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."

Views: 3248

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Yes. For anyone who believes subtle energy circuits run through our bodies, it would be surprising to find that Electromagnetic frequencies have no affect.
andrew said:

 There is one hell of a lot that we might not know about EMF fields and to go full bore ahead with a global infrastructure like that seems a little bit myopic to me. The part of me which is wired into a spiritual 'matrix' thinks that these fields are more damaging to life systems then we are presently aware of. I hope am wrong. 

David Bollier has what looks like a review of Rifkin's new book here, but it quickly morphs into his own essay about The Commons, the theme of his own new book, Think Like a Commoner, reviewed here.  

theurj said:

Hanacek's review of The Zero Marginal Cost Society here.

I'd be happy to submit to ethical non -theists but not to amoral atheists.

To conventional minds, the idea of the commons as a paradigm of social governance appears either utopian or communistic, or at the very least, impractical. But a diverse, eclectic universe of commons around the world demonstrates otherwise. It is the neoliberal project of ever-expanding consumption on a global scale that is the utopian, totalistic dream. It manifestly cannot fulfill its mythological vision of human progress through ubiquitous market activity and greater heaps of private consumption, if only because it demands more from Nature than it can possibly deliver - while inflicting too much social inequity and disruption as well.

It's the neoliberals running the planet who are the amoral atheists.

Here is a link on subtle energies . The last line would be of significance here:

The latest information i have is that it appears that the global elites policies are geared towards an exponential increase in Co2. This is what is happening globally and there is massive infrastructure to continue this trajectory. Now, if we combine this fact, with a developing global mesh of EMF frequency pollution that could be  potentially harmful to bio systems, then, perhaps, we start to get a clearer picture of an alternative agenda here. That fact that a fibre optic infrastructure could be used and won't be is of significance; and the fact that the automobile industry coincidentally after 150 years, still can't seem to make an engine run on anything else but petro is also telling us something. 

I want to make it clear that in saying what i did there, i in no way infer anything negative about Mr Rifkin, per se. The fact is , though, there were better choices for nuclear reactors that were never used because of neoliberal policies, and if neoliberalism is going to fund the IoT, then it's not an exaggeration to expect mistakes; even serious ones, especially if this infrastructure gets pushed through without proper oversight.

Krugman on the economic feasibility of renewable energy:

"Even as the [IPCC] report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. [...] The estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year. What’s behind this economic optimism? To a large extent, it reflects a technological revolution many people don’t know about, the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.

"The climate change panel, in its usual deadpan prose, notes that 'many RE [renewable energy] technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions' since it released its last assessment, back in 2007. The Department of Energy is willing to display a bit more open enthusiasm; it titled a report on clean energy released last year 'Revolution Now.' That sounds like hyperbole, but you realize that it isn’t when you learn that the price of solar panels has fallen more than 75 percent just since 2008.

"So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait."

Today I gained access to some the notes section for the below. Note 9 is "How many smart meters are installed in the US and who has them." US Energy Information Administration: The source for note 10 is:

theurj said:

On. p. 73, chapter 5, he notes that in the US there are currently 37 million smart meters for electricity use and references footnote 9 for that chapter. Worldwide in 2013, 3.5 billion smart censors (note 10).

Part of this Financial Times review applies to the Transcendence thread as well:

"Take the machines that underpin the book’s central argument. They will be self-replicating, capable of producing their own spare parts and propagating themselves indefinitely. They will be powered by an alternative energy source like the sun, allowing them to run more or less forever. And they will be connected by the coming internet of things, a self-organising network that will allow them to operate as part of a new pervasive intelligent infrastructure. These machines will also be fully automatic and require no human labour to operate."

Above are photos from my backyard. I wrote a blog post last year at my Integral Permaculture site I called "The Many Uses of the Sun's Power."   A few excerpts below.

How many uses of the sun can you identify in the photo above? Which uses do you think best optimize the sun’s energy?

David Holmgren, co-originator of Permaculture:

To harvest, store and use renewable energy sources requires varying inputs of high-quality (generally non-renewable) energy…In the case of wind power, the lower quality and erratic nature of the energy resource requires the much greater harvesting infrastructure. For solar electric power, the resource is most abundant but so low in quality that vast infrastructure is required relative to the quantity of harvested energy.

Despite these limitations, solar (photovoltaic) cells that convert sunlight to electricity have become the great symbol of renewable energy, out of all proportion in importance to a future with declining energy…I believe that a high-tech society running on solar cells is the stuff of dreams.

I am glad to have solar panels, but I don’t see them as a panacea, and I believe the jury is still out on how much net energy they generate after accounting for the varying inputs required for their manufacture (see here (check comments) and here for an alternate view).  Why did I not put the wet clothes in our very efficient clothes dryer inside the house, and let the energy from the panels dry the clothes? Because using the direct energy of the solar clothes rack is much more efficient (when the sun is shining).

I asked at the top of the post, “Which uses [of the sun shown in the photos] do you think best optimize the sun’s energy?”  The answer is likely the trees in the background, and the grass and garden beds in the foreground.

Studies in biophysics providing curves of efficiency as a function of light intensity for isolated [green plant] cholorplasts show them to be more efficient than hardware cells. It may be that the natural conversion of sunlight to electric charge that occurs in all green plant photosynthesis after 1 billion years of natural selection may already be the highest net EMERGY [embodied energy] possible.

- Howard T. Odum, Environmental Accounting (quoted by Holmgren)

The ultimate development of the biological capture and storage of solar energy in forms useful to future generations of people is forest trees. Although trees do not yield electricity directly, they do most efficiently convert the very dilute solar energy into wood that we can more effectively substitute for many current uses of fossil fuel. For example, modern technology for wood gasifiers and micro-gas turbines appears to be a much more economical pathway for electricity production than solar cells.

- David Holmgren, Permaculture: Prinicples and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

Our neighbor carefully cultivates and harvests evergreen trees on his 1/2 acre plot next door (2nd photo above).  I’m not sure of the efficiency of his wood burning stove, but I believe he is making very good use of solar energy.

We should also note the intermediate technology of the greenhouse in the picture at top, especially since we used reclaimed glass rather than new. According to Holmgren, when you make use of another’s discarded materials, this should be classified under the Permaculture principle of “Obtain a Yield” (rather than “Produce no Waste“).

theurj said:

Krugman on the economic feasibility of renewable energy:

"...To a large extent, it reflects a technological revolution many people don’t know about, the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular..."

From the article: 

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Alternative futures seem equally plausible. Wealth and income inequality could become more accentuated, as a winner-takes-all capitalism takes hold. The millions emerging from extreme poverty in developing countries could find themselves in a world of limited opportunity. The loss of employment may create a permanent – and growing – underclass.
Alternative futures seem equally plausible. Wealth and income inequality could become more accentuated, as a winner-takes-all capitalism takes hold. The millions emerging from extreme poverty in developing countries could find themselves in a world of limited opportunity. The loss of employment may create a permanent – and growing – underclass.

One of my strange little gifts is envisioning trends. If i look at all the trends happening on the globe today, i see this paragraph as being more plausible. I don't see solar as the answer to scale. I have mentioned thorium reactors, but even these i am not so sure of. 

Here's an article on Germany's renewable energy (RE) initiative, which is being funded by high energy taxes on 3 million small to mid-size businesses. Those that generate their own electricity have been exempt. So some of the aforementioned companies are spending a lot to make their own power plants. The companies complain this is stifling growth in their primary businesses. On the other hand, some RE plants are making money and feeding excess back into the grid.

As you may know, Germany has been working with Rifkin and has high goals for RE: they were 23% RE last year with goals of reaching 40-45% by 2025 and 55-60% by 2035. Obviously getting there is going to require investment, and there are complaints like the above. But Germany is far ahead of every other country in this conversion. I guess the alternative costs of catastrophic climate change must be compared to the actual costs of the transition? And how much time we really have to get there and what that will take.

Reply to Discussion


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.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2021   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service