Time: 15-16 December 2021
Venue: University of Turku, Aurum building, auditorium Argentum & Zoom
This event was the final conference of the PALO project. The conference programme included two keynote speeches, scientific presentations organised around the main findings of the project, and a panel discussion on the design of future-regarding institutions.
Keynote I | Jonathan Boston: Protecting long-term interests in a short-term world: issues and options
Presentation Jonathan Boston (pdf)
Jonathan Boston is Professor of Public Policy in the Wellington School of Business and Government at Victoria University of Wellington.
Abstract: There is broad agreement that democratic political systems, when faced with intertemporal conflicts, tend to favour short-term interests over long-term interests. Such phenomena, variously described as political short-termism, democratic myopia and a presentist bias in policy-making, threaten the interests of future generations. But while there is broad agreement on the nature and seriousness of the problem, along with its many causes, there is much less agreement on how political short-termism can best be countered, or at least modestly mitigated. Large numbers of proposed ’solutions’ have been advanced over recent decades. Such proposals tend to reflect the disciplinary and/or ideological orientation of their advocates. For instance, constitutional experts focus on constitutional solutions; economists focus on incentive structures, discount rates, and economic instruments; political theorists focus on democratic processes and institutions; and accountants focus on such things as national wealth accounting, natural capital accounting, and national reporting frameworks. But how might the desirability, effectiveness, and relevance of these multiple contending approaches be assessed? Is there a universally best strategy for countering political short-termism (i.e. regardless of context, policy domain or jurisdiction) or should reformers seek to tailor their responses depending on the circumstances and the particular windows of opportunity for reform? This presentation reflects on these and related questions in the light of my research and policy-related roles over recent decades.
Keynote II | Anja Karnein: What’s wrong with the presentist bias?
Presentation Anja Karnein (pdf)
Anja Karnein is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Binghamton University.
Abstract: In response to what is increasingly criticized as the presentist bias of democracies, the idea of giving future generations a voice via political representation is gaining significant traction. But it remains to be determined on which issues exactly future generations should be given a say: on all issues that potentially affect them, on only those that potentially affect them negatively or on an even narrower set of issues? In this paper I argue for the third option. I show that due to the difficulties involved in representing non-existing future generations, who can neither authorize nor hold their representatives to account, and to the risk that thereby arises for the democratic practices among contemporaries, there is reason to represent them not on all matters that affect them or even that affect them negatively. Rather, the focus ought to be on including them only on issues that may lead to their domination. I identify such issues as those that may end up being purpose-determining for future generations: that may subject them to previous generations’ will by forcing them to exert a substantial amount of their energies on dealing with a problem caused by their predecessors.
Recordings were available until 31 December 2021.
Tuesday, 14 December
20.00 Dinner (Restaurant Mami, address: Linnankatu 3).
Wednesday, 15 December
09.30-09.45 Coffee and welcome
09.45-10.00 Opening remarks
10.00-11.00 Keynote I
Jonathan Boston (Victoria University of Wellington): Protecting long-term interests in a short-term world: issues and options
Discussant: Vesa Koskimaa (University of Tampere)
Lauri Rapeli (Åbo Akademi): Future-oriented political thinking at the individual-level
Discussant: Sanna Ahvenharju (University of Turku)
Esa Palosaari (Tampere University): Effects of fear on donations to climate change mitigation
Discussant: Staffan Himmelroos (University of Helsinki)
Jonathan Kuyper (University of Oslo): Sustainability in asymmetric common-pool resource usage: Communication and the deliberative mindset
Discussant: Héctor Bahamonde (University of Turku)
Mikko Leino (University of Turku): Can democratic deliberation help thinking and caring about future generations?
Discussant: Daan Vermassen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Erkki Mäntymaa (Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke): Wind power as a landscape disturbance: Would landscape value trade help?
Discussant: Anna-Kaisa Kosenius (University of Helsinki)
15.30-16.30 Keynote II
Anja Karnein (Binghamton University): What’s wrong with the presentist bias?
Discussant: Simo Kyllönen (University of Helsinki)
19.00 Conference dinner (Restaurant E.Ekblom, Neuvolansali).
Thursday, 16 December
Maija Setälä (University of Turku): Possible roles of mini-publics in democratic systems
Discussant: Ian O’Flynn (Newcastle University)
Vesa Koskimaa (University of Tampere): Future-regarding decision-making in Finland: Institutions, actors and practices
Discussant: Didier Caluwaerts (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Juha Hiedanpää (Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke): Ecosocial compensation of lost nature-based urban social values
Discussant: Teemu Haukioja (University of Turku)
14.30-15.45 Panel discussion on the design of future-regarding institutions
In conversation with Graham Smith (University of Westminster), Didier Caluwaerts (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Lauri Rapeli (Åbo Akademi) & Maija Setälä (University of Turku). Chair: Kaisa Herne.
15.45-16.15 PALO results in brief and look ahead
Online participants: No registation is required.
In-person participants: The registration for this event is closed.
NB! Information on Coronavirus
– Wear a face mask (unless you are eating).
– Keep a safe distance (2 meters) from other participants.
– Stay home if you’re not feeling well.
– Wash your hands often, use hand sanitiser and cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
Conference dinner participants: Please note that the Covid-19 passport will be required.
For any further questions please contact Project Coordinator Mari Taskinen (firstname.lastname@example.org).