is missing.

A statement from this post:

"A friend in Mexico wrote me an email recently about McDonalds taking advantage of the young by paying them minimum wage there. I asked, is anyone else there willing to employ them for more or would they be completely jobless and more broke without that job?"

I just saw 12 Years a Slave. Combined with the above statement I'm reminded of this post quoting David Loy:

"One might argue…that there are good corporations….The same argument can be made for slavery, there were some good slave owners…. This does not refute the fact that slavery was intolerable…. And it is just as intolerable that today....transnational corporations are defective economic institutions due to the basic way they are structured."

Same argument used by slave and capital owners. Why, we give them work, clothing, shelter. What do they have to complain about? It's just the capital owners, due to progressive laws that forbids actually slavery, have 'evolved' the concept into wage slavery, keeping workers impoverished and in need to buy the very cheap products their slave labor produces. Meanwhile the factory workers overseas get even less, in unsafe working conditions because they don't have such laws there, and when they die in fires it's like "that ain't our responsibility." Yes, perhaps without those jobs, like without actual slavery, those folks might be worse off. So that's a valid reason to enslave them, literally or with poverty wages? Take this shit job or die? Great humanitarian sentiment.

theurj -

im talking specifically about putting justice on an equal footing with truth, beauty, and goodness within the wilberian aqal model, and why that hasnt been done.  people have been addressing anti-capitalist alternatives in general since marx.

im the only one i know of that has specifically designated the lower-right quadrant to be that of justice, and not lumping it together with either exterior 'its' or as an epiphenomena of the moral dimension.  we cant have a clear discussion of integral critical theory until those categories have been clearly named and designated for heuristic purposes.

If you're talking about this specifically with reference to kennilingus, then Joe Corbett has written about justice in the lower right quadrant (like here for one). Unless you are Joe? I can't tell from your IPS profile your real identity.

In any case, while I don't specifically delineate justice in the lower right quadrant it's because I long ago gave up putting things in kennilingus quadrant terms. I not only do not find that model useful but to the contrary obfuscating. Nonetheless, I and many others address justice as well as socio-economics systems in developmental terms and have criticized kennilingus in this regard while also providing ample examples of the next wave in justice and economics.

I mentioned the Pope's statement on trickle-down, piss-on-the-poor economics earlier. I'd now like to provide an extended quote from this source. One can see the Pope's entire statement here. Seems the Pope is a progressive, at least in some ways. I say Alleluia!

"As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.

"I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare.

"I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth.

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

"We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

"This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.

"The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

"Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

"It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers.’"

See this article, "Three principles of progressive economics." It's not only about progressive values but how to frame them. And it's not by Lakoff! You'll note that Obama is using this advice in his speeches. I've enclosed some charts. See the link for the explanations. Also see this link to Progressive Majority Action, which has a lot of info on framing for particular issues. Therein they also offer a free download of a 67-page booklet, "Voicing Our Values."

Don’t say . . .

Say . . .

Free markets

Free enterprise


Fair markets

Level playing field

Rigging the rules, gaming the system

Stacking the deck

An economy that works for all of us

Say . . .

Our system works when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone gives their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. My opponent’s policies are not fair; they rig the system to benefit the rich over the rest of us. My policies would promote fair markets so that every American who works hard and plays by the rules has the opportunity to live the American Dream. 

Don’t say . . .

Say . . .

Job creators

Supply side



Grow from the middle out, not the top down

The disappearing middle class

Trickle-down economics

Unfair breaks and bailouts to Wall Street banks and giant corporations

The economic system isn’t working for the 99% 

Say . . .

The middle class is the engine of our prosperity. Our economy succeeds when it grows from the middle out, not from the top down. We need to stop giving tax breaks, bailouts, and other special treatment to the Wall Street banks, giant corporations, and rich individuals. We need to start building a fair market economy that provides every American a fair chance to succeed. 

Don’t say . . .

Say . . .

All earnings are the same


Creating real wealth

An honest day’s work

Economic predators

Wall Street speculators

Rigging, cheating, churning, loopholes 

Say . . .

We need an economy that’s fair to everyone. That means structuring a system that not only rewards people for hard work and innovation, but also discourages people from cheating the system or passing costs to the community. We need rules of the road that make economic competition fair and open and honest. 

it doesnt matter what obama says, it only matters what he does by appointing the same neoliberals to office that crashed the economy in the first place and continue to advance business-class and investor interests over the interests of common working people.  you might even say that obama's rhetoric is the ideological slight of hand that is needed to lull the liberals into following him into the trap he has set with his neoliberal action agenda (such as the tpp), straight out of the blue-dog book of his idolized mentor, bill clinton.

and as for the pope, lets see if he doesnt get assassinated by some working-class dupe of the international fascists.

No, I'm not being duped or lulled by Obama. I'm fully aware of his policies as are other progressives like Senator Sanders and Representative Grayson.* Obamacare for example is largely a gift to health insurance companies when progressives were for single government payer, or at least a public option. Still, Obamacare is better than what we had before by a lot. And nevertheless, effective framing is a key ingredient for combating the relentless and well-financed regressive spin machine, and at least starting to institute progressives values in government. We're not going to get there without it.

* As are progressive media like Ed Shultz and Rachel Maddow. You'll get just as much Obama criticism from them as praise, unlike regressive media which all echo the same things.

Reply to Discussion


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.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2024   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service