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John Scales Avery

Avery, John Scales

Avery, John Scales

University of Copenhagen, Denmark;
Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science

Job Title

University of Copenhagen, Denmark;
Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science

John Scales Avery was born in 1933 in Lebanon, where his father was Professor of Anatomy at the American University of Beirut. He received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles, both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. In 1969 he founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and he served as its Managing Editor until 1980. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization between 1988 and 1997, and as Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs between 1990 and the present.

ARTICLES BY THIS AUTHOR

Lessons from World War I   ( Knowledge, Science & Values )
 Get Full Text in PDF Abstract The history of World War I is reviewed, starting with a discussion of the development of nationalist movements in Europe. It is pointed out that the global disaster started with a seemingly small operation by Austria, which escalated uncontrollably into an all-destroying conflagration. A striking feature of the war was that none of the people who started it had any idea of what it would be like. Technology had changed the character of war, but old patterns of...
The Arms Trade Treaty Opens New Possibilities at the UN   ( Peace and Security )
Get Full Text in PDF Abstract   On 2 April, 2013, the Arms Trade Treaty, which had been blocked for ten years in the consensus-bound Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, was put directly before the United Nations General Assembly, and was passed by a massive majority. This historic victory opens new possibilities for progress on other seemingly intractable issues. In particular, it gives hope that a Nuclear Weapons Convention might be adopted by a direct vote on the floor of the General...
Malthus   ( Economic Theory ), ( Knowledge, Science & Values )
Get Full Text in PDF Abstract T.R. Malthus' "An Essay on the Principle of Population" (1798) was one of the first systematic studies of the problem of population in relation to resources. It was the first such study to stress the fact that, in general, powerful checks operate at all times to keep human populations from increasing beyond the available food supply. In a later edition, published in 1803, he buttressed this assertion with carefully collected demographic and sociological data...
Federalism and Global Governance   ( Global Governance & Democracy ), ( Global Governance & Law )
Get Full Text in PDF Abstract It is becoming increasingly clear that the concept of the absolutely sovereign nation-state is a dangerous anachronism in a world of thermonuclear weapons, instantaneous communication, and economic interdependence. Probably our best hope for the future lies in developing the United Nations into a World Federation. The strengthened United Nations should have a legislature with the power to make laws that are binding on individuals, and the ability to arrest and try...
Flaws in the Concept of Nuclear Deterrance   ( Peace and Security )
Get the Full Text in PDF Abstract The concept of nuclear deterrence is seriously flawed, and it violates the fundamental ethical principles of all major religions. Besides being morally unacceptable, nuclear weapons are also illegal according to a historic 1996 decision of the International Court of Justice, a ruling that reflects the opinion of the vast majority of the worldʼs peoples. Even a small nuclear war  would be  an  ecological catastrophe,  not only killing...
Entropy and Economics   ( New Economics ), ( Sustainable Development )
Get Full Text in PDF Abstract In this essay, human society is regarded as a “superorganism”, analogous to colonies of social insects. The digestive system of the human superorganism is the global economy, which ingests both free energy and resources, and later excretes them in a degraded form. This process involves an increase in entropy. Early in the 20th century, both Frederick Soddy and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen discussed the relationship between entropy and economics. Soddy called for an...