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

  • Ludvig Beckman


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.


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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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