Richard Spear (rspear@PRIMENET.COM)
Fri, 12 May 1995 17:59:20 PST
I don't think that this discussion is on very firm ground. As Read has
pointed out, the level of resource use is a function of technological ability
and demand (I know he didn't put it in these words, but I think he said the
same thing). To address the case of aboriginal North American populations -
they were by and large stone age populations, and their mode of production
took place (mostly) at the level of the family. As hunter/gatherers they
excersized population controls to assure a supportable population size, and
their "balance with nature" was the result of their mode of production, not
their ideological perspective.
Other North American cultures practiced agriculture. While still stone age
technologically, they had proportionally larger populations because their
production methods allowed it and children contributed to the
agricultural economy. Their "balance with nature" was more "destructive" than
h/g's - not because of their ideological perspective, but because their
methods of production took a greater toll upon the land.
Europeans entered the scene as nascent industrial capitalists - they had a far
more productive technology, a far larger population potential and much more
destructive demands were made upon the land. This was not because the
Europeans had a particularly evil ideology ... it was because their mode of
productions demanded more resources, as did their burgeoning population.
I know that this is extremely fundamental stuff and I'm sorry to bring it up.
Humans interact with their environment in complex ways, but their resource
demands will grow as their technology improves and their populations grow.
Nature in all cases is viewed as a resource (and after private property
develops, a commodity) and this is true for all levels of human economic
systems. It is an essential human endevour ... working and creating ... and
we use the things around us in the process.
There is no doubt that we are guilty of excesses. These are particularly
painful to observe and easiest to evaluate after the fact. I would like to
think that human societies will come to see their interaction with their
environment as necessary but not necessarily destructive. This will require aq
radical change in our mode of production, as all profit driven decision makers
will always, at the margins, choose to utilize rather than preserve.