On Future Generations’ Future Rights*

  • Axel Gosseries
  • Published 2008


SHOULD moral and/or legal rights be granted to members of future generations? The question is not new. Yet, it remains important. It pertains simultaneously to the conceptual realm and to the domain of practical proposals arising out of concern for future generations. Consider just a few of such proposals. First, we can think of specific institutions aimed at defending the interests and rights of future generations, such as a set of reserved seats in one of the parliamentary chambers, setting up a specialized second chamber, appointing a commissioner directly attached to one of the chambers (Knesset model), or instituting specialized administrative bodies such as a guardian/ ombudsman or a specific agency. For each of these bodies, it also needs to be ascertained how extensive its powers should be: to delay decisions until the relevant arguments have been heard, to request a “future impact” assessment, etc. Second, at the franchise level, proposals have been made regarding the voting rights of various age-groups (that inevitably translate at the birth-cohort level) as well as regarding the possibility for parents to exercise their children’s right to vote. Third, alternative or complementary indicators are being proposed for our national accounts. Beyond generational accounting, we can think of approaches such as ecological footprint or genuine savings accounting. Fourth, pension schemes can be redesigned to take into account intergenerational concerns. This

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Gosseries2008OnFG, title={On Future Generations’ Future Rights*}, author={Axel Gosseries}, year={2008} }