Longtermist Institutional Reform

In Natalie Cargill (ed.), The Long Vew. London, UK: FIRST (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
There is a vast number of people who will live in the centuries and millennia to come. In all probability, future generations will outnumber us by thousands or millions to one; of all the people who we might affect with our actions, the overwhelming majority are yet to come. In the aggregate, their interests matter enormously. So anything we can do to steer the future of civilization onto a better trajectory, making the world a better place for those generations who are still to come, is of tremendous moral importance. Political science tells us that the practices of most governments are at stark odds with longtermism. In addition to the ordinary causes of human short-termism, which are substantial, politics brings unique challenges of coordination, polarization, short-term institutional incentives, and more. Despite the relatively grim picture of political time horizons offered by political science, the problems of political short-termism are neither necessary nor inevitable. In principle, the State could serve as a powerful tool for positively shaping the long-term future. In this chapter, we make some suggestions about how we should best undertake this project. We begin by explaining the root causes of political short-termism. Then, we propose and defend four institutional reforms that we think would be promising ways to increase the time horizons of governments: 1) government research institutions and archivists; 2) posterity impact assessments; 3) futures assemblies; and 4) legislative houses for future generations. We conclude with five additional reforms that are promising but require further research. To fully resolve the problem of political short-termism we must develop a comprehensive research program on effective longtermist political institutions.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
JOHLIR
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-07-30
View other versions
Added to PP index
2020-07-30

Total views
197 ( #22,224 of 51,441 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
197 ( #1,969 of 51,441 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.