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Foundations of Future Justice

Wednesday 19 August 2009
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Looking at the state of our world today, achieving Future Justice perhaps seems idealistic, or beyond our abilities. But history is filled with many examples of fundamental change. Slavery used to be an accepted part of our world economy. A combination of resistance, laws and economic factors helped to make it the abhorrent crime that it is today. And we are not starting from nowhere. The values we need to help us improve our thoughts and actions are found in many international agreements. When recognizing the importance of fundamental needs, freedoms, rights and aspirations for fulfilled life on our Earth, the world community shows a lot of common and inspiring ground. Here are some examples:

And these international instruments are recognized nationally, for example in countless constitutions. But too often the agreed values and goals are over-ridden in practice. They are intentionally ignored by those whose power they might affect, or said to be unaffordable from an economic point of view. This view is very comfortable for those who are benefiting most under the rules in place. It is also a direct threat to Future Justice. We cannot continue to ignore ecological laws of our planet or fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens if we want to secure life and peace now and in the future. We can stand up for our common needs. And we can update economics so it respects people and the planet. Changing the way we think and act towards Future Justice includes engaging for the official recognition of best available knowledge. The societal definition and acknowledgement of taboos often precedes changes in our laws and policies.

Life-Saving Taboos

Laws change according to advances in knowledge and changes in morality and culture. Our vision of Future Justice recognizes the important role of societal taboos. These are 'no-go' areas based on values and common sense rather than precise prohibitions.  For Future Justice, destroying diversity and mutual trust as fundamental preconditions for ecological and social resilience is taboo. When scientific knowledge tells us that the wellbeing or the very survival of human and other species is threatened, we need collectively to say ‘no way, we just don’t go there’. We know that:

  • humanity is part of a greater biosphere comprised of a unique community of life and complex ecosystems.
  • dignity is the fundamental constituting value of communities and being treated fairly a basic human need.
  • social and political rules are to serve humans in their collective endeavor to achieve wellbeing.

The World Future Council declares it taboo to:

  • knowingly break the limits of our earth’s carrying capacity.
  • oppress rights, remove freedoms, abuse trust and exploit fear among people in one’s own or other societies.
  • maintain rules that continue or increase injustice and insecurity now and in the future.

Examples of no-go areasPolitical decisions which:

Technology choices which:

Scientific, economic, cultural and military decisions which:

The Future Justice policy principles are supposed to guide law- and policy-making that would be in accordance with such taboo-claims. Yet, if policies are not sufficient to deter certain activities and decisions, we also have to tighten our measures of individual accountability and enforcement.  What are your thoughts? Add your comment below. Have your say. We welcome your thoughts and proposals. Not a Planetary Citizen? Sign up      

Thank you to the World Future Council for providing this article

World Future Council » Acknowledgements

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