Integral Finance

Money is a human abstraction. Although not found in nature, it is pervasively used throughout human activities and undertakings. In so doing, it generates an array of personal and cultural responses in addition to its material manifestations. As such, it is ideally suited for an AQAL analysis. This paper constitutes the introductory theoretical overview for Integral Finance. It introduces the basic principles and presents fundamental applications of Integral principles to money, including money’s nature and its various roles in the world. Finally, I explore money’s applications to and impacts on other disciplines.

Parts 2 & 3 offer an overview of Integral Finance and examines money from a holonic perspective. This paper addresses the fundamental applications of money within an Integral context. This will include what money is as well as money’s nature and its various roles in the world. Though we spend most of our lives involved in activities with strong money referents, it is not commonly understood that money is fundamentally a symbol of agreements and beliefs. Accordingly, money is anything humans agree money to be.

RICHARD B. WAGNER, JD, CFP, has been a pioneer, visionary, and a leader in the financial planning profession for over twenty-two years. Past president of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, founder of the Nazrudin Project, a leaderless but successful financial planning think tank, winner of FPA’s prestigious P. Kemp, Jr. Award in 2003, and successful practitioner, Dick has written seminal works of financial planning theory and aspiration. In 2002, his paper, “Integral Finance: A Framework for a 21st Century Profession” won the Financial Planning Association’s Future of the Profession award. This was the profession’s first venture into Integral theory and led to Dick becoming Director of the Integral Finance Center. Dick has his juris doctorate degree from Lewis and Clark College and a B.A. in religion from the College of Wooster. He lives in Denver, CO and is married to architect Gail Pelsue. They have two adult children and way too many animals.

I realized some major flaws with regards to finance when I had my freshly printed Series 7 license.
In the USA it is illegal to get paid for giving investment advice, but the whole financial advisor industry is concentrated very narrowly on securities - because that is what the industry is set up to make money off of.
Acting in the client’s best interest, an advisor really should stress that a person’s first investment should be real estate. There just isn’t any comparison to the benefits of building equity in the family home. But zero out of ten financial advisors will say “Yeah, you should put that $100k on a down payment for a home rather than paying me to invest it for you.”
Another thing that is clear to me that very few people get is that reducing expenses and consumption is probably the best financial advice to give anyone - but since it won’t bring anyone any profit or commissions - you’ll never hear it from your financial advisor or his brokerage firm.
Finally, there are things that banks and the rich do that working classes often feel is “immoral” - like not paying a debt or taxes and forcing the creditor or the IRS to settle for a lower amount. People like Donald Trump made billions by going into debt and not paying it, cheating on his taxes, not paying his contractors after work was completed, taking money from investors and leaving them holding the bag, and so on. It’s odd to me that something that one group does so casually is so vilified by another group of people.

Financial markets are a complex system (nonlinear with emergent and adaptive characteristics) and its self organising nature may explain the emergence of blockchain and crypto currency, which from a 4th quadrant perspective is evolving in response to the limitations of an old system of money that no longer serves our needs. Humanity desparately needs to transcend and include the old post Bretton Woods credit based financial system and the US Dollar standard which is suffocating under an accelerating burden of debt. We are seeing an entirely new financial eco-system being created in parallel with the old legacy system. Will this new programmable blockchain based system of money be taken over by the old legacy system or will the old system be taken over by this new eco-system? It will likely be something in between but exactly how and what isn’t clear. The battle is playing out now to define the new rules of the game as regulators and law maker catch up with technology. This is an interesting subject worthy of attention and discussion by Integral practitioners.

Complementary monetary systems that effectively address the pressing issues of our time(climate change, poverty, injustice in its many forms, etc) will not take foot unless human consciousness reaches a tipping point driven by interior development. The current dominate economic system is Corporate Capitalism and it is Pathologically driven. Greed is not a value it is a sickness. That sickness is ultimately an addiction to power! Anyone that has experience with intervention knows what happens when you try to step in the way of a persons addictions. The power structures of money are saturated with minds addicted to power and getting in their way is going to create some violent pushback!
Attempting to change the system is absolutely necessary but something must be done to change the consciousness of the (individual) masses. How are we to do that when the current economic system controls the information that is shaping the minds(and brains) of the masses? That’s the crisis of all crises! Money, legislation, politics, etc aren’t going to solve the crisis of consciousness that underlies all human dilemmas unless all of those systems address how we educate the individual and what kind of information is projected upon the collective.

There must be a revolt towards the current economic system but not through violence. It must be an individual transformation that rejects the system we have and redefines what a prosperous life looks and feels like. That places us in an uncomfortable and uncertain place. Who is willing to do that? Not many.

I think the major problem with blockchain is very similar to the problem with all technology issues - most legislators just don’t understand it. All through the 1990’s and 2000’s even up to now threats to somehow legislate social media - are all being made by people who can’t even understand the concepts.
I consider myself fairly smart - and I consider blockchain currencies as a category pretty high risk investment. The exact thing that was originally it’s entire appeal (anonymity) is slowly being stripped out of it and what we now have is a market that is still living off the hype of it’s previous gains.

Agree 100%
The only caveat I would add is that the system is showing signs of strain an large cracks are forming. Those who were addicted to consumerism got a rude kick to the groin in the lockdown of 2020. This resulted in a few more “early adopters” looking to alternative world views not driven solely by consuming products.
These “early adopters” are placing increasing strain on a system that relies on people being addicted to needless consumption, which will decrease the time to the next crisis in global Capitalism. These crises are going to get increasingly severe and closer together as time goes by as more people see how senseless it all is each time.
Then add to this the fact that I do not see any major effort to change the system from above. We are going to continue to have biological crises, climate crises, political crises, border crises, economic crises … and so on. When I was a kid these came about once every ten years. Then they came every five years at the start of this century, an now they are trending every year or twice a year.
Just look at 2020-21. COVID, social unrest from BLM and then antimaskers then in Jan 2021 an attempted coup. On the supply side we had the TP famine, disruption of global shipping from the suez canal and 100% inflation in lumber and steel, for example. Texas had massive a power grid failure. Hurricanes remained on trend with another Cat 4 hitting Louisiana and there was massive flooding in the Northeast. None of these were “flukes” or “unusual” - but were all growing trends easily observable over time.
And all the time there will continue to be those who say “Thanks Obama” and blame everyone else for their problems.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you want to see it -humanity isn’t really going to have a choice in the end. Just like an opioid addict either quits or self destructs.

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You nailed it! Change is inevitable but if we resist it the transformation will be more painful. How much suffering occurs is perhaps the only choice we have.