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:

Balder:

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.)

theurj:

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.

Balder:

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

theurj:

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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Chapter 3 is on the first two industrial revolutions, which required vast amounts of capital to build its infrastructure. It also required vertical integration of huge organizational structures with top-down hierarchical control which he calls not coincendentally "rationalization." I suggest that this is the rationalized Great Chain hierarchy* we saw from the feudal era, where due to public education we entered the formal rational mode. All of which also saw the emergence of the legal rights of individuals.

On 55 Rifkin notes that while greed, deregulation and corruption certainly plays a part in what capitalism has become, he also asserts that this structure was a natural process for this sort of communication-energy-consciousness regime that provided a general increase in the standard of living for all. It's what we might call in kennilingus the dignity and disaster of the era. For now I simply note that in the emerging Commons era the capitalist structure has reached the point where its disasters outweigh its dignities. And, as Rifkin said, its own impetus for ever-increasing productivity at lower marginal costs has made itself near obsolete.

* This mode is still metaphysical in moving from theological to rational justification. How this process goes postmetaphysical will be explored with the emergence of the Commons era, forthcoming.

Chapter 4 is a quick run through of the accompanying worldviews from feudal to capitalism. He starts by noting that worldviews justify themselves as the ways things are, either by divine or natural order. The feudal Great Chain promised salvation by knowing one's place in the hierarchy and doing one's duty. In the transitional medieval market economy this shifted to one's hard labor, earnings and property as signs that one was favored by God, which shifted to a more secular notion of one's autonomy and worth as equivalent with one's property.

When the market economy transitioned into capitalism there arose much more vigorous defense of individualism tied with private property as inherent to human nature. Utilitarianism became the defining worldview justification. This led Herbert Spenser to twist Darwin's idea's into social Darwinism, a justification for “survival of the fittest.” Darwin was aghast at such a torturous distortion of his work.

Nonetheless Spenser saw the way of things thusly: “...all structures in the universe develop from a simple, undifferentiated state, to an every more complex and differentiated state, characterized by greater integration of the various parts” (64). Therefore only the most complex and vertically integrated business should survive, as this was natural to evolutionary development. All of which leads to oligopoly with its hierarchical and centralized command and control. This remains the dominant and regressive Republican view today in the US. And I might add the predominant spiritual, philosophical and economic kennilingus view as well.

Not to fret. At the end of the chapter Rifkin assures us that complexity is not synonymous with such a structure. As I've been saying, there is another kind of complexity as explored in this thread. That's where the emerging structure of the collaborative commons comes in, featured in the coming chapters.

Really differentiated forms of my general "thinking like energy" mantra. Interesting. Yes, we have been thinking like descrete object matter for a long time, and have difficulty thinking like energy flows and energy fields where there is not specific location. Perhaps it is just a matter of re-conditioning our minds to think in more dynamic ways. I have long felt that is what was predicted in the Bible, when it mentions the Tree of Life. It foretells an age when we can think like energy, dynamic realities instead of only seing static aspects of reality. 

d

Layman Pascal said:

There is always a tendency among philosophers to err too heavily on the side of "information" just as they general public leans to heavily toward "objects".  Any integrative metatheoretical approach has to maintain a pretty balanced approach that keeps Energy & Nonduality in the mix alongside "thought" and "stuff".  

Eric Chaisson's work to describe the evolving complexity of the material universe in terms of increasing energy-rate-density (instead of informational entropy) is a nice correlate to some of Rifkin's work (as well as the great trend of spiritual philosophers who are all too tritely dismissed today as "vitalists").  

I would assert -- in a broadly Nietzschean vein -- that the constant struggle of individuals to feel healthy and energized within themselves makes them reluctant (or ill-equipped) to perceive dynamic flows as the organizational driver of the world around them.  Their own experience of such internal flows is a matter of some doubt, concern and disengagement.  

As Wilhelm Reich said of his (somewhat dubious) "orgone" -- those who cannot feel subtle energy flowing in their bodies will necessarily not give it significance on their maps of reality.  The exact same thing could be said of more prosaic forms of physical energy management in the world.  We might expect stronger, healthier, more physically and organically energized citizens to become increasingly capable of perceiving and intuiting the importance of energy management as a primary patterning force in social and historical affairs. 

We already briefly discussed some excerpts of chapter 5 on the IoT.

On 71 he discusses energy as the missing factor in measuring productivity, in addition to the usual factors of machine capital and labor performance. Thermodynamic efficiencies accounted for 86% of productivity gains in the first two industrial revolutions. This figure is misleading though in that the aggregate energy efficiency at the height of the 2nd revolution was 13%, meaning "the ratio of useful to potential physical work that can be extracted from materials" (72). He asserts given the infrastructure and fossil fuel supplies involved, there will not likely be further efficiency increases.

He notes that renewable energy (RE) energy efficiency however will have dramatic increases over fossil fuels. This is because of the exponential growth in RE development, where production prices are dropping and efficiencies are increasing at an accelerating rate much like the PC industry. Plus RE resources are virtually infinite compared to fossil fuels. He estimates that RE can improve aggregate energy efficiency to 40% or more in the next 40 years (72).

There was an interesting discussion of privacy and transparency. Capitalism was the age of privacy and individual autonomy, whereas the collaborative commons there is much more sharing and openness. Throughout much of history humanity did things much more communally and publicly, like eating, sleeping and even excreting waste products. With capitalism we moved many of these functions indoors and in our own private rooms. “The enclosure and privatization of human life went hand-in-hand with the enclosure and privatization of the commons” (75).

While the IoT is opening us again to more communal sharing, it is not a return to the kind that was pre-capitalism. Instead it is a concern with the balance between individual and communal, so that one can still have control over what private information one shares in social networks. We want to collaborate and share more, be more transparent than the capitalistic individualist, but also retain our private autonomy and property to some degree. Hence having some control over what we choose to share or not is a key security issue in the emerging IoT, as well as reflecting a worldview shift.

Chapter 6 on 3-D printing is astounding in the rapid developments being made. See the chapter for the voluminous details. My focus is on how it manifests in the emerging worldview. For one thing, it is based on open source software, not intellectual property. For another it is sustainable, give its additive construction process uses about one tenth the raw materials and wastes far less in the process. The materials used can also be local and re-used waste, thus eliminating high-end base materials manufactured from afar. They can even print out their own parts. The cost of 3-D printers is reducing rapidly so that the means of production will soon be in the hands of individuals and small collaborative groups. The entire process is P2P, democratic, lateral and based in local and regional communities, yet connected to the global community via the smart grid.

On 101 there are two anti-capitalist factions coming together. One is those who have been pushing for a return to more tribal culture using traditional, sustainable methods and reducing consumption. They are now merging with the high-tech nerds with the same values, but by implementing tech like 3-D printing. All of the above features of its infrastructure promote those values without regressing to a form of life that cannot change capitalism (107). Rather the new tech both transforms capitalism to the next wave and retains values from pre-capitalism, the latter also elevated in the process.

Chapter 7 on education is eye-opening. It is being transformed from the authoritarian top-down model where the teacher has all the answers to collaborative learning experiences with teachers as facilitators. Critical and holistic thinking are encouraged over memorization. Previously learning was thought of as a private, autonomous experience where the knowledge was one's exclusive property, and that one had to hoard it to compete with others for grades and jobs, just as in the capitalist paradigm. In the collaborative era knowledge is something to be shared in a community of peers, thereby creating a public good for all.

Virtual, online classrooms are currently supplementing brick-and-mortar and may eventually replace them. Pedagogy is also having students provide services in their local communities, as well as engage in environmental projects. Again this encourages moving education from a private affair into seeing how one empathically relates to others, their communities and the world at large. Such online classes also cost considerably less than attending universities, sometimes even free, thereby making an education available to a much larger portion of society. One of the primary requisites for a functioning democracy is an educated, informed and active public, and this new model is 'paving the way'* toward that end.

*As an aside, that is more than a metaphor. In OOO terms, this model is actually creating infrastructural educational pathways which enact an entirely different worldview. And again, it is not a regressive worldview due to the advanced technological and educational infrastructure being used, thereby creating a progressively better and more integrative view.

I decided to move my reading of, and commenting on, the book over to this new thread.

Yes, Someting like holistic thinking is what my wife (a pre-school teacher) and I were talking about in terms of part of what I call the "sixth pillar" (psycho-social development conducive of lateral power). As you said earlier Rifkin is obviously committed to the sixth pillar even though he doesn't name it as one of the pillars. It is obvious though that it is a main factor for the TIR. And as you also said, his most recent book is mostly about that (LL?) factor. 

d
theurj said:

Chapter 7 on education is eye-opening. It is being transformed from the authoritarian top-down model where the teacher has all the answers to collaborative learning experiences with teachers as facilitators. Critical and holistic thinking are encouraged over memorization. Previously learning was thought of as a private, autonomous experience where the knowledge was one's exclusive property, and that one had to hoard it to compete with others for grades and jobs, just as in the capitalist paradigm. In the collaborative era knowledge is something to be shared in a community of peers, thereby creating a public good for all.

Virtual, online classrooms are currently supplementing brick-and-mortar and may eventually replace them. Pedagogy is also having students provide services in their local communities, as well as engage in environmental projects. Again this encourages moving education from a private affair into seeing how one empathically relates to others, their communities and the world at large. Such online classes also cost considerably less than attending universities, sometimes even free, thereby making an education available to a much larger portion of society. One of the primary requisites for a functioning democracy is an educated, informed and active public, and this new model is 'paving the way'* toward that end.

*As an aside, that is more than a metaphor. In OOO terms, this model is actually creating infrastructural educational pathways which enact an entirely different worldview. And again, it is not a regressive worldview due to the advanced technological and educational infrastructure being used, thereby creating a progressively better and more integrative view.

Yes, He emphasized the distributive/democratizing implications of additive production processes and 3 D printer technology (more power to cottage industries instead of deep-pocket large factories) in The Third Industrial Revolution also. 

theurj said:

Chapter 6 on 3-D printing is astounding in the rapid developments being made. See the chapter for the voluminous details. My focus is on how it manifests in the emerging worldview. For one thing, it is based on open source software, not intellectual property. For another it is sustainable, give its additive construction process uses about one tenth the raw materials and wastes far less in the process. The materials used can also be local and re-used waste, thus eliminating high-end base materials manufactured from afar. They can even print out their own parts. The cost of 3-D printers is reducing rapidly so that the means of production will soon be in the hands of individuals and small collaborative groups. The entire process is P2P, democratic, lateral and based in local and regional communities, yet connected to the global community via the smart grid.

On 101 there are two anti-capitalist factions coming together. One is those who have been pushing for a return to more tribal culture using traditional, sustainable methods and reducing consumption. They are now merging with the high-tech nerds with the same values, but by implementing tech like 3-D printing. All of the above features of its infrastructure promote those values without regressing to a form of life that cannot change capitalism (107). Rather the new tech both transforms capitalism to the next wave and retains values from pre-capitalism, the latter also elevated in the process.

Here is the consequence of big democratic hypocrisy: 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2014/05/18/president-obama...

This is a long and in depth article. I don't have the time to go over it in detail but if David has the time I'd welcome his thoughts on this guys take on things. Obviously, though, over the past 20 years I've searched out for and against arguments so I'm not completely in the dark on these issues.

Germany produced 74% of its energy from RE on one day recently. Apparently an anomaly, as the general mark for the first quarter of 2014 is 27%. They are committed though to increasing that to near 100% by 2050. They lead the way in this transition and are, of course, working with Rifkin on the TIR.

Impressive (what Germany is actually doing already with RE).

d

theurj said:

Germany produced 74% of its energy from RE on one day recently. Apparently an anomaly, as the general mark for the first quarter of 2014 is 27%. They are committed though to increasing that to near 100% by 2050. They lead the way in this transition and are, of course, working with Rifkin on the TIR.

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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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