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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Along the line of recent posts above I'm reading sections of Faber's chapter in Theopoetic Folds referenced in another thread. An excerpt:

"Whitehead addresses the same problem of exclusion from and of multiplicity in terms of our projective epistemologies in which, since Aristotle and with Kant, we have closed the human mind off from [...] eco-nature. [...] Whitehead suggests that such isolation is an emergent in the evolutionary process for reasons of survival, orientation and directionality of organisms. However, it becomes toxic when when it closes itself from its primary inclusion with a realm of feelings of the multiplicity of nature in us. [...] Whitehead suggests, as Derrida would later, that we need to reconnect with the enveloping nature beyond [...] isolating self-presence [...] where we become multiplicity [...] amid a democracy of fellow creatures" (226).

Daryl mentioned a recent Rifkin article in this post. It's called "The rise of anti-capitalism." He talks about how the sharing economy is undermining capitalism in that it reduces the cost of many goods and services to being virtually free. This will only increase with the emerging Internet of Things, which connects sensors of energy use and flow, natural resources, production lines etc. to the internet. People can then use this information to further reduce the cost and share resources. Combined with in-building green energy production we can give and take energy as needed, sharing this most fundamental of resources globally.

It doesn't eliminate capitalism, just puts it in balance. The later though will have to transform into an aggregator of services rather than monopolistic providers of them. They'll still make loads of money, just not inordinate greedy amounts that strain the rest of the system. If capitalists can learn to live with that then this just might work out. Or rather, they'll have to learn to live with it or face the consequences of their own free market ideology: adapt or die. And this time without government bailouts.

Theurj, Did you see this link I shared recently in another discussion (Layman' Anti-capitalism discussion I believe)?  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-anti-c.. Yes, I totally agree that Rifkin deserves a whole discussion thread. I have read his book The Hydrogen Economy, and am about a third through his The Third Industrial Revolution. He uses the term "lateral power" to advance a socio-economic model of interdependence and resource sharing. Recently I suggested the term "Integral Resourcism" for the resource allocation or "economic" aspect of the same, or similar, social change/evolution which Rifkin both forsees and promotes. To me the notion of owning things is at the heart of capitalism. I think there are better alternatives to resource allocation than possessing and trading capital -- owning things. At some point in evolution owning things just gets in the way of the main issue of "How can we allocate resources in a way that best benefits us all?" The "Integral" part of my term indicates the inclusion of UL "human resources" such as morale, sense of purpose or "a calling," sense of meaningfulness and/or of having an individual "gift"/"gifts" to share, vision, inspiration, respect of reasoning, etc. These UL intangibles determine as much or more than traditional material resources the outcome of a resource allocation system or "economy." Tracking them in the context of the cultural landscape becomes a significant new part of the "economy."

  Pascal and I are planning to write a fictional book about a world where this integral kind of government (which is, more or less, a computer program everyone agrees to use) treats all varieties of "resources," and counts none as "owned," at least not in the traditional sense of material entitlement. The softer use of owning things intrinsically such as possessing certain personality characteristics may still be relevant, but owning capital will be a thing of the past. The new economy will be increasingly "de-materialized," which Rifkin and Kevin Kelly and others have noted to be a trend anyway. Integral Resourcism simply amplifies and/or advances that already-existing trend. This all seems highly consistent with Rifkin's predictions and prescriptions. 

darrell

Didn't see the comment immediately preceding. It includes mention of the Rifkin article, plus a link to it. My question was answered. 

Darrell

Darrell R. Moneyhon said:

Theurj, Did you see this link I shared recently in another discussion (Layman' Anti-capitalism discussion I believe)?  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-anti-c.. Yes, I totally agree that Rifkin deserves a whole discussion thread. I have read his book The Hydrogen Economy, and am about a third through his The Third Industrial Revolution. He uses the term "lateral power" to advance a socio-economic model of interdependence and resource sharing. Recently I suggested the term "Integral Resourcism" for the resource allocation or "economic" aspect of the same, or similar, social change/evolution which Rifkin both forsees and promotes. To me the notion of owning things is at the heart of capitalism. I think there are better alternatives to resource allocation than possessing and trading capital -- owning things. At some point in evolution owning things just gets in the way of the main issue of "How can we allocate resources in a way that best benefits us all?" The "Integral" part of my term indicates the inclusion of UL "human resources" such as morale, sense of purpose or "a calling," sense of meaningfulness and/or of having an individual "gift"/"gifts" to share, vision, inspiration, respect of reasoning, etc. These UL intangibles determine as much or more than traditional material resources the outcome of a resource allocation system or "economy." Tracking them in the context of the cultural landscape becomes a significant new part of the "economy."

  Pascal and I are planning to write a fictional book about a world where this integral kind of government (which is, more or less, a computer program everyone agrees to use) treats all varieties of "resources," and counts none as "owned," at least not in the traditional sense of material entitlement. The softer use of owning things intrinsically such as possessing certain personality characteristics may still be relevant, but owning capital will be a thing of the past. The new economy will be increasingly "de-materialized," which Rifkin and Kevin Kelly and others have noted to be a trend anyway. Integral Resourcism simply amplifies and/or advances that already-existing trend. This all seems highly consistent with Rifkin's predictions and prescriptions. 

darrell

I'm not sure where to post this so i will put it here. In doing so, i am not inferring anything about Rifkin's ideas. Please move this somewhere else if it doesn't belong here. 

http://www.straight.com/life/613326/astra-taylor-disrupts-silicon-v...

Excellent article Andrew, thanks for sharing.

Hi David, i thought what she did with the jubilee was awesome! IMO, not every idea prior to 150 years ago should be flushed down the toilet. 

Rifkin has a new blog post, "The end of the capitalist era, and what comes next." It is an excerpt from his new book The Zero Marginal Cost Society. A few edited excerpts:

"The capitalist era is passing... not quickly, but inevitably. A new economic paradigm -- the Collaborative Commons -- is rising in its wake that will transform our way of life. We are already witnessing the emergence of a hybrid economy, part capitalist market and part Collaborative Commons. [...] The Collaborative Commons is ascendant and, by 2050, it will likely settle in as the primary arbiter of economic life in most of the world. An increasingly streamlined and savvy capitalist system will continue to soldier on at the edges of the new economy, finding sufficient vulnerabilities to exploit, primarily as an aggregator of network services and solutions, allowing it to flourish as a powerful niche player in the new economic era, but it will no longer reign."

"What's undermining the capitalist system is the dramatic success of the very operating assumptions that govern it. At the heart of capitalism there lies a contradiction in the driving mechanism that has propelled it ever upward to commanding heights, but now is speeding it to its death: the inherent dynamism of competitive markets that drives productivity up and marginal costs down, enabling businesses to reduce the price of their goods and services in order to win over consumers and market share. (Marginal cost is the cost of producing additional units of a good or service, if fixed costs are not counted.) While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services priceless, nearly free, and abundant, and no longer subject to market forces."

"In the unfolding struggle between the exchange economy and the sharing economy, most economists argue that if everything were nearly free, there would be no incentive to innovate and bring new goods and services to the fore because inventors and entrepreneurs would have no way to recoup their up-front costs. Yet millions of prosumers are freely collaborating in social Commons. [...] The upshot is a surge in creativity that is at least equal to the great innovative thrusts experienced by the capitalist market economy in the twentieth century."

"The Collaborative Commons is already profoundly impacting economic life. Markets are beginning to give way to networks, ownership is becoming less important than access, and the traditional dream of rags to riches is being supplanted by a new dream of a sustainable quality of life."

Btw, we here at IPS have been at the integral vanguard in participating in the collaborate commons, generating and sharing information and insight for free. Unlike some in the movement--like the kennilinguists and the academics--still hung up on the for-profit capitalist system and proprietary intellectual insularity.

There's a lot to like about Jeremy Rifkin, but I still think he has a tendency to oversell some ideas and some trends. I think there's a lot to be said for this idea of "The Collaborative Commons" (yes to distributed energy and power, etc.) and yet I will be very slow to believe that we will end up in a zero marginal cost society. There are a number of good comments in the thread below the original post, such as Norm A's comment: "How do you get marginal costs to approach zero (which is far different than BEING zero)? By making expensive capital investments in technology, capital goods and land... and then by continuing to pay for the inputs of energy and labor, and the costs of taxes, insurance, distribution, sales and marketing."

As with his ideas about the Hydrogen Economy,  Rifken often emphasizes technological solutions, whereas I tend to think we're heading for a resource scarce society where Low-Tech ideas (google Kris DeDecker) will predominate (though it likely won't be all one way or the other). Not Techno Utopia, but Energy Descent, ala David Holmgen (Future Scenarios, Crash on Demand)

In the linked article above Rifkin doesn't say marginal costs will be zero; he said several times "near zero." He also acknowledged that "there will still be goods and services whose marginal costs are high enough to warrant their exchange in markets and sufficient profit to ensure a return on investment."

As to reducing energy use, tech will help with that when we shift to sustainable sources. The very notion of a collaborative commons inculcates values of living in harmony with nature and others, thereby reducing our insatiable desires to have more and more for me. He's very detailed about this shift in consciousness that goes along with the new infrastructure.

I'd also recommend reading the book. I've read a couple of his previous books and he goes into details with voluminous sources, details like answers to the questions in the comment you provided to this limited excerpt. Good thing is that even though the new book is an 'academic' text it is also popular so will be available in my public library for no cost to me. Obviously he's still a partial capitalist, since his books are selling and making him a healthy profit.

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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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