In his book The Road to Serfdom, Freidrich Hayek asserts that the economic freedom of capitalism is a requisite of political freedom… with continual growth being the mechanism that feeds such “economic freedom”.
So we have to propose the question : What makes an “Advanced Society”?
Could it be that as proposed by Hayek above?..Or is it something more basic…more durable…more sustainable than the capitalist notion of continuous growth / continuous consumption? Can it be presumed that a technological advanced society holds greater ethical dominance and therefore deserved racial dominance over the more stable tribal structures that once were spread throughout the Australian environment for tens of thousands of years?
Consider these examples..
Eucalyptus Largiflorens (Black Box) : Distribution and occurrence: Local community dominant, in grassy woodland on heavy black clay soils in seasonally flooded areas; In this area of Sth. Aust’, primarily restricted to ex / swamp-lands. This tree, like many that have evolved to an environment-specific location can be found near my residence in the Mallee. Like the Mallee trees everywhere, it has evolved in a stable, static environment over many thousands of years..indeed, you can see that a multitude of trees and understory in the Mallee bio-forest were reliant on such a stable environment for them to spread so wide, so far in such profusion. Any extreme disruption of climate or landscape would have changed the appearance and bio-diversity of the entire forest and it’s denizens..THAT is a “given”. We have to accept ; the very existence of such a bio-forest system proves beyond doubt that the geography where they settled, took root and evolved was stable, static and sustainable for a very long period of time.
This is an important point to my argument..We have to understand and accept that the Mallee bio-forest, from the dry-lands to the swamp-lands, from the canopy to the forest floor is a unique interconnected species specific / environment specific entity that relies upon a stable, static geophysical situation to maintain its integrity. Certainly, that integrity has been corrupted over the last two hundred years since settlement to the point where we cannot truthfully claim that pristine Mallee exists anymore at all. It has become a victim of “continual economic growth”.
Likewise, if we look at the indigenous peoples who lived and thrived along The Coorong in Sth’. Aust’. I will not even attempt to disassemble the complex tribal structures that existed along the lower Murray River…it would be presumption on my part and liable to insulting error. Enough to point out that settlement is proven for many thousands of years. Indeed, carbon dating of one site of middens (discarded mollusc shells) alone put it back to 2.500cal BP. (2.500 yrs.old)…so we have evidence that of the many sites scattered along the seaward-side of The Coorong there was regular gathering and consumption of a reliable food source by the indigenous peoples for thousands of years. I have seen these middens many years ago…scattered amongst the site were numerous camp-fire circles, telling the practice of stopping, gathering, cooking and consumption of the food and presumably the social intercourse that accompanies such moments.
For such feasting to have taken place (these middens are huge!), would prove the reliable, regular supply of the molluscs and the reliable, regular harvesting by a group of peoples familiar with and capable of attending to such a chore on a continual basis for thousands of years.
I know the geography of The Coorong well..on the seaward-side we have bountiful harvest of shell-fish, on the landward-side we have bird and mammal life…the evidence of indigenous people’s fish-traps on The Coorong indicate regular harvesting of food there. The abundance of fresh water from the natural Sth. East drainage system then in place, guaranteed the presence of kangaroos, emus and sundry wildlife for food and clothing…in all, one must admit, that along with the temperate climate, not a bad place to reside…indeed, it could be considered almost an idyll..and reside here people did ..undisturbed for many thousands of years…mark that!…food, clothing, shelter of a quantity and quality that remained in-situ for many thousands of years…exploited but not over-exploited..harvested but not depleted..lived with but not dominated over..and perhaps it could have gone on for time immemorial..like it already had…if not finally destroyed by the kind of “advanced society” lauded by Mr. Hayek at the start of this article.
So tell me..: What constitutes an advanced society?..is it the one who uses it’s developed technology to invade, subjugate, desecrate and finally, perhaps, annihilate that very environment it relies upon for it’s life…or is it the other who, with astute observation recognizes a “line” between sustainability and destruction, and by managing it’s population ,refuses to be tempted by the possibility of a gluttony of temporary riches and maintains a judicious, salubrious lifestyle and culture for many thousands of years, visiting the same locations for food, clothing, shelter without desecration nor selfish accumulation?
So YOU tell me.: Who has the most “advanced society” ?