What Do People Say When They become "Future People"? - Positioning Imaginary Future Generations (IFGs) in General Rules for Good Decision Making

Author Name HIROMITSU Toshiaki (Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance) / KITAKAJI Yoko (Hiroshima University) / HARA Keishiro (Consulting Fellow, RIETI) / SAIJO Tatsuyoshi (Research Institute for Future Design, Kochi University of Technology / Research Institute of Humanity and Nature)
Creation Date/NO. October 2020 20-E-076
Research Project Macroeconomic Policy and Political Philosophy toward Economic Growth
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In public decisions with long-term implications, decisions of the present generation will affect long-term welfare, including future generations. However, only the present generation is able to participate in such decision-making processes. In this study, based on Saijo [1, 2], we invited "Imaginary Future Generations" (IFGs), which are participants in a discussion that take on the role of members of future generations to argue on behalf of their future interests, to engage in present-day deliberations among residents of a Japanese town. Through an analysis, it is seen that the deliberations among IFGs raise interest in issues that are related to common fundamental needs across generations. While the cognitive aspects of interpersonal reactivity, which measures reactions of one individual to the observed experiences of another, are seen as useful in arguing for the interests of future generations, it is suggested that the environment for deliberation has a significant impact on the ability to effectively take on the role of members of future generations. Finally, this paper positions IFGs within the broad context of general rules for good decision making, based on an analysis of these deliberations and in light of philosophical arguments such as the veil of ignorance.