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Treating Young People As Equals: Intergenerational Justice in Theory and Practice

Bidadanure, Juliana Uhuru (2014) Treating Young People As Equals: Intergenerational Justice in Theory and Practice. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Contemporary egalitarianism has largely developed in abstraction from the basic fact that time passes, people age, and so any given society comprises several overlapping generations. As a result, few normative tools are available to assess claims made about the fairness of time-sensitive distributions. The field of intergenerational justice has emerged to fill this gap, but its theorists have primarily focused on the question of what we owe to future generations. My thesis contributes to egalitarian thought and intergenerational justice by providing an egalitarian account of justice between co-existing generations. It answers the question of which inequalities between age groups, on the one hand, and birth cohorts, on the other hand, matter; and it offers a framework to establish what counts as a suitably egalitarian treatment of young people. The thesis is in two parts: the first establishes the theoretical framework, and the second makes explicit its implications for two policy discussions. In Part I, I highlight the generational implications of the dominant diachronic view of equality through time – complete lives egalitarianism (CLE). While it provides key insights into birth-cohort justice, CLE cannot account for why some cases of age-group inequalities are unjust. I then propose two complements to CLE to overcome its limitations: a prudential diachronic approach grounded on Daniels’s theory of age-group justice, and a synchronic alternative inspired by McKerlie’s work. From the first three chapters, I derive three principles of equality between overlapping generations: (1) approximate cohort equality, (2) prudential lifespan planning (lifespan sufficiency and efficiency), and (3) relational synchronic equality. I then draw on these principles to establish what ‘treating the young as equals’ means. In Part II, I put forward an intergenerational egalitarian case for basic income. I then consider whether we should be concerned about the absence of young people in parliaments, and propose the introduction of youth quotas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: age-group justice; intergenerational justice; young people; relational egalitarianism; basic income; youth quotas; Norman Daniels; Dennis McKerlie.
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
The University of York > School of Politics, Economics and Philosophy (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.631472
Depositing User: Ms Juliana Uhuru Bidadanure
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 12:50
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7238

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