Empowering Future People by Empowering the Young?

In Greg Bognar & Axel Gosseries (eds.), Ageing Without Ageism: Conceptual Puzzles and Policy Proposals (working title). Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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This chapter starts from the claim that the state is plagued with problems of political short-termism: excessive priority given to near-term benefits at the expense of benefits further in thefuture. One possible mechanism to reduce short-termism involves apportioning greater relative political influence to the young, since younger citizens generally have greater additional life expectancy than older citizens and thus it looks reasonable to expect that they have preferences that are extended further into the future. But the chapter shows that this is unlikely to make states significantly less short-termist: no empirical relationship has been found between age and willingness to support long-termist policies. Instead, the chapter proposes a more promising age-based mechanism. States should develop youth citizens’ assemblies that ensure accountability to future generations through a scheme of retrospective accountability.

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Tyler John
Longview Philanthropy


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