This Sussex Development Lecture will argue that future generations are not being given the weight they should have in current decisions and discuss reforms that would help to change this.
It will discuss what justice across generations means, drawing on philosophers and economists views on the issue, concluding that our present decisions fail to treat future generations justly. But justice across generations should not be at the expense of the poor today. Justice requires respecting the rights of both today’s poor and tomorrow’s.
One reason the interests of future generations are treated inadequately is that they are not represented in today’s decision-making. The lecture will consider a range of ways that future generations could be included in contemporary decision-making (even though they are not alive), and will discuss examples of institutional arrangements where efforts have been made in this direction. Pressures from special interests and collective action problems will not go away, but could be offset, at least partially, by properly representing future generations in our democratic institutions.
- Frances Stewart, Professor Emeritus of Development Economics, University of Oxford