Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yes! to the Call for a Global Constitutional Convention Focused on Future Generations

Stephen M Gardiner makes “A Call for a global Constitutional Convention Focused on Future Generations” to avoid the “tyranny of the contemporary”. In general terms Gardiner bases his argument on that “current decision-makers, and indeed the current generation more generally, face a serious temptation: they can take benefits now (for themselves), but defer many of the costs of their behavior far into the future (to others), even when this seems ethically indefensible”. And as a specific example he puts forward the challenges of climate change. 

I agree very much with his arguments and would propose the following two items are put on the agenda of that convention.

First to analyze the possibility of awarding all citizens, including children, the right to vote. The fact that for instance mothers or fathers could exercise the voting rights of their children under a certain age, like 15, would presumably put some pressure on parents to consider more their children’s future... for instance with respect to climate change.

Second, to exhaustible present as clear evidence of the tyranny of the contemporary the case of current bank regulations. With these, baby-boomers concerned exclusively with the immediate safety of the banks, imposed credit risk weighted capital requirements, which de facto stop banks from financing the “risky” future and have these only refinancing the “safer” past. We do not need climate change to evidence the costs of shortsightedness, when millions of young unemployed Europeans are currently threatened to become a lost generation. It would be a good opportunity to make a call for bank capital requirements based on job creation and sustainability ratings.

It would also be a good opportunity to make clear that, were we to put the climate change challenge into the hands of something as little accountable as the Basel Committee for Banking Regulations, then most likely planet earth would be toast.

PS. And if it was for me to decide, given that so much would have to do with ethics, I would try to squeeze in a session on the need for ethic ratings, since I am fed up with banks and regulatory authorities only using credit ratings, as if financing the construction of concentrations camps would be morally permissive, as long as its credit risk has been adequately priced.