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Designing Political Institutions to Govern well for the Long Term by Prof. Simon Caney
03 Apr 2023

“Current generations can often have enormous impacts on the standard of living of future generations. Our actions – and inaction – can greatly affect many aspects of future people’s quality of life – their health, the kind of environment they inherit, their scientific understanding, the technology at their disposal, their preparedness for future pandemics and other disasters, and so on. It is important then to ensure that current generations honour their responsibilities to future generations. Political institutions are often unduly focused on the short-term and fail to honour our responsibilities to future generations. How might we address this? One vital step is to explore why this is the case. I argue that we face a series of what I term “Temporal Mismatches” that frequently lead to short-termism. I further argue that certain problems – what I term “Tragic Intertemporal Problems” – are particularly hard to address. These make governing well for the long-term hard. With these in mind I conclude by discussing ways in which we might be able to design political institutions to govern well for the long-term and honour our responsibilities to future generations.”

You are welcome to join this online lecture organised by the Hong Kong Catastrophic Risk Centre on the 3rd of April 2023 (Monday) from 4:30pm to 6:00pm (Hong Kong Standard Time, GMT +8).

Participation is free but registration is required.

Registration Link:

For enquiries, please call 2616 7488 or e-mail to [email protected]