Introducing rights of future generations into national constitutions
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Every democracy tends to prefer the present over the future. Individuals who will live in the future cannot, however, vote today, therefore their interests are all too often neglected. The author analyses, focusing on national constitutions, different approaches to institutionalisation of sustainability and intergenerational justice. In this context a 'matrix of the institutionalisation of intergenerational justice' is developed. He puts forward some specific suggestions for national constitutions with clauses on ecological and financial protection of future generations, which would significantly reduce intergenerational buck-passing. But how could these clauses ever be implemented? Even in a scenario in which everybody maximises their own self-interest there is an important difference between young and old MPs; the younger generation stands to inherit the burdens passed on into the future. Therefore one can assume that the chances for a change of the constitution are high where the percentage of young MPs soars. The author's table shows the age distribution of the MPs in OECD countries. Finally, current initiatives by young members of parliament are outlined and appraised as not bold enough.
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