New forms of participation promote a future-regarding democracy

Oksanen, Markku & Vogt Henri (eds.) (2023): Huomisen huomaava demokratia. Vastapaino

Political decisions are made in the maelstrom of different values ​​and interests, determined by such factors as electoral success, sudden emergencies, or societal traditions. Given this complexity, we do not necessarily have the capacity to reflect upon the long-term impacts of our decisions. Short-term problem-solving dominates, in spite of our inherent wishes that future generations ought to have the possibility to inherit an ever better world. In the field of environmental policies this short-sightedness is a particularly grave concern. Indeed, reflecting upon the consequences of politics from different temporal perspectives in a systematic manner could even be seen as an ethical principle needed for coping with the world’s crucial future challenges.

Huomisen huomaava demokratia (A Future-Regarding Democracy) is a multi-voiced work on the long-term perspectives, democratic decision-making and civic participation in Finland and the world. The book examines key conceptual questions: What can or cannot we know about the future and how should our individuals and institutions cope with the unavoidable uncertainties of the future? To what extent can and should the decisions made today bind the hands of future generations? Could we offer children and youth larger political rights and could these extend the time spans of decision-making?

The book also analyses a range of democratic innovations that have been developed to enhance civic participation and/or long-termism. In which ways can various mechanisms of deliberative democracy such as citizen juries supplement representative decision-making or increase the sustainable consideration of environmental values ​​in the future? What kind of ideology is the Finnish Parliament’s Committee for the Future based on?

The authors of the book are leading Finnish social scientists, political researchers, and philosophers. The book compresses to Finnish readers the central insights produced in the project Participation in Long-Term Decision-Making (PALO, 2017-2022).

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