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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 areas

Political decisions which:

Technology choices which:

  • cause quasi-eternal, and possibly deadly, future waste burdens, such as nuclear power
  • cause potentially irreversible changes to life systems, such as genetic modification for consumption purposes while alternatives prevail

Scientific, economic, cultural and military decisions which:

  • aggravate insecurity and resource shortage, such as excessive and increasing military expenditure to the detriment of social investments
  • carry the potential of irreversibly destroying entire regions, such as nuclear weapons 

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.

"The majority of international programmes focus on the institutions and mechanics, the form and structure, of the rule of law, while evading the substantive content – the ethos – of that rule of law." - Rama Mani (WFC Councillor)


» Acknowledgements