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Democracy is prone to what may be called presentism - a bias in the laws in favor of present over future generations. I identify the characteristics of democracies that lead to presentism, and examine the reasons that make it a serious problem. Then I consider why conventional theories are not adequate to deal with it, and develop a more satisfactory alternative approach, which I call democratic trusteeship. Present generations can represent future generations by acting as trustees of the democratic process. The general principle is that present generations should act to protect the democratic process itself over time. They should try to make sure that future citizens continue to have competent control over their collective decision-making.


Thompson, Dennis F. "Representing Future Generations: Political Presentism and Democratic Trusteeship." Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 13.1 (March 2010): 17-37.