Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
For an introduction to this expanding meta-thread see Integral Anti-Capitalism pt I. We continue here because we have, hilariously, exceeded this website's capacity...
I agree that holacracy should be singled out for special investigation. The provocative notion that we are dramatically over-emphasizing the need for "conscious leadership" pertains very pertinently to this discussion. Robertson, like ourselves, is pointing to the fact that business (organizations) which integrally improve the interiors and cultural
spirit of their participants are still predisposed to certain outcomes as a result of their actual structural habits of communication and their specific decision-making protocols.
His notion of a constantly self-correcting dynamic organization drawing upon the capacity of individuals to act as tension-sensors relative to the "evolutionary purpose" of the organization is compelling and admirable.
More important is simply that he is making a stand and making an attempt to construct a protocol (constitution). I am not fully versed in the 4.0 version of the holacracy constitution but we should get deeper into some of these proposals.
Given the level of your current knowledge of their protocols, what would you want to change or add in order to ethically and functionally empower this approach even more?
I’m not yet familiar enough with holacracy to know it might need. So for now I’ll ask questions. From p. 8 there was a blog post on ownership and the model might (but not necessarily) include outside capital investors. I asked:
“One question immediately pops up on outside investors. Are there limits on the amount of outside capital investment? What if their investment is such that without it the company could not financially survive? And/or depends on it for start-up? Then such investment would control the company, like it or not. If you don't do what I say I'm taking my ball and going home. No ball, no ballgame. Not the same as a mortgage or loan company.”
Granted why such investors are included on the Board there are other stake-holders to balance their input. But are there rules about which outside individuals or companies can invest? Do they have to have similar values like triple bottom lines instead of just profit for their investors? Can a Goldman Sachs provide start-up capital? Or Romeny’s ex-firm, Bain? Just wondering, so perhaps it’s time for those out there more familiar with the system to engage us?
I appreciate your inquiry about the potential influence of outside investors in holacratic systems. Perhaps they have a good protocol for that. Or perhaps not. In general, all "smart groups" need to comprehend and anticipate the distortion influence that donors and enablers wield. The psychology of human nature shows that we may believe ourselves to be quite sturdy and impartial while we are really bending in the breeze.
One of the concerns I had while perusing the holacracy constitution was about the voting procedure for filling roles. There are many parts of their approach which impress. In particular I would like to make not of the necessity to place constraints upon discussion. When the mention of a concern is met with the mention of counter-concerns then the intelligence and practical efficacy of discussions drops dramatically. A highly suspicious mind might even supposed that the human hive is encouraged to engage in the constant casual usage of dysfunctional conversation. So their use of controlled phases in both operational and hiring decisions is admirable. However, their actual voting protocol seems (to my naive glance) to be based on a model of transparent majority. A sophisticated "show of hands".
So this may be an area in which holacratic principles can be expanded to include a more thorough use of "secret ballot" and "averaged ranking".
The former often seems like a show of bad faith and an invitation to covert dangers... but these are considerably outweighed by the liberation of individual intelligence from any conscious or unconscious concerns about the social consequences of their input.
The latter evades a primitive "first past the post" approach in which our intelligence is functionally limited to a yes/no determination about each candidate relative to other candidates.
Another thing I admire about holacracy is that it represents a functional procedure and culture in which participants would appear to become better participants by participating. Their capacity and ethical commitment to the good of the organization through its evolving protocols should be an increasing trend. Any smart group needs to be arranged so that even people who try to distort the results will find their capacity and will to do this reducing over time. Replaced by the inspirational efficacy of the group.
This brings me to another issue relative to voting, both in political and economic groups. That is the relative absence of specific instructions about how to translated ones feelings into a vote-mark. This is almost completely unaddressed in terms of popular elections. To discuss it even seems insidious to some people who fear coercion (and/or wish to maintain the current material power structures).
Protocols should have at least a clear suggestion about how to locate both "gut" and "intellectual" data within ourselves and convert that into a numerical value which can be contributed to a group decision. A lack of clarification at this critical junction may act as an invisible source of drag upon an otherwise very functional group organism.
It might even be possible to define an "integral-level organizational set up" for business or politics by simply compiling a list of areas in which intelligence and capacity are distorted. We might recall that most of Wilber's philosophy has emerged in levels correlated to his discovery of "fallacies" or "basic errors". Integral proposals about business and society could be all over the map unless there is a reasonable set of constraints that make sure they fall in the most lucrative zone.
So other than the potential influence of outside "helpers" and "donors" what other sources of distortion or inhibition do you see going mostly unaddressed in otherwise progressive groups?
My next question of holacracy is who came up with it? It seems to be the pet project of Brian Robertson, his own brainchild. I'm wondering if that is so of if it was a community or P2P project? I mean, the structure of holacracy itself calls for distributed decision-making but was the creation of holacracy itself derived from this process or mostly dictated by Robertson? I've yet to find an answer at the site so I posed this question to them via contact info. I'll provide the response if/when received. I think the answer is pivotal in determining if this thing called holacracy arose from its own medicine.
I look forward that answer if it is forthcoming. The notion of self-arising systems is something which haunts the periphery of these discussions. My fantasy is that we can devise a group protocol which so reliably and simply exceeds the cognitive capacity of the individual participants that it would be foolish to predetermine the purpose and nature of the group. Collectively we could a better job of determining what kind of a collective we should be. "Smartgroups" of this kind could then spread through the world in a very radical social uprising. How possible that is remains uncertain...
As I understand holacracy, the different companies making use of it are assumed to engage in their own mutational modifications of the "constitution". So even if Brian wrote the whole thing out in his bathtub it still retains an open source quality. The answer to whether its current forms are or are not the result of distributed decision-making is almost certainly: sort of.
One of the reasons the holacracy approach is so amenable to business organization is that it seems to depend upon the functional axis of a specified purpose. The aim is somewhat pregiven -- our job is to sell widgets or maximize share-holder profit, etc. His use of the metaphor of the sensors on an airplane derives from a mechanism that is assumed to be designed for a well-known purpose.
My question would be whether or not this "aim" is a necessarily functional element in generating enhanced organizational capacity? Or whether it is simply an artifact of the need to make these systems serve a relatively conventional marketplace task?
Your suggestion of a smart group that arises creatively from a continually evolving set of parameters seems to be the intent and practice of holacracy. As to the organizational purpose of Holacracy One, it seems to have multiple bottom lines including but not limited to profit. For example, see this post in the comments where I noted that the top to bottom pay ratio is 3 to 1, and quoted some of those multiple purposes:
"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authority, the separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."
This sounds much more like the sort of emerging P2P organizational structure discussed throughout this thread. And also of significance in the post following this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."
These are indeed advances over the kind of conscious capitalism promoted and AQALly packaged for sale at I-I.
This is an interesting moment. Apparently Amazon.com is experimenting with a version of holacracy as well. It clearly represents a theoretical advance over the typical kind of conscious capitalism which combines advanced sentiments with a potentially dangerous and uninspected ideological allegiance to more primitive routines of social organization and wealth production. Yet we cannot know the results of the experiment in advance.
I have tremendous optimism about emergent p2p organizational structures. Experimentation is utterly necessary and should be strongly encouraged. I am also very hopeful that advances can be made in terms of quantification. This is very central in my thinking lately.
It seems that experimental protocols for advances social organization systems suffer from the lack of a quantifiable evaluation of their respective degrees of "collective intelligence". Most people are drawn to such possibilities by ethical and aesthetic criteria which do no necessarily persuade the world. So I would love to see experimentation supplemented by the attempt to devise a metric for estimating the intelligence of a social organization protocol.
Along similar lines, my "tetrabucks" type notions represent the possibility/necessity to structure our currency at a level that correlates to advanced P2P organizational structures and post-pluralistic consciousness.
The potential of an evil holacracy has hardly been broached. If it works -- it works. Other than simply the tendency of less complex people not to use more complex systems, and the tendency of more complex systems to complexify their participants, there needs to be some inter-organizational structures which incline all organizations int he direction of broad human well-being. It is my assertion that as long as primary areas of value remain outside monetization the actions of groups trying to utilize official social credits will constantly become unstable.
So I am imagining a line leading from pathological capitalism to standard capitalism to conscious capitalism to trans-capitalist network organizations to such organizations bound together by a integrated set of metrics for determining the intelligence of groups and splicing together (at least) four broad domains of human value.
Along these lines -- how will we decide whether holacratic integral business is working better?
As to how we determine whether alternative economic paradigms are 'working,' I'd suggest that even by the standards of typical business democratic workplaces like co-ops are successful. If by that we mean the organization runs smoothly, has low employee turnover, high employee satisfaction, makes a profit or surplus over operating costs, and other such typical measures. Plus they fulfill their stated purposes as expressed in theRochdale principles, like community education, cooperation, democratic control, etc.
I'd say the same applies to holacracy. They also have to accomplish the usual business parameters like above but also meet stated principles like in their constitution. Given Robertson's business acumen I'm sure at the site he has precise and measurable indices to track such progress, though I didn't try to find them as yet.
And from this author interview. Sanders and Stein are the only US candidates that are promoting what he's talking about. Clinton is just more of the same.
"Our argument is that we currently have a citizenless democracy. By that we mean a governing system where all the important decisions of government are made to suit the interests and values of the wealthiest and most powerful Americans, and the corporations they own.This is not a controversial point, as several prominent political science studies have reached that exact conclusion in recent years. In short, if the vast majority of Americans want something from government and a small number of very wealthy Americans want something else, the rich guys always win."
"This is why John and I argue that building out our democratic infrastructure -- the institutions and practices that give citizens real power -- is the central battle of our times. If we win that battle, and it will be a political revolution to do so, we will be in a position to address and solve the issues of automation, a stagnant economy, militarism, inequality and the environment. We need to extend the democratic infrastructure to our economy. It will not be easy, as those that benefit by the status quo will oppose democratization tooth and nail, but there is no other choice. The great debates and experimentation will concern how to do so justly and effectively."
"John and I argue that rejuvenating an independent news media is a public policy issue of the highest magnitude. It is a cornerstone of the democratic infrastructure that a self-governing society requires. As we have written about at length, the framers of the US Constitution -- while they were far from proponents of democracy in many regards -- fully understood that creating a free press was mandatory for a free society and job one for a government dedicated to self-government. We must return to their wisdom posthaste."
How does the Commons work? See this short video. If you want more, read the in-depth article here.
Naomi Klein and John Nichols on what's next at the People's Summit. This is a long war against neoliberalism and we must win. It requires a fundamental shift from endless taking to compassionate giving. And we must keep up the good fight, for it will be long and hard.
For example the following from his 6/22/16 entry:
"Gains in resource and energy efficiency have never led to a sustained decrease in humanity’s raw materials and raw fuels consumption with a stationary level of GDP. Invariably, in waves, the engineers’ contribution to shop-floor efficiency in production processes have been used by the businesses that employ these engineers to save on costs so as to be able to produce and sell more. In fact, what we call economic growth is the long history of the diversion of efficiency gains into production increases. And quite often, this also ends up leading to more, rather than less, raw material extraction and consumption. If any engineer ever had the illusion that they would be working to improve the world through efficiency, he or she should think again — and take a good, hard look at how businesses and industries are, by the very logic of single-minded profit-seeking that moves them, hijacking the efficiency gains and transforming them (when 'successful') into gains in sales and in profits, and usually also into increases in global resource consumption. More fuel-efficient automobiles or airplanes, for instance, are a total scam — not in themselves or as feats of cutting-edge engineering, but because they make driving or flying cheaper per kilometer, so that all of us car or airline users can do more kilometers than before with a 'clean conscience', all the while helping companies reap profits from diverting their engineers’ well-meaning micro-level efforts into ecologically deleterious impacts at the macro level."
In People Get Ready they talk about the basic income and don't find it a useful idea. They say that capitalists like the idea because then they can eliminate other social programs and privatize what they used to cover. What good is free money if we have to use it to buy back needed services and still maintain capitalism? I'm curious of what y'all think of this?
Absolutely. This is what economists call Jeavon's Paradox or The Rebound Effect. Efficiency ain't what it's cracked up to be, unless we implement additional measures to regulate the results.
Here's something I wrote in 2009 for a report for a city/county appointed energy task force I was appointed to:
Before making recommendations, it is important to consider what has become known as ‘the rebound effect.’ “Put simply, the 'rebound' effect is the extent of the energy saving produced by an efficiency investment that is taken back by consumers in the form of higher consumption, either in the form of more hours of use or a higher quality of energy service.”[i]
As new technologies (or government mandates) come online to improve energy efficiencies, the price per unit of energy tends to decline (i.e. the price for gasoline may stay the same, but if you are able to get more miles per gallon in your vehicle, the price per unit of energy has declined). Standard economic theory tells us that when price declines, demand increases. As demand increases, more energy is consumed. To some extent, the rebound effect offsets the beneficial effects of the new technology or government mandate. The effect is sometimes referred to as ‘Jevons paradox.’ W. Stanley Jevons, a 19th century British economist, observed that greater energy efficiency will in the short-run produce energy savings, but in the long-run may result in higher energy use.
Even as energy efficiency has increased in the U.S. during the past 30 years, so has net energy consumption per capita.[ii] And the average vehicle in the U.S. today consumes as much gasoline as it did 30 years ago, when engines were 30% less efficient.[iii] Jeff Rubin sums it up: “More cars, bigger cars, driven more. That’s what all the improvements in fuel technology have got us. The result is that we are as gasoline dependent today as we were in the midst of the past two oil shocks.”[iv]
None of this is to say we should not pursue increased energy efficiencies. Rather, we need to ensure that increased efficiencies are accompanied by significant decreases in energy resource consumption. The rebound effect can be mitigated with varying levels of intervention (e.g. significant reduction to market supply, carbon taxes, license fees, or increasing leisure time instead of increasing production/consumption) to maintain an overall benefit of efficiency improvements.[v]
[i] Horace Herring (Lead Author); Cutler J. Cleveland (Topic Editor). 2008. "Rebound effect." In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth August 30, 2006; Last revised November 18, 2008]. a href="http://www.eoearth.org/article/Rebound_effect" title="http://www.eoearth.org/article/Rebound effect">http://www.eoearth.org/article/Rebound_effect>.
[ii] Mithra Moezzi. “The Predicament of Efficiency,” Proceedings of the 1998 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings (August 1998). pp. 4.273-4.282.
[iii] Jeff Rubin, op. cit. (2009).
[v] For a more nuanced explanation of the rebound effect than we have room for here, see also The Rebound Effect Report: An Assessment of the Evidence for Economy-Wide Energy Savings from Improved Energy Efficiency, UK Energy Research Centre, 2009. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-index.php?page=ReboundEffect.
Edwyrd theurj Burj said:
For example the following from his 6/22/16 entry:
"Gains in resource and energy efficiency have never led to a sustained decrease in humanity’s raw materials and raw fuels consumption with a stationary level of GDP...
The facts about Uber in this article.
"Internal Uber calculations, provided to BuzzFeed News by Uber, based on data spanning more than a million rides and covering thousands of drivers in three major U.S. markets — Denver, Detroit, and Houston — suggest that drivers in each of the three markets overall earned less than an average of $13.25 an hour after expenses."
"A BuzzFeed News review of the rough internal net pay estimates contained in the leaked documents determined that the models Uber used are highly abstracted and oversimplify certain key calculations. Rather than relying on Uber’s figures, BuzzFeed News conducted an independent analysis of the raw trip data and driver data. Uber subsequently recalculated BuzzFeed’s estimates using a broader and more detailed set of internal data — which it declined to share directly with BuzzFeed News. The company did, however, conduct this recalculation according to BuzzFeed News’ methodology — which it said was 'solid' — and did so in the presence of a BuzzFeed News editor and reporter.
"Based on these calculations, it’s possible to estimate that Uber drivers in late 2015 earned approximately $13.17 per hour after expenses in the Denver market (which includes all of Colorado), $10.75 per hour after expenses in the Houston area, and $8.77 per hour after expenses in the Detroit market, less than any earnings figure previously released by the company."
Even more dire math about Uber:
The struggle for a more democratized energy system:
Progressive reframing for the upcoming patriotic holiday:
Reich on Uber and the bullshit spin per his FB post today. Note that former Obama political adviser David Plouffe is now an Uber chief adviser and board member. Revolving corporate doors reveal the true establishment Dem neoliberal economic agenda. Clinton II will be no different. Reich:
"Uber chief adviser and board member (and former Obama adviser) David Plouffe claims the company is a pathway to the American dream. Baloney. According to internal pricing data leaked to Buzzfeed, Uber drivers in several markets make about as much as Walmart workers. In Denver they average $13.17 an hour after expenses; in Houston, $10.75 an hour after expenses; and in Detroit, $8.77 an hour after expenses -- more like the same American nightmare large numbers of workers are now living.
"And they have no labor protections – no unemployment insurance, no worker’s compensation for injuries, no time-and-a-half for overtime, no right to form a union, Uber pays nothing into Social Security for them so they can’t collect it when they retire, no Affordable Care Act healthcare, no minimum wage. Nothing. Nada. Uber calls them “independent contractors.” In this sense, they’re worse off that Walmart workers."