Back in August, Robb Smith did a webinar called The Great Release. I hadn’t had the opportunity to watch it in full until this holiday weekend when I was reminded of it by a post in Earpy’s Integral Saloon, an Integral Facebook Group. This is reposted from my response there.
I thought it was actually very good, Lots of stuff to unpack in there. He’s spot on about why Trump won and Clinton lost and how Trump as a populist represents a push toward protectionist Industrial Age Nation State level, which is of course regression. I fucking love his charts and want them. Can’t have enough chart porn.
I agree with him unfortunately that we probably have some ugly days ahead of us, but that we’re on the verge of a momentous leap. I liked the part about repression (top-down) and suboptimization (bottom-up) forms of oppression, except again I think the biggest part of the problem there is state power. I too, liked his call for “radical centrism” and I think really that is what Integral Panarchy would be. I also liked when he said we need a balance between anarchists and patriots, because I kind of consider myself a patriotic anarchist.
Things I think he got wrong (or just partial):
1. He says Hayek replaces Keynes as dominant/influential economist from the 60’s/70’s onward (neo-liberal period). I don’t think that is the case at all. Our economy has limped along on Keynesian economics solidly since the 1930’s, there is plenty of evidence that the New Deal prolonged the great depression. I don’t see any evidence that we became “economically conservative” in the neo-liberal period. Quite to the contrary infact, the expansion of the public sector has continued (green push toward more socialism).
I also don’t know why Hayek should be considered “conservative” although he is Free-Market. Free Market economics is the hallmark of classical liberalism. To me Keynes would be the economic conservative and Hayek the liberal.
2. He failed to mention the role of the Federal Reserves manipulation of currency and interest rates in the current crisis, or maybe that is what he means by “finance phase” – he didn’t elaborate on that. He briefly mentioned the role of banking regulation, which is the primary cause of the moral hazard that precipitated the crash of the housing bubble in 2007. You can be sure if we were operating under a Hayekian economy and not a Keynesian one there would not have been such a bubble in the first place, because the banks would have been on the hook for every loan they made.
3. When talking about the Trans-State (which is a great term by the way because it implies something beyond the concept of “state”) he mentioned that the Trans-State cannot abolish the nation state. This is the Transcend and Include cannon of Integral which I think is misinterpreted in this context. The Nation must be transcended and included but in doing so it MUST lose the “State” – it’s territorial sovereignty and its monopoly on violence. Nations then become cultural units, rather than agencies of oppression over their chattel/citizens. Thus if Robb would just delete the suffix “State” from the terms in his lower right quadrant he’d have a perfect model.
That’s my take anyway.