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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I just came upon this recent P2P Foundation article, "The third industrial revolution won't be as easily coopted as the s...":

"The new technologies of liberation, if allowed to develop according to their own interior logic, render obsolete the entire material rationale behind the wage system and the factory system, and threaten to destroy corporate power.... But the dominant economic interests of the day are doing their best to stave off this revolutionary threat by domesticating the new technologies, co-opting them into the existing corporate institutional framework, and enclosing their productive potential as a source of rents."

And the following, which echoes some of my own concerns at the beginning of this thread and in the progressive economics thread, about including the new tech into capitalism instead of going fully P2P:

"Perhaps even worse, some members of the Left whose hearts are clearly in the right place nevertheless unwittingly advocate a vision of 'progressive' economics that amounts to a greenwashed version of corporate enclosure.... Rifkin, God bless him, says — entirely accurately — that the new technologies will enable each person to be their own manufacturer, power company and media production company. What he fails to realize is that it’s pretty hard to make large amounts of money in an economy like that.

"If such people on the Left should know better, there are others backing the same greenwashed capitalist vision — the Warren Buffets and Bill Gateses of the world — who know exactly what they’re doing. The future of the world, if these people get their way, lies with Buffet’s giant corporate wind farms (linked to distant cities with a heavily subsidized 'smart grid'), Microsoft’s proprietary software, and Monsanto’s proprietary biotech.

"The new technologies, if left to themselves, would destroy the profits of such people. They would give the rest of us historically unprecedented abundance, independence, leisure, and control over our working lives. This is the natural effect of technologies of abundance in a freed market, when market competition socializes the benefits of innovation and efficiency. The only way the propertied classes, the rentier classes, can prevent this is by relying on the state to step in and snatch scarcity from the jaws of abundance."

From the video below:

“All through history when communication revolutions merger, converge, and join with energy revolutions it changes the economic footprint, paradigm. It actually changes consciousness, it changes our temporal relationships, our spatial relationships in very fundamental ways” (3:45).

He argues that how the internet is organized has had this effect. As we use it it changes the way we process, communicate, think, be. It is just now merging with the new energy regime which will further inculcate the P2P meme when we literally give 'power' to the people.

From his TIR website I was led to this recent story on how China (with Europe) will lead the way on implementing the program. A couple of key points from p.2 of the article:

"China has a social market economy like Europe. This is a huge asset. Infrastructure requires a social market economy. Infrastructure is something the government has to do and work with the business community to build it out. There is no example in the history of the world where infrastructure was put in by the private market. The marketplace does not create public goods, so it is absurd to think companies will do it. You can not create the third industrial revolution if your entire business, investment, and financial community is focused on three-month quarterly statements. China is extremely comfortable with the government having this role and with long-term planning. In China they have five-year plans.

"China has the cultural DNA to lead a third industrial revolution. In the West, our religious and philosophical tradition is that nature is the enemy, God has anointed us as masters, and we shall have dominion over nature. We exploit it. Confucius completely parted with that. He said the meaning of the human journey is to extend empathy. And he said human beings are not separate from nature—we are part of nature. The key to the evolution of the human journey is finding a balance and harmony between humanity and nature."

In this post and following in another thread one issue was Rifkin possibly maintaining the current economic growth paradigm within his third industrial revolution. Rifkin's post here on The Empathic Civilization though discusses the consciousness shift that makes such unsustainable growth anathema. This goes with the last post, where societies that value social democracy and the environment are more likely to also value sustainable economic growth with less consumption. For example (with my emphasis):

"Surveys show that the millennial generation in the United States is much more likely than older generations to feel empathy for others. They are far more concerned with the planetary environment and climate change and more likely to favor sustainable economic growth. They are also more likely to believe that government has a responsibility to take care of people who can’t care for themselves, and are more supportive of a bigger role of government in providing basic services. They are more supportive of globalization and immigration than older generations. They are also more racially diverse and the most tolerant of any generation in history in support of gender equality and the willingness to champion the rights of the disabled, gays, other minorities, as well as our fellow creatures. In short, they favor a world of inclusivity over exclusivity, and are more comfortable in distributed networks than in old fashioned centralized hierarchies that establish boundaries and restrictions separating people from one another.

"The new sensibilities of the younger generation are beginning to usher in a different idea about human nature and the dream that accompanies it. Today’s youth find little value in the Enlightenment caricature of human nature as rational, calculating, detached, and utilitarian. They prefer to think of human nature as empathic, mindful, engaged, and driven by the intrinsic value and interconnectedness of life. Homo sapien is being eclipsed by homo empathicus, as they shift their horizon from national markets and nation-state borders to a global economy and a planetary community. Even their preferred indicators of economic progress are shifting, from the crude calculation of gross domestic product and per-capita income to more sensitive social indicators — like health and longevity, social equality, safe communities, clean environment, etc. — that measure the well-being of the broader community."

Nice quote. I haven't read all the comments in this thread.  Perhaps this video has already been posted, but I found this to be an excellent summary of the crises facing the planet now.

Yes, I linked to the video earlier in the thread. When you get an hour or so to spare read the thread. I think you'll find it informative and of relevance.

A new era of capitalism:

Why is he continuing to hold imaginary watermelons in these videos?

He's demonstrating the size testicles we'll need to take on this project.

I was going to say it isn't a watermelon, it's Wilber's head.  But maybe he is massaging the womb of possibilities, as it swells to birth a new civilization.

In this post we wonder what's the alternative to capitalism? An emerging paradigm shift as expressed in the following video: future economic success will depend on thermo-dynamic efficiency (3:35); the next generation enacts social entrepreneurship (6:00); literally power to the people (7:30); the transition of the capitalist power companies (9:00); distributed capitalism (10:00); new business models (11:00); how large utilities make money in the transition (12:00); the changes of consciousness (12:45); via larger capacity for empathy (14:00).

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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?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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