Future generations and global inequality

August 20, 2018 - August 26, 2018
Université Catholique d'Afrique Centrale


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Leiden University
Catholic University of Louvain

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The things we do now, more than in the past, affect how future people will live. We can improve their conditions by transferring knowledge, technology or things of beauty, or make the world a much less pleasant place for them to live in, for example by failing to stop climate change, resource depletion, environmental degradation to the point where human rights come under threat. This raises the question of intergenerational justice: what do we owe to future people? Do we have minimal duties to protect their human rights or more demanding duties to preserve what's we've inherited from past generations? Do we have egalitarian duties towards future generations?

Many of the developments that negatively affect the living standards of future generations – like climate change and resource depletion – do not only affect future generations, but already have an effect on many people’s wellbeing today. Think of desertification around the Sahara, increasingly extreme weather conditions in low-lying coastal areas like Bangladesh, or the saltification of fresh water reserves. These consequences are felt most  by countries whose degree of causal contribution to climate change is the smallest. This uneven distribution of the effects of unsustainable behavior will continue in to the future. Addressing questions of climate change are often seen as a common responsibility. But how do we fairly distribute the costs of addressing climate change, given that both the effects and causal responsibility are unevenly distributed globally? This question does not arise for climate change alone, but for other questions of intergenerational justice as well.

There are important ways in which global justice and intergenerational justice intersect, especially (but not exclusively) when it comes to questions of non-ideal theory.  How do we fairly distribute the costs of acting on our obligation to future generations in a radically unequal world? What sacrifices can be asked from whom, also taking into account that some are much wealthier than others?

In this summer school we plan to investigate these questions. This event is jointly organized and supported by the university of Leiden, the Institute for Business Ethics (St. Gallen), the Hoover Chair of Economics and Social Ethics in Louvain la Neuve (Belgium) and the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur la Justice Sociale (CERJUSP) of the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Katrin A. Flikschuh (London School of Economics)

Eszter Kollar (KU Leuven)

Olatunji A. Oyeshile (University of Ibadan)

Dominic Roser (University of Fribourg)

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June 30, 2018, 12:00pm WAT

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Cristian Timmermann
Ton Duc Thang University

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