Considering interests of future generations in public policy 

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Considering interests of future generations in public policy 

Yesterday, Professor of Economics Keiichiro Kobayashi of Keio University penned a powerful article on VOX.

The good professor argues that, I quote:

 “future generations cannot influence current policies, while today’s policy makers and voters tend to be focused on the present. Understanding how to reconcile this disconnect is important for resolving intergenerational issues such as swelling of government debt.”

End of quote.

We all have to worry on how we can pass a ‘sustainable natural environment’ to our future generations. We do not want to leave this world and leave a disaster behind.

Our future generation should not be left with huge government debts and environmental problems which are beyond their scope.

A research movement called ‘future design’ is precisely looking for solutions to such problems.

The movement has brought together researchers from various fields such as psychology, economics, neuroscience and ethics to crack the dilemma.

The future design movement is bringing together all people with similar interests in influencing the present-day political decision making.

The group met at a conference at Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Japan between 27-28 Jan, 2018 to discuss on the way forward.

In 2015, a group of researcher studying future design helped residents of Yahaba in Iwate Prefecture to come up with a long-term vision for the future course of their town until 2060.

This triggers imaginations in my mind about our city, Nairobi. What will it look like in 2060 leave a lone 2030.

While conducting the experiment, the people were divided into 4 groups. Two groups represented the interests of the current generation while the remaining two groups represented the interests of future generation who will be active in the year 2060.

When formulating policies we have to think as “an imaginary future person” in order to come up with a more sustainable society.

Some researchers are proposing that world governments should establish units such as “Ministry of the Future” at the national government level or a similar department at the regional level (counties or provinces) to make sure interests of future generations are well represented in formulation and implementation of all public policies.

I am 99% sure that if we establish such government agency in Kenya, it will support the establishment of a sovereign fund as we approach the mining, oil & gas era within our national borders. This fund will serve the interests of future generations.

I have had conversations with several people who have genuine concerns about future generations. A few of whom feel that future generations will find it tough to survive in the face of declining agricultural productivity due to climate change.

 

Thank you for reading…

 

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Editor-in-Chief

Geoffrey Kerosi is a prolific economics writer and an avid reader in economics, finance, business, politics and technology.

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