Representing Future People

Rupert Read wants us [pdf] to reform our political institutions to take into account people not yet born:

Burke, in a famous passage…clearly forgotten by some conservatives in UK and (especially) the USA for the last couple of generations, says that society is a contract between the dead, the living and those unborn (with no limit specified on the generations ahead). This report proposes an updating and extension of Burke's intergenerational compact. It proposes taking seriously Burke’s thought that society is "a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born". Taking seriously this thought would mean that we would find a way of bringing the voices of those beings presently without a voice– most strikingly, future generations – into the political and juridical structures of our society, of our state, of our world.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross runs down the five biggest global problems for Americans in the next 10 years. The debt is #1:

The debt limits our ability to project power and deal with challenges in multiple parts of the world. It presents challenges at a global, national, and local level. When the national debt is viewed in light of technological changes that can facilitate unrest, a feedback loop could emerge. Government cutbacks may drive up unemployment and force scaled back social services, which can drive unrest (making people feel they have less to lose by rioting, for example) — and in turn, these cutbacks mean that the state has less capacity to undertake policing measures against increasingly organized forces of unrest, and less capacity to repair damages thereafter.