Democracy and the Future. Future-Regarding Governance in Democratic Systems

MacKenzie, Michael; Setälä, Maija & Kyllönen, Simo (eds.) (2023): Democracy and the Future. Future-Regarding Governance in Democratic Systems. Edinburgh University Press.

This book brings together political philosophers, democratic theorists, empirical political scientists and policy experts to examine how democratic systems might be designed so that the long-term consequences of our decisions are considered in policymaking processes. It examines these topics from many different perspectives – it is interdisciplinary and globally oriented – but it also explores Finland as an example of how future-regarding governance might be done.

Finland has one of the most advanced governmental foresight systems in the world, including a unique parliamentary institution called the ‘Committee for the Future’, and it has enjoyed a stable, multiparty government for decades. The contributors identify tensions between the present and the future, as well as between reversibility and commitment, independence and politicisation, and trust and critique, which have to be navigated in order to achieve long-tern, collective goals. The book concludes that elite-driven institutions should be complemented by robust institutions for public participation and deliberation in order to retain respnsiveness while at the same time forging public commitments for future-regarding action.

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