Questions for good ancestors is something I am working on feedback welcome!
the enclosure of the common more than to any other cause may be traced all the changes that have subsequently passed over the village. It was like knocking the keystone out of an arch. The keystone is not the arch; but, once it is gone, all sorts of forces, previously resisted, begin to operate towards ruin, and gradually the whole structure crumbles down. This fairly illustrates what has happened to the village, in consequence of the loss of the common. (Sturt 2010: 130)
By the “common” we mean, first of all, the common wealth of the material world – the air, the water, the fruits of the soil, and all nature’s bounty – which in classic European political texts is often claimed to be the inheritance of the humanity as a whole, to be shared together. We consider the commons also, and more significantly those results of social production that are necessary for social interaction and further production, such as knowledges, languages, codes, information, affects, and so forth. This notion of the common does not position humanity separate from nature, as either its exploiter or its custodian, but focuses rather on the practices of interaction, care and cohabitation in a common world, promoting the beneficial and limiting the detrimental forms of the common. In the era of globalization, issues of the maintenance, production and distribution of the common in both these senses and in both ecological and socioeconomic frameworks become increasingly central. (Negri and Hardt 2009: vii)
The researchers also dispute the claim that Easter Island's human inhabitants were responsible for their own demise. Instead, they think the culprits may have been Europeans, who brought disease and took islanders away as slaves, and rats, which quickly multiplied after arriving with the first Polynesian settlers.
"The collapse was really a function of European disease being introduced," Lipo said. "The story that's been told about these populations going crazy and creating their own demise may just be simply an artifact of [Christian] missionaries telling stories."
At a scientific meeting last year, Hunt presented evidence that the island's rat population spiked to 20 million from the years 1200 to 1300. Rats had no predators on the island other than humans and they would have made quick work of the island's palm seeds. After the trees were gone, the island's rat population dropped off to a mere one million.
Lipo thinks the story of Easter Island's civilization being responsible for its own demise might better reflect the psychological baggage of our own society than the archeological evidence.
"It fits our 20th century view of us as ecological monsters," Lipo said. "There's no doubt that we do terrible things ecologically, but we're passing that on to the past, which may not have actually been the case. To stick our plight onto them is unfair."