This dude also deserves a thread, a postmetaphysical visionary of an integral paradigm different from the trademarked variety. And quite "spiritual" to boot, if by that we mean creating a more equitable and humane lifeworld in which all can thrive and aspire to their highest potentials. From the integral capitalism thread:


Have you discussed Jeremy Rifkin's notion of "distributed capitalism," based on emergent peer-to-peer technological models, which he discussed in his book, The Empathic Civilization?  I skimmed the thread and didn't see mention of it, so I thought I'd add it to the mix.  Here's a brief article on it.

(An interesting notion of his, which is not directly relevant to this thread but possibly relevant to this forum, is Rifkin's notion of an emergent "dramaturgical self" as a stage of self-making beyond the "existential postmodern self."  I haven't explored it in depth -- I've just been reviewing his book for a class -- but I'll look into it more and will comment further if it's relevant.)


Thanks for these links. I've heard of Rifkin but have yet to read him. I agree with most of what he's saying but he is stretching the definition of the term capitalism beyond its intended meaning. Recall its meaning from the beginning of the thread. Private ownership of the means of production with profit flowing to the top is antithetical to shared, open and distributed ownership of resources and information and P2P relationships, much like selfish concern and cosmocentric morality are so in a moral hierarchy. Rifkin is right to make the connection between the worldview and economic-communication systems, and that the internet correlates with an empathatic, biospheric view necessary for such shared resources and environmental consciousness. But again, capitalism was all about the exploitation of natural resources as if they were infinite with little to no regard for the environmental consequences. Rifkin laments this destruction and rightly analyzes the consciousness and systems that created it, capitalism, yet by keeping that name in his new view of P2P distribution is a functional misfit.

One can also view him speak on his new book at YouTube. Just watching the first couple minutes it seems to be the same info in the text linked above.


I also had posted this video on his work here on IPS awhile back.


Now I understand hybrid systems during transition phases. For example we have hybrid gas-electric cars which are better than just gas-driven. But we know that it is a transition to a full electric car when we develop the technology and infrastructure to make it feasible. That is, we know we must completely leave behind using a limited resource like petrol for a more sustainable energy source. So with economic systems. There are hybrids of capitalism with open source and of course it is a step in the right direction. But like with petrol we know that at some point we will leave capitalism behind in a more equitable, humane and environmental consciousness with correlative political economy.


So for me it says something about our consciousness to which economic system we attach. Given the I-I agenda of a kinder, gentler capitalism it appears to be on the transition of rational-pluralistic and it calls that integral. Hence you get no language or values about open source, distributed networks or P2P. Whereas I think what Rifkin is describing, that ecologic empathy that is growing out of the informational-pluralistic into the internet P2P network, is what we might call integral. And it is open source, not private property. But again, it is currently a hybrid in transition but we know where it is going and what must be left behind.*


*As to worldview and moral level replacement, see the previous thread on ladder-climber-view. Like I said, I don't think it's a strict or clean dividing line between one level and the next, with transitions containing mixes and hybrids. But we see the trajectory of where it's going and what it will eventually leave behind.

You can find Rifkin's website here. Following is an excerpt from the synopsis on his lecture "The age of access":

"The new information and telecommunications technologies, e-commerce and globalization are making possible a new economic era as different from market capitalism as the latter is dissimilar from mercantilism. In the new century, markets are slowly giving way to network ways of conducting business, with far-reaching implications for the future of society....The notion of exchanging and holding on to fixed property becomes an anachronism in a society where everything is continually evolving."

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For the most part it is a rehash of his earlier material. One new aspect I found interesting is 3-D manufacturing, and the technology that allows for it. As usual I appreciate that as a result of the third industrial revolution (TIR) "the traditional, hierarchical organization of economic and political power will give way to lateral power organized nodally across society."* All the TIR tech and accompanying philosophy he talks about is NOW, not some future fantasy. I'd think it would behoove integralites of any stripe to get with the real frothy (foamy?) edge, eh? Perhaps the TIR is also the super-integral, translucent (no color-coded) third tier?

* We see this same meme propagating philosophically in the likes of Deleuze and Latour, for example. Hence my recent posts about an alternative (developmentally superior?) lateral imaging of "complexity" as foam or rhizomes instead of hierarchical and ever-enveloping spheres or holons.

I'm not sure if the spheres reference is to Slot, but he also uses the foam metaphor.  That's the basis, especially, of the second book in the series.

Re: Rifkin's article, yes, the reason I posted it was the mention of the 3-D printing and the lateralizing of production.  I relate this also to the Autopoetic Cooperative project, which is basing itself in part around the "Global Village Construction Set" model

My reference to spheres was more generic to those who see them as nested hierarchies rather than overlapping, branching rhizomes.

I posted this in the IPE thread (Rifkin on the emerging socio-economics) and much commentary followed. I decided to move it over to the Rifkin thread again, perhaps reinvigorating the thread to discuss the possible problems enacting his vision for all. Problems to which perhaps Rifkin is unwittingly contributing?

Although in this article Rifkin is off-base, in that he agrees with Germany's Merkel that "stringent austerity programs will have to be enacted in the member countries to reduce government debt." He argues that alone is not enough, that they'll also need to implement his 3rd revolution tech. But we've seen how the austerity program is causing greater harm, that it is not at all necessary, and that due to austerity there will not be sufficient funds to support his programs. I wonder if he has more recent thoughts on Germany's austerity and how it is actually thwarting his 3rd revolution?

In this more recent interview he notes Germany is moving forward with his agenda. But while their economy is strong enough to pay for these innovations their foreign austerity policy on other nations is thwarting any change they will be able to afford it.

In Rifkin's 5/29/12 speech at the European Commission he noted that while austerity must be part of the solution it must not "compromise the guiding values of the European Dream which include...the advancement of quality of life for every citizen." Yet this is the very thing attacked in the US austerity policies, taking from the poor and middle class to give to the rich. I'm not familiar with European austerity measures but if they are anything like US policies then it most certainly violates these values.

This one on Spain notes that the poor are hit the hardest while the rich sacrifice little.

This report on the EU as a whole notes the following:

"Poverty has increased by 2 million since 2010, and the analysis of the NRPs demonstrates how macroeconomic focus on austerity, driven by economic governance, is directly undermining benefits and public services."

Layman Pascal commented: “Trees cutting at their own roots to save water in a drought.”

Good metaphor, but it still contains the fallacy that there is a lack of wealth (drought). Many have made the case (with stats) that there's plenty of wealth to go around (a real oasis) but it resides with the top 1%, which are making record profits (one example). That it's not distributed is the cause of the drought for everyone else.

And let us not forget that the very real, dire economic situation for the rest of us was directly caused by the 1% committing crimes, ripping off our economy and then crashing it while they get bail-outs, bonuses for failure and are now way better off than ever before. There's plenty to go around but our budget priorities choose to serve austerity for the lower 98% while the top get way more than they could ever use, except to buy elections that enact laws to make them even richer while everyone else gets poorer.

Coming back to Rifkin, his ideas are the next step in my opinion. But I think perhaps he's a bit naive to think that Merkel and Germany have the best interests of everyone in mind when they implement his ideas, instead more likely thinking of their own best national interests. That Germany is demanding austerity for the struggling EU nations, who are struggling because of the financial crimes per above, and that austerity is only serving to further impoverish them instead of help them, seems more indicative of my hypothesis.

I’m reading The Third Industrial Revolution and the following reminds me of something I said earlier in the forum: 

“Hydrogen had long been sought after by scientists and engineers as the Holy Grail for a post-carbon era. It is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe—the stuff of the stars.” (49). 

Recall this forum post and following:

“Ah yes, my alma mat(t)er. But I prefer to (de-re)phrase it the saectum saectorum (from sanctum sanctorum), given my atheist bent, meaning the most common of the common. (In real terms this would be hydrogen.)…. Pannikar's use of saeculum is interesting referring to mystery. That's why I chose my de-re Latin phrase based on that usage, as intoning resonantly in that language creates a mysterious aura about it (as in Church). It is not just the common usage of common but that which is most common, like the most holy. Hydrogen is the most common and prevalent element in the universe, the very foundation of All but particularly stars. It's the fuel of cosmic combustion and yet the most mysterious phenomenon of All. On a practical level, this is why hydrogen fuel-cell tech is on the forefront of clean, efficient energy. And no surprise that Rifkin plans to store energy as hydrogen once generated from his smart buildings. Hydrogen, the saectum saectorum, is the key to our sustainable future. It is quite literally hot stuff.”

Btw, Rifkin's agenda fully answers Bryant's latest rantings against academia as purely intellectual stuff, since Rifkin's ideas of a new energy infrastructure are currently being implemented in the EU. And it is ushering in a new  political economy based on renewable energy, distributed capitalism and democratic sociological restructuring within an emerging and viable P2P paradigm. And all of which far surpasses kennilingus conscious capitalism, still based in the old political economy and social structures.

One of the things Rifkin emphasizes in the book is that all of the pieces of the TIR must be generated, developed, coordinated and implemented simultaneously for it to work. I.e., it is an integral paradigm touching on and integrating all quadrants/zones. He observed that even with more investment in renewable energy sources it was still organized top-down with large-scale, centralized control as part of the old paradigm. While he recognizes that this is necessary as a transition step the goal is to have small-scale distributed renewable energy generation in every home and office building, thus supporting the P2P paradigm. 

Thus I criticize kennilingual conscious capitalism for investing nothing in the P2P paradigm, or in trying to change the economic base and energy infrastructure. I said it may very well be part of the transition process to such a distributed metaparadigm, but due to its focus on primarily the consciousness of individual development to the exclusion of corresponding equivalent enactments in the other quadrants/zones it cannot get very far at all per Rifkin above. To the contrary by not touching on the other paradigms it seems to mostly just reinforce its own insular agenda and profit motive while giving the social tools to corporations to continue and expand its oil-driven, top-down, 1% lifeworld.* 

* See “Integral Global Capitalism” and “Giving Guns to Children.”

In discussing the energy smart-grid that is now being developed and implemented Rifkin noted that its focus is different in the US and the EU. In the US the energy lobby simply refuses to make the grid lateral and P2P, instead demanding it be centralized and top-down only so that they maintain control and profits. A member of that lobby admitted as much directly to Rifkin. Whereas in the EU, while acknowledging large, centralized investment is necessary to start, their energy lobby is also investing in the lateral capabilities to implement the P2P energy and profit sharing inherent to the TIR.

Their energy companies are realizing that they no longer have to be major producers of energy but can transition into being service agents managing energy usage along the grid for those millions of self-generating homes and offices. It's a completely different mindset and worldview. I'm reminded of Ray Harris' astute observations in "Left, right or just plain wrong?"

"Will an integral political economy be capitalist in character or be a totally new configuration that transcends any previous political economy? Is the integral movement really challenging the cultural norms of society or is there a bias that accepts individualism and capitalism as a given? Is the integral movement coloured by being largely an American phenomenon? Shouldn't the integral movement be truly international and integrate multiple cultural perspectives?"

And as we've observed in the "global capitalismism" thread, kennilingus maintains all of the infrastructure of centralized capital instead of distributed capital, as well as the centralized, top-down governance and proprietary property structure inherent to that economic form instead of the P2P meme. And all the while claiming an integral, postformal structure of consciousness but surrounded with all the accoutrements of formal enactment.

Perhaps we need to define ourselves by what we do and how we do it--our actual enactments--instead of our grand theories of everything? Then we'd get a better picture of our actual development? Like regressives in the last election that truly believed they would win by landslide, perhaps kennlingus needs a Nate Silver to give them an accurate picture they obviously don't want to see. Harris tried but was dismissed as MGM. I don't see that has changed much, ergo no Rifkin in their diet. Or P2P. Or OOO, etc.

See Dierkes' blog post "Free market philosophy is not integral."

When I first saw Chris's post (via a link on Facebook), I thought of you and many of your posts here, Theurj. :-)

Bryant's post on networks was disheartening. He notes 3 types of network: centralized, decentralized and distributed. He rightly criticizes centralized version as transcendent. But then he wrongly criticizes distributed networks as communist anarchy, a leveling where everything is equivalent. He instead promotes decentralized networks that maintain hubs, gravitational regimes of attraction through which other nodes in the network must pass. He rightly notes that one such immense hub is fossil fuels, required to build anything.

So far so good, except this is what Rifkin means by a distributed network. There will still be electric companies as hubs but their function will change to more of a being a service provider and less of being a power provider, given the nature of the smart grid. And the node of fossil fuels will not immediately be eliminated but there will be competing hubs in the renewable energy sector, thus diminishing oil's dominant hub. And depending on governmental hubs and which policies are enacted, that will determine to what degree and on what timetable this transition occurs.

Rifkin notes this is a process of democratizing the economy, making it distributed capitalism, where a major regime of attraction, energy, is put more directly in the hands of the people when they can generate their own electricity. Yes, this form of democracy still requires the hubs of representatives in government, managers in offices, and energy companies as hubs that monitor and distribute the energy created by individuals. There are still hubs in the network but those hubs are transformed into more equitable hubs intent on fair distribution instead of unfair accumulation at the top 1%. One would think Rifkin would be an exemplar for Bryant's democracy of objects, instead of apparently some form of "anarcho-communist fantasy." Tell that to the EU, which is implementing this fantasy into a reality as we speak.

Note: A search of Bryant's blog for Rifkin reveals zero hits. So I'm not saying he directly criticizes Rifkin but rather apparently the type of distributed networking he promotes. He can prove me wrong if he so chooses.

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

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