The Need for Economic and Social Justice – by John Scales Avery

The Center for Economic and Social Justice advocates a radical decrease of the economic inequality that today has allowed a tiny corporate elite to control not only our mass media, but also the entire apparatus of government in many countries. I firmly believe that greater equality and restoration of democracy are vital steps if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, thermonuclear war and economic collapse. These reforms are also the themes of my own book, The Need For a New Economic System, and many of the articles that I have written for the alternative media:

It is clear that our present economic system is unsustainable. It is based on fractional reserve banking, which is unjust at the best of times, and which fails entirely when economic growth falters. But never-ending exponential industrial growth on a finite planet is a logical absurdity. We are already using resources at a rate that would take 1.6 planet earths to replace. We are already undermining the ecological systems that support all of life.

Our present economic system has led to an unbelievable degree of economic inequality. According to a recent Oxfam report, the 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population. To maintain this incredible degree of inequality, both between nations and within nations, military force is used, and democracy is replaced by oligarchy.

The future of human civilization is endangered both by the threat of thermonuclear war and by the threat of catastrophic climate change. It is not only humans that are threatened, but also the other organisms with which we share the gift of life; and both of the twin threats are results of our present economic system.

We live at a critical moment of history. Our duty to future generations is clear: We must achieve a steady-state economic system. We must restore democracy. We must decrease economic inequality. We must break the power of corporate greed. We must leave fossil fuels in the ground. We must stabilize and ultimately reduce the global population. We must eliminate the institution of war; and we must develop new ethics to match our advanced technology — ethics in which narrow selfishness, shortsightedness and nationalism will be replaced by loyalty to humanity as a whole, combined with respect for nature.

We need a new economic system, a new society, a new social contract, and a new way of life. We need economic and social justice!


John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. Fellowships, memberships in societies: Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. He was the Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, April 2004. He can be reached at

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