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Generational justice: Generational justice is the idea that present generations have a moral obligation to future generations. See also Justice.
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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

John Rawls on Generational Justice - Dictionary of Arguments

I 128
Generational Justice/Rawls: it is a question of whether the persons in an assumed initial state of a society to be established have duties and obligations towards third parties, in particular their direct descendants.
>Fairness/Rawls
, >Society/Rawls, >Fairness/Rawls.
However, the principle of justice as fairness does not want to derive its principles from such considerations. Nevertheless, I assume that although the individuals do not consider their own life span in continuity, their goodwill will extend over at least two generations.
I 208
Generational Justice/Rawls: since the members of society have an interest in securing equal rights of freedom for their descendants, there is no conflict over the choice of the principle of equal freedoms. For example, a son could not argue that the father neglected his interests if he accepted the principle of equal freedoms. The father would have to argue to the detriment of others if they departed from it that these other benefits would arise when they grow up.
I 284
Generational Justice/Rawls: this question challenges every ethical theory. It depends on how the minimum social standards are defined.
I 286
Social minimum standards/Rawls: there are two problems here: a) there is not enough to save or b) taxation gets too strong when the minimum is raised. Then the situation of the worst-off starts to deteriorate.
The question of the savings rate has often been discussed(1)(2)(3)(4)(5).
I 287
Generational Justice/Rawls: The conclusion is that the greater benefits of future generations will be sufficiently great to compensate for the present victims. This can be true simply because future generations have better technology at their disposal.
RawlsVsUtilitarianism: this forces us to impose greater sacrifices on the poorer people for the later ones, who may be better off as a result of other circumstances.
However, this counting up between generations does not make as much sense as between contemporaries.
>Utilitarianism, >VsUtilitarianism.
Contract theory/contract doctrine/Rawls: it considers the problem from the perspective of the initial situation of a society to be established. Here, the participants do not know to which generation they belong if they are to decide on the form of the company and its structure. Now they should ask themselves how much they are prepared to save if everyone else does the same. In doing so, they should establish a principle of fair saving that applies to all.
>Contract Theory.
I 288
Only the relatives of the very first generation do not benefit from this, but no one knows to which generation they belong.
I 289
However, the principle of fair saving does not force us to continue saving forever. Details have to be clarified at a later point of time.
Each generation has its own appropriate goals. Generations are no more subject to each other than individuals. No generation has special demands.
I 290
Savings/Savings Rate/Prosperity/Rawls: the last stage does not have to be one of abundance. The principle of justice does not require previous generations to save money so that later generations will have more. Rather, saving is about enabling a fair society and equal freedoms to become more effective. If more is saved, it is for other purposes. It would be a misunderstanding to think that the realisation of a good and fair society must wait until a high standard of living has been achieved.
I 291
Generational Justice/Alexander Herzen/Rawls: Herzen thesis: human development is a kind of chronological unfairness, because the later ones benefit from the work of the former without paying the same price(6).
>A. Herzen.
Generational fairness/Kant: he saw it as strange that earlier generations would bear their burden only for the benefit of later generations and that they would be the only ones who would be lucky enough to be allowed to live in a finished building(7).
>Generational Justice/Kant.

1. See A. K. Sen „On Optimizing the Rate of Saving“, Economic Journal, Vol. 71, 1961.
2. J. Tobin, National Economic Policiy, New Haven, 1966, ch. IX.
3. R.M. Solow, Growth Theory, New York, 1970, ch. V.
4. Frank P. Ramsey, „A Mathematical Theory of Saving“, Economic Journal, Vol. 38, 1928, reprinted in Arrow and Scitovsky, Readings in Welfare Economics.
5. T.C. Koomans, „On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth“ (1965), In: Scientific Papers of T. C. Kopmans, Berlin, 1970.
6. Quote from Isaiah Berlin’s Einführung zu Franco Venturi, Roots of Revolution, New York, 1960 p. xx.
7. Kant: „Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose“, quoted from Hans Reiss (ed.) Kant, Political Writings, Cambridge, 1970, p. 44.

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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Rawl I
J. Rawls
A Theory of Justice: Original Edition Oxford 2005


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