Lecture, Academy of Marxism; Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
August 11, 2009
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Social systems engineering, to which all Indigenous nations, along with socialist nations like China have been subject, involves putting targeted nations under such siege from external and internal pressures that have been manufactured and/or exacerbated, that the targeted nation winds up in a straight jacket, forced to divert precious scarce resources into defense and away from development and sustainability, that the targeted nation appears to “conform”, and thus the “proof” has been engineered, of the caricatures that have been made of that targeted nation: “backward”; “repressive”; “inefficient”; “undemocratic”; “stagnant” etc. But in a fair fight, or peaceful competition between systems, socialism beats capitalism any day, even in terms of capitalism’s own definitions and measurements of “efficiency”, just as traditional Indigenous societies beat modern-day assimilated BIA-DIA controlled and capitalist influenced Indigenous societies, in terms of all the requisite ingredients to development and sustainability shown in the traditional Indigenous model of development and sustainability, any day. That is why they were put under siege with their core institutions and values slandered, demonized and marginalized historically and in the present: in a fair and peaceful competition between systems, socialism beats capitalism, as Traditional ways are far superior, even in terms of levels of science and technology, than what has become of Indigenous societies in North America and elsewhere under capitalism and “modernity.” 
This is why I have urged young Chinese students who ask me about getting to go to school in the West to consider that they have some very fine teachers and schools in China and I have urged them, as a foreigner, not to worship things foreign. I have given the metaphor that if I were given a basic test of Economics in Mandarin, which I do not read, write or speak, it would appear that I know nothing of economics even though I have taught it over thirty years. This is only because I have been given a test and criteria of “success” that were designed and intended for me to fail and thus my “failure” and “proof” of my lack of knowledge of economics were “engineered” by those with the power to do so. The same holds for Indigenous societies put under siege by colonial and imperial powers to engineer the “proof” of their supposed “backwardness”, “stagnation” lack of “civilization”, etc; and thus my advice to Indigenous students, who seek capitalist “civilization” and “progress” away from Traditional Ways, is the same as my advice to Chinese students seeking supposed “advanced education” in the West: perhaps take a good look at, and then appreciate, what you have right in front of you.
Notice in the Indigenous model of development and sustainability the focus is not on conquering or subduing nature but in working in harmony with nature. In Indigenous terms there is no such thing as Humankind versus Nature or the Environment as whenever humankind works against, or tries to conquer, the forces of that of which humankind is an integral part—“Nature”—then “Nature” is destined to win the battle as is evidenced by present-day global climate change and a whole host of threats to the planet that come from capitalist greed, myopia and disrespect for that—environment—of which humankind is an integral part of a delicate web of life froms and matter. Notice also that “Hope”, “Future Orientation”, “Cultural Integrity”, “Social Respect” and “Civic Participation”, all the elements of the overall construct of “social capital” to which modern-day Economics is only beginning to mention as critical to growth and devleopment, has been a part of Traditional Indigenous thinking for thousands of years. Notice in the Indigenous model, the focus on Health and Safety, on Vibrant Initiatives, and on individuals taking “Personal Responsibility” for the “Consequences” of their actions, in addition to “Incomes” (how they are earned and used), “Productivity” and “Trade” as critical to development and sustainability. The Indigenous model includes, holistically, factors that are clearly critical to development and sustainability and yet are nowhere to be found and/or are only newly-emerging, in the Western and capitalist-based models of growth, development and sustainability.