Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Integral anti-capitalism continued

From my last response in the main post of this IPS thread. Also see a lot of other good posts in the comments. (I've already posted many of them in the blog.)

Your discussion of the chakras reminds me of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And of our recent discussion of Harris of the surplus of one level being applied to growing the next. It's most difficult if not impossible to build up our solar power when our very basic survival instincts are constantly activated because we cannot make ends meet financially. I.e., there is no surplus at this level to apply toward the next, let alone empowering our citizens to make any kind of power play on their own, their family's or their society's sake. So I'm still for redistributing monetary surplus to those in need via the tax code and well as higher minimum wages, government sponsered training/education, etc.

I also hear you about voluntary simplicity, in that it can become an escape from social responsibility. I see far too many ex- and continuing hippies that drop out, just sharing simple living with their loved ones and their micro-communities. They give up on the broader political system because it cannot be changed, it's too big, whatever. Hence I stand my ground, as you say, and fight like hell for raising the standard of living to a living wage and the other progressive political policies. And I live simply.

Your discussion of energy production and use is interesting in noting the hippies again might only promote less energy use instead of smart investment in alternative energy sources. That one I've not seen, as they typically are all about alternative energy production. And yet I think it is fair to say they might note that in addition to transitioning to alternative energy sources we still need to gear down overally energy use. Even though alternative energy generation creates a far lower carbon footprint that oil and coal it is not a zero footprint. We still need to keep in mind our discussion of the ego's craving for more of anything, including energy to have our houses be at 68 degrees in the summer versus 80, etc. We still need to remove cravings and find true needs, the latter often being more in line with living simply.

Which of course reminds me of religious monastarys, where taking a vow of poverty doesn't mean poverty in the sense of not having enough to eat, drink or be warm in the winter. It means more like having those needs met and using the surplus left over to move on up the chakras to open other centers, instead of greedily having 3 cars or owning a summer home in the Bahamas. I don't think that even with alternative energy we'd have enough resources for everyone to live that sort of lifestyle. Nor would such a lifestyle be conducive to higher pursuits.

Now, as to economic democracy that is indeed one of the characteristics we've seen in several 'next level' visions in the comments and in posts above. One example given above was the Mondragon Corporation. Local food-coops are a smaller version, but all sharing the same co-op principles as Mondragon by being part of the international cooperative alliance. See this link for their statement of principles and values. The definition follows is: “A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.” Such an enterprise still makes a 'profit' or surplus but that is used to invest in higher functions up the chain. For example, when someone has ownership and say in how his work is run he activates those higher functions instead of just making a buck doing something he hates just to get by.

I know, I hear some kennilinguists snickering that nothing ever gets done if we allow constant debate on every little business issue that comes up. But that is not how co-ops are run. It is run more like our political representative democracy combined with regular business practices. A board of directors is elected democratically by members and they set the high-end agendas and hire a business manager. The latter does all the hiring in line with the BOD directives and makes all the final business decisions. Employees are hired to fill jobs according to skill, training and experience and move up the ladder of increasing responsibility and pay according to merit and performance. But if the member have any problem with any of this they can bring it up at committee and or board meetings, air their grievances and get a democratic vote. But of course they cannot sabotage or vote out the core co-op principles, one of which is democratic ownership and control.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying democratic workplaces are the natural extension of democratic political structures. They might even be considered 'orange' in that sense instead of green, with the typical hierarchical corporate structure still adhering to the previous 'blue' feudal structures. Or in kennlingus we might phrase it that our economic line is at a lower level than our political line and it needs to catch up.

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