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Institutions For Future Generations$
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Iñigo González-Ricoy and Axel Gosseries

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746959.001.0001

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Can we Represent Future Generations?

Can we Represent Future Generations?

Chapter:
(p.83) 5 Can we Represent Future Generations?
Source:
Institutions For Future Generations
Author(s):

Anja Karnein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746959.003.0005

Is it possible to ‘represent’ future generations in any meaningful sense of the term, given that future generations do not currently exist and thus have no way of selecting representatives or validating their work? This chapter shows that, despite a number of formidable obstacles, something approximating representation may indeed be both feasible and desirable. The chapter proceeds in three steps. First, it spells out the various difficulties and the danger involved in institutionalizing representatives for future generations. Second, it examines newer literature on representation for ways to respond to these difficulties. Since none of the available proposals helps overcome the inherent problems of intergenerational representation, the chapter, third, continues with a suggestion for how to modify a ‘new’ form of representation, namely surrogate representation, to approximate what it would take to give future generations a voice while trying to avoid the inherent danger of doing so.

Keywords:   future generations, democracy, legitimacy, representation, authorization, accountability, surrogate representation, deliberate assemblies, mainstreaming

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