RIETI Report May 2018

Future Design: Toward policymaking reflecting upon the interests of future generations

Problems such as climate change, energy issues, and increases in social security expenditure and government debts are resolved only from a long-term perspective, which essentially represent intergenerational conflicts of interest, and near-sighted responses and decisions by the current generation of people could cause considerable disadvantage to future generations. As unborn generations have neither a say nor way of negotiating with the current generation, it is no wonder that decisions made now are based only on their own interests. In the May issue of the RIETI Report, we present "Future Design: Toward policymaking reflecting upon the interests of future generations" by Consulting Fellow Keishiro Hara.

To address these challenges and create a sustainable society that lasts into the future, Hara explains that it is necessary to overcome near sightedness and develop mechanisms and institutions that can complement markets and other social systems that are not equipped to allocate resources to future generations. He adds that a study is underway on "future design" that aims to design visions of a future society through decision making that represents the interests of future generations. Under the future design approach, the current generation group and the "imaginary generation group" resolve intergenerational conflicts of interests, coordinate their interests, and design visions and make decisions in ways that explicitly reflect the interests of future generations by engaging in negotiations and consensus building with each other. Finally, Hara looks at whether the imaginary future generation can function properly and at plans to apply the future design approach to actual policymaking and designing of future visions.

This month's featured article

Future Design: Toward policymaking reflecting upon the interests of future generations

HARA KeishiroConsulting Fellow, RIETI

Overcoming intergenerational conflicts of interest

To resolve such various problems as climate change, energy issues, and increases in social security expenditure and government debts, it is essential to deal with them from a long-term perspective. In essence, those problems represent intergenerational conflicts of interest, and near-sighted responses and decisions by the current generation of people could bring a considerable disadvantage to future generations. As unborn generations have neither a say nor way of negotiating with the current generation, it is no wonder that decisions made now are based only on their own interests. In order to overcome those challenges and create a sustainable society that lasts into the future, it is necessary to overcome the near sightedness that is inherent in human beings and develop mechanisms and institutions that can complement markets and other social systems that are not necessarily equipped with the function of allocating resources to future generations (Saijo, 2017).

Against the backdrop of such awareness, a study is underway on "future design" that aims to design visions of a future society through decision making representing the interests of future generations from their point of view. In addition to experts in a variety of fields including economics, engineering, psychology, and neuroscience; policymakers and practitioners, including local government officials, are partnering in this study and engaging in public participation debate to promote interdisciplinary research and concrete policymaking. On January 27-28, 2018, the first Future Design Workshop was held, bringing together experts and practitioners involved in the study on future design for sharing up-to-date information and exchanging opinions (Kobayashi, 2018).

To read the full text
https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/columns/a01_0495.html

Also read:
"How to Represent the Interests of Future Generations Now?" by KOBAYASHI Keiichiro (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/papers/contribution/kobayashi/65.html?id=nl

Recent articles on RIETI’s website

"Growing Poverty among the Elderly: Public pension system is the framework that should respond" by OSHIO Takashi (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/papers/contribution/oshio-takashi/01.html?id=nl

"Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Inequality" by Theresa M. GREANEY (Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty Member, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Hawai‘i) / Baybars KARACAOVALI (Assistant Professor, Grinnell College)
https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/special/p_a_w/102.html?id=nl

"Competitiveness of SMEs: Exploring possibilities of unsecured financing" by UESUGI Iichiro (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/papers/contribution/uesugi/12.html?id=nl

Fellow titles and links in the text are as of the date of publication.

RIETI Report is published monthly.

Back issues of RIETI Report are available at:
http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/rieti_report/index.html?id=nl

Event Information

For a complete list of past and upcoming event information.

Symposiums

Workshops

BBL Seminars

Fellow titles and links in the text are as of the date of publication.

For questions or comments regarding RIETI Report, please contact .

RIETI Report is published monthly.