Representing future generations in the political process

by Tobias_Baumann1 min read25th Jun 20206 comments


Longtermism (Philosophy)Policy ChangeInstitutional Decision-Making
Our actions and decisions clearly affect future generations. Climate change is the canonical example, but this is also true for social norms, values, levels of economic growth, and many other factors. Indeed, if we give equal weight to future individuals, it is likely that the effect of our actions on the long-term future far outstrip any short-term impacts.
However, future generations do not hold any power – as they do not yet exist – so their interests are often not taken into account to a sufficient degree. To fix this problem, we could introduce some form of representation of future generations1 in our political system. (See e.g. 1,2,3 for previous discussion.) In this post, I will consider different ways to empower future generations and discuss key challenges that arise.