By John Scales Avery
A better world is possible!
It is hard to predict how long the terrible COVID-19 pandemic will last, but at some time in the future it will end, and we will be faced with the problem of rebuilding the world after the enormous economic and human destruction which the disease will have left in its wake. The pandemic has thrown light onto the world’s political and economic systems, and has shown them to be wanting. Most people today do not wish to return to the old normal. That “normal” was part of the problem. The post-pandemic world must be a new and changed world!
Is a better world possible? Of course it is! Our present world is filled with an almost unimaginable amount of injustice, greed and folly. Why is our present world so full of glaring faults? One reason can be found in the slow rate of change of genetic evolution, compared with the lightning-like rate of cultural evolution. We face the problems of the 21st century with an emotional nature that has not changed much since our ancestors lived in small tribes, competing for territory on the grasslands of Africa. Our emotional nature contains an element of tribalism to which militarists can all too easily appeal.
Recovery offers climate action opportunities
When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, governments will be faced by the task of repairing the enormous economic damage that it has caused. The situation will be similar to the crisis that faced US President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he took office during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Roosevelt, encouraged by John Maynard Keynes, used federal funds to build much-needed infrastructure around the United States. His programs, the New Deal, ended the Great Depression in his country.
Today, the similar concept of a Green New Deal is being put forward globally. This concept visualizes government-sponsored programs aimed at simultaneously creating both jobs and urgently-needed renewable energy infrastructure. The Green New Deal programs could be administered in such a way as to correct social injustices.
A sustainable economic system
Economists, with a few notable exceptions, such as Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Aurelio Peccei and Herman Daly, have a cynical tendency to confine their discussions to the short-term future. With self-imposed myopia, they refuse to look more than a few decades into the future. This allows them to worship growth, and to advocate perpetual growth. But endless growth of anything physical, on a finite earth, is a logical impossibility.
Our present financial system is unsustainable, and it works for the interests of a few very rich people. For the sake of the long-term future, we must build a sustainable, steady-state economic system, an economic system which reduces inequality, and which serves the broad public interest, an economic system with both a social conscience and an ecological conscience.
A new freely downloadable book
I would like to announce the publication of a book, which discusses the changes that we must make to create a better world after the pandemic has ended. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated by clicking on this link.
Other books and articles about global problems are on these links
I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.
I hope that you will circulate the link in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.
John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (19881997). http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To know more about his works visit this link. http://eacpe.org/about-john-scales-avery/
First Published in Countercurrents.org