How Indigenous wisdom can sustain humanity




Aboriginal wisdom, relationships, practises, existential risks, polycentric governance, self-governance, stakeholder governance


Ancient self-governing practices of Indigenous Australians reveal how modern society can achieve sustainable wellbeing for the environment and humanity. No other existing culture has a longer record. In her Nobel Prize speech, Elinor Ostrom described how pre-modern societies evolved polycentric self-governance to avoid over-exploitation of common life-sustaining resources between competing interests to deny them for everyone. Ostrom identified design principles for self-governing ‘Common Pool Resources’ without the intervention of markets or state. This article outlines how these principles could be enhanced to also: (1) recognise Indigenous wisdom, relationships and practices; (2) apply the design principles to incorporated organisations to create a new model of corporate governance to benefit all stakeholders; (3) introduce system science insights that allow creatures to become self-regulating, self-managing and self-governing; (4) identify a politically compelling tax incentive for shareholders to adopt stakeholder self-governance with the cost of the incentive recovered from stakeholders paying taxes and reducing costs for welfare and regulation. A basis is created on which to introduce a universal wellbeing income from corporate dividends. The principles outlined here allow for corporations to become agents for reducing environmental and existential risks for humanity.

How Indigenous wisdom can sustain humanity

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27-05-2022 — Updated on 29-05-2022