Money and Politics


John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service

A New Freely Downloadable Book

I would like to announce the publication of a book which presents the reasons why we urgently need to reduce the role of money in politics. The book may be downloaded and circulated free of charge from the following link:

Why We Need to Act

In former times, and also today, many countries that call themselves democracies are actually oligarchies, controlled by the richest members of society. This is because, notoriously, the votes of politicians can be bought. It would be highly desirable to sever the connection between money and politics, but the task of doing so is very difficult.

Today, the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, are nearer to being true democracies than most other countries in the world. This is because the contrast between rich and poor people is far less than in most other nations. The Scandinavian countries have very high and steeply progressive income taxes.

In Scandinavian countries, the rich are so heavily taxed that it is difficult to become extremely rich. Nor can one be very poor. Extreme poverty has been eliminated by Scandinavian social safety nets. This is, of course, a form of socialism, but one should be aware that the Scandinavian nations have market economies. with large private sectors.

In his book with Kate Pickett entitled “The spirit level”, the British social epidemiologist Richard G. Wilkinson has presented facts showing that societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness, obesity, and others, and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater.

Furthermore, when the contrast between rich and poor is very great, economies do not function well. The poor do not have the money needed to buy back the output of their societies, while the rich are too few in numbers to do so.

An overwhelmingly important reason for getting money out of politics is the climate crisis that we face today. If politicians continue to use money as a guide in making decisions, we will lose the battle to save human society and the biosphere from the catastrophic long term effects of climate change,

What will happen if we lose the battle to save the earth? Then most of the world will become uninhabitable, starting with tropical countries, low-lying countries such as Bangladesh and the Netherlands, and all coastal cities. In the long term, almost all of the earth’s surface will become uninhabitable, and the global population of humans will become correspondingly reduced. There is a danger that the struggle for habitable space will result in deadly conflicts.

Meanwhile, if we fail to win the battle against climate catastrophe, vast numbers of animals and plants, unable to migrate to more habitable regions, will become extinct.

These are reasons why all of us must work with dedication to get money out of politics.

Other books and articles about  global problems are on these links:

I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to your friends and contacts who might be interested.


John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and 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. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf). Website:

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Nov 2021.

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