Democracy and Future Generations. Should the Unborn Have a Voice?

Chapter

Abstract

This article examines the view that the interests of future generations should be taken into consideration in decisions likely to affect them. In particular, it has been argued that the interests of future generations should be represented in local, national or international political decisions. This view is analyzed in terms of justice-seeking and democracy-seeking arguments and the extent to which the representation of future generations will promote the respective values of justice and democracy. In order to promote democracy, such representation must be consistent with the criterion of democratic inclusion. Assuming that democratic inclusion is conceptualized in legal terms, the representation of future generations is consistent with democracy only to the extent that they are likely to be bound by the decisions made today. It is shown here that future generations are not bound by the decisions made today. Thus, it follows that representing the interests of future generations in political decisions is not consistent with securing democracy for the living generation. The intergenerational problem is therefore one where the demands of justice and democracy may conflict.

Keywords

Future Generation Political Institution Classic Conception Present Generation Democratic Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Arneson, Richard. 2003. Defending the purely instrumental account of democratic legitimacy. Journal of Political Philosophy 11(1): 122–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barry, John. 1999. Greening political theory. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Beckman, Ludvig. 2006. Citizenship and voting rights: Should resident aliens vote? Citizenship Studies 10(2): 153–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carter, Alan. 2001. Can we harm future people? Environmental Values 10(4): 429–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dahl, Robert. 1982. Dilemmas of pluralist democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dahl, Robert. 1989. Democracy and its critics. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dobson, Andrew. 1996. Representative democracy and the environment. In Democracy and the environment, ed. William Lafferty and James Meadowcraft, 124–139. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  8. Doeleman, Jacobus, and Todd Sandler. 1998. The intergenerational case of missing markets and missing voters. Land Economics 74(1): 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dryzeck, John. 1999. Transnational democracy. The Journal of Political Philosophy 7(1): 30–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckersley, Robyn. 2000. Deliberative democracy, ecological representation and risk. Towards a democracy of all affected. In Democratic innovation. Deliberation, representation and association, ed. Michael Saward, 117–132. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Eckersley, Robyn. 2004. The green state: Rethinking democracy and sovereignty. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Ekeli, Kristian Skagen. 2005. Giving a voice to posterity—deliberative democracy and representation of future people. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18(5): 429–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eule, Julian. 1987. Temporal limits on the legislative mandate: Entrenchment and retroactivity. American Bar Foundation Research Journal 12(2/3): 379–459.Google Scholar
  14. Finn, John. 1991. Constitutions in crisis. Political violence and the rule of law. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Goodin, Robert. 1996. Enfranchising the earth, and its alternatives. Political Studies 44(5): 835–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gosseries, Axel. 2007. Should they honour the promises of their parents’ leaders? Ethics and International Affairs 21(1): 99–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Held, David. 1995. Democracy and the global order: From the modern state to cosmopolitan governance. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hobbes, Thomas. 1968. Leviathan [1651]. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  19. Holmes, Stephen. 1988. Precommitment and the paradox of democracy. In Constitutionalism and democracy, ed. Jon Elster and Rune Slagstad, 195–240. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Katz, Richard. 1997. Democracy and elections. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kavka, Gregory, and Virginia Warren. 1983. Political representation for future generations. In Environmental philosophy. A collection of readings, ed. Robert Elliot and Arran Gare, 20–39. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kommers, Donald. 1991. German constitutionalism: A prolegomenon. Emory Law Journal 40: 837–873.Google Scholar
  23. Locke, John. 1988. In Two treatises of government [1689]. Edited by Peter Laslett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. McGinnis, John O., and Michael B. Rappaport. 2003. Symmetric entrenchment: A constitutional and normative theory. Virginia Law Review 89: 385–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Meyer, Lukas. 2003. Intergenerational justice. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Available at: http://plato.stanford.edu/.
  26. Molander, Per. 2001. Budgeting procedures and democratic ideals: An evaluation of Swedish reforms. Journal of Public Policy 21(1): 23–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. O’Neill, John. 2001. Representing people, representing nature, representing the world. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 19(4): 483–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Otsuka, Michael. 2003. Libertarianism without inequality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Powell, Thomas Reed. 1939. A constitution for an indefinite and expanding future. Washington Law Review 14: 99–117.Google Scholar
  30. Rawls, John. 1971. A theory of justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. 1968. The social contract. Trans. Maurice Cranston. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  32. Saward, Michael. 1996. The terms of democracy. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  33. Scheuerman, William. 2002. Cosmopolitan democracy and the rule of law. Ratio Juris 15(4): 439–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schlickeisen, Rodger. 1994. Protecting biodiversity for future generations: An argument for a constitutional amendment. Tulane Environmental Law Review 8(1): 181–221.Google Scholar
  35. Shoham, Schlomo, and Nira Lamay. 2006. Commission for future generations in the Knesset: Lessons learnt. In Handbook of intergenerational justice, ed. Joerg Chet Tremmel, 244–281. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  36. Suber, Peter. 1990. The paradox of self-amendment: A study of law, logic, omnipotence, and change. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  37. Tännsjö, Torbjörn. 2005. Future people, the all affected principle, and the limits of the aggregation model of democracy. Unpublished paper, Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University.Google Scholar
  38. Thompson, Dennis. 2005. Democracy in time: Popular sovereignty and temporal representation. Constellations 12(2): 245–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Van Parijs, Philippe. 1998. The disenfranchisement of the elderly and other attempts to secure intergenerational justice. Philosophy and Public Affairs 27(4): 292–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Whelan, Fredrick G. 1983. Prologue: Democratic theory and the boundary problem. In Liberal democracy: Nomos 25, ed. Roland J. Pennock and John W. Chapman, 13–47. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Wood, Paul. 2004. Intergenerational justice and curtailment on the discretionary powers of governments. Environmental Ethics 26(4): 411–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations