Intergenerational justice
and sustainability

Intergenerational justice – a powerful concept which has become a buzzword in discussions about society. Justice between generations is a vital aspect for political concepts and measures – although it is questionable just how quickly the term is employed, often without being clear what measurements this claim is based on and how the term is understood. This is simmilar to the use of the term sustainability – economics and politics use the term excessively and often arbitrarily.

To declare products or political concepts and measures sweepingly as sustainable or as something that promotes intergenerational justice, implies successes which often does not exist. It should be emphasised that the concepts of both sustainability and intergenerational justice are considerably more complex than is again and again communicated to consumers and voters.

This theme is devoted to a systematic and constructive-critical examination of these two concepts. During the individual task-based-learning modules, the participants gather the basics and precise assessment criteria for sustainability and intergenerational justice as part of their lessons. They also learn to recognise flaws and problems in the concepts. Participants develop the skills to evaluate ideas and methods which are allegedly sustainable or promote intergenerational justice. And finally, they will search for the answers to the questions: Are the actions of the current generation fair for all generations? Is my country sustainable?

The following key questions guide the modules in this theme:

  • Modul 1: What are the needs of the people – now and in the future?
  • Modul 2: What is justice?
  • Modul 3: What is intergenerational justice?
  • Modul 4: What is sustainability?
  • Modul 5: How can we recognize whether sustainable and generational action is being taken?
  • Module 6: What are the guidelines for a sustainable and generationally equitable society?
  • Module 7: How can justice be achieved between the age groups?
  • Module 8: Can future councils ensure more justice between people living today and those living in the future?
  • Module 9: Are public debts fair to future generations?
  • Module 10: What can a generationally equitable pension policy look like?
  • Module 11: How can I live more sustainably myself?
  • Module 12: Why is it so difficult to act sustainably?
  • Module 13: How can society act more sustainably?
  • Module 14: Sustainability: Should global population growth be limited, and if so, how?

The module order follows a common thread which runs throughout the content. Aside from a few exceptions, modules can also be used individually, i.e. without any previous knowledge (please consult the overview of each module).

The book on the theme:
Andreas Baumann, Andreas Becker:
Nachhaltigkeit und Generationengerechtigkeit: Eine kritische Analyse (Sustainability and Intergenerational Justice: A Critical Analysis)
ökom Verlag, 2017, € 16.95