Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
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?
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 authority, the 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.
This is an interesting moment. Apparently Amazon.com 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.
Even the general terms 'democratic socialism' has many variants. From the wiki on democratic socialism:
"In contrast, other definitions of democratic socialism sharply distinguish it from social democracy. For example, Peter Hain classifies democratic socialism, along with libertarian socialism, as a form of anti-authoritarian 'socialism from below' (using the term popularised by Hal Draper), in contrast to Stalinism and social democracy, variants of authoritarian state socialism. For Hain, this democratic/authoritarian divide is more important than the revolutionary/reformist divide. In this definition, it is the active participation of the population as a whole, and workers in particular, in the management of economy that characterises democratic socialism, while nationalisation and economic planning (whether controlled by an elected government or not) are characteristic of state socialism."
From the Democratic Socialists of America who include in their ranks Cornell West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem and Bernie Sanders:
"At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. For example, we support reforms that:
decrease the influence of money in politics
empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy
restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.
We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society."
A few excerpts from "where we stand":
"We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources,meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
A democratic socialist politics for the 21st century must promote an international solidarity dedicated to raising living standards across the globe, rather than "leveling down" in the name of maximizing profits and economic efficiency. Equality, solidarity, and democracy can only be achieved through international political and social cooperation aimed at ensuring that economic institutions benefit all people. Democratic socialists are dedicated to building truly international social movements - of unionists, environmentalists, feminists, and people of color -that together can elevate global justice over brutalizing global competition.
In the United States, we must fight for a humane public policies that will provide quality health care, education, and job training and that redirect public investment from the military to much-neglected urban housing and infrastructure. Such policies require the support of a majoritarian coalition of trade unionists, people of color, feminists, gays and lesbians and all other peoples committed to democratic change. Our greatest contribution as American socialists to global social justice is to build that coalition, which is key to transforming the power relations of global capitalism."
Also see this wiki on libertarian socialism. Some of its general characteristics are quite similar to Corbett's vision. It maintains personal private property while communalizing the means of production. Direct democracy is promoted in decentralized local and regional geographies through unions and worker councils. In resonance with this thread, they tend toward anti-capitalism. One can see though that there are many varieties and hybrids of this in history. Not included is integral libertarian socialism, so one so disposed (perhaps Corbett) could add that to the wiki?
it's amazing how relevant marx still is today, despite the fact that everyone seems so fond of saying how marx was wrong so we need to ignore him now, as if stalin and the collapse of the soviet union proves marx wrong!
and yes, what distinguishes socialism from social democracy is the element of direct control and participation by citizens, as opposed to centralized representative style democracy where professional politicians are bought and must fight for the survival of their career as a politician by accumulating power and wealth. this is what also (in integral terms) distinguishes first tier from second tier political philosophy and social organization.
the best way to assure the underdevelopment of the people is to out-source their responsibility and self-determination to professional leaders, as opposed to scientific and technical experts without whom the lives of common people would be less developed.
Chomsky sees Adam Smith (and Humboldt) as a libertarian socialist, the supposed father of capitalism. Chomsky thinks Smith would have despised what capitalism has become, including the division of labor. Smith's argument for markets required equality of condition, something obviously lacking in today's capitalism. He was quite adamant about England's bourgeoisie being obsessed with naked self interest at the expense of the people. He criticized the early stages of corporations but didn't live to see what they'd become, no doubt now turning in his grave.
I offer the following of relevance for perusal, Chomsky's "Government in the future," where he compares and discusses classical liberalism, libertarian socialism, state socialism and state capitalism. He focuses on Humboldt in the first section.
I appreciate how in the intro of the above article Chomsky notes that both state capitalism and state socialism are "regressive" and inappropriate to modern society. I've been saying that about capitalism all along, that it is not modern orange but pre-modern blue (or amber), more feudal and not in the least democratic. Chomsky is also highly critical of state socialism, the kind Russia used to have, so associating that with socialism per se is misguided.
Also note that per a previous post above Chomsky is affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America. It has many of the ideals of libertarian socialism but recognizes that it has to work within the existing capitalist system for reform. They still use market mechanisms and central planning to ameliorate capitalism's dysfunctions (see the FAQ). It's a transition step toward the kind of libertarian socialism Chomsky, Corbett and the wiki talk about, apparently a necessary step in bridging here to there. Hence my support of DSA and it's closest US governmental ally, the progressive caucus of the Democrat Party.
See the review of this new book, Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Piketty. A few edited excerpts:
"Worsening inequality is an inevitable outcome of free market capitalism. [...] Capitalism’s inherent dynamic propels powerful forces that threaten democratic societies. [...] Traditional liberal government policies on spending, taxation and regulation will fail to diminish inequality. [...] The rise in inequality reflects markets working precisely as they should."
Recall that Max Weber was an instrumental source for kennilingus. See this post where I referenced Rifkin's use of Weber's analysis of the rise of capitalism. Then see this SparkNote on Weber's book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. A few brief excerpts from the summary:
"He argues that the modern spirit of capitalism sees profit as an end in itself, and pursuing profit as virtuous. [...] Calvinists believe in predestination--that God has already determined who is saved and damned. As Calvinism developed, a deep psychological need for clues about whether one was actually saved arose, and Calvinists looked to their success in worldly activity for those clues. Thus, they came to value profit and material success as signs of God's favor. Other religious groups, such as the Pietists, Methodists, and the Baptist sects had similar attitudes to a lesser degree. Weber argues that this new attitude broke down the traditional economic system, paving the way for modern capitalism. However, once capitalism emerged, the Protestant values were no longer necessary, and their ethic took on a life of its own."
Yet you still see this sort of regressive rationalization, that our wealth is a sign of being divinely favored and the poor are that way because they deserve it. In some, perhaps many, cases this attitude is still attached to religious beliefs like the above; many Republicans and corporate Democrats are religious. But even without traditional religion, capitalism has become a religious ideology with the same economic underpinnings. Recall Loy's use of Weber in this post.
Thank-you for that last sentence Edward. The talking monkey really hasn't developed all that much, imo. Technology yes, any common sense or wisdom, no. I believe this combination will prove abominable for the planet. Also, everything must be made subservient to the god CASH. Even a good game like say golf, has been seized by our corporate masters and the players turned into disciples to the corporate god CASH. The irony here is that Dubai has been built to the state it is today with the dollars from the carbon fuel frenzy, and will most likely be a deserted empty desert again by the end of this century because of the short sighted greed and arrogance of these corrupt masters. ( Rory is 2 up on Tiger).
Here is a link relevant to the TPP:
The comments section is interesting: even the left of spectrum truth diggers are vomiting Obama's way. Something i predicted on my Gaia page in 2008.
Is there anyone artistically savvy with internet font?
The new god CASH ( same as the old one) needs a cool new digital Tetragrammaton.
כ א ס ה is cash in Hebrew read right to left.