Today's grand policy dilemmas, from climate change, to over-indebtedness, to demographic shifts, have momentous long-term implications. Future generations will be constrained by our present decisions to an extent that is without precedent in advanced capitalist democracies. This book is an extensively researched and reasoned appeal in favor of intergenerational fairness - the ability to provide to future generations an at least as favorable standard of living as that enjoyed today. Intergenerational equity is an essential consideration in finding lasting solutions to the multifaceted crises of our time. As an implicit contract and transfer between living and future generations, intergenerational equity avoids discriminating against future generations.
The book aims to theoretically define intergenerational equity and to frame it as a natural behavioral law, capturing human ethicality bounds. It follows a long and distinguished tradition of scholarly discourse in turning to natural law for solutions to major social predicaments. Outlining some of the causes of the current intergenerational imbalances regarding climate change and over-indebtedness it sets the basis for understanding their drivers and implications. A central proposition is that the natural human drive towards intergenerational fairness can be the basis for the necessary behavioral responses: the human-imbued moral compass of natural law can be a useful complement, if not alternative, to public policy.
This book fills an important gap. Despite a resurgence of literature, the economic and social dimensions of intergenerational equity remain underexplored. Existing literature misses a holistic ethical framework of decision-making failures that addresses intergenerational concerns. Whilst evolutionary grounded, intergenerational fairness has not been recognized as a natural behavioral law – a human-imbued drive being bound by human fallibility.
Practical implications and recommendations in advancing an agenda for the advancement of intergenerational equity are provided. Attention is drawn to the problem of providing the required leadership to promote the idea of intergenerational equity as a guiding principle in corporate, social and policy action. This book contributes both theoretical and practical insights and will be of interest to economists, sociologists, public policy makers and corporate executives tasked with tackling the most pressing contemporary challenges of mankind.