Date: 20 November 2019
Albert Weale, Emeritus Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy at University College London.
Many democratically made choices involve commitments across time. International obligations, action on climate change and pensions provision all require making decisions now that will have implications for future generations. In order to be effective, these decisions must bind those generations in important respects. And yet it seems to be a basic principle of democracy that present decisions should be responsive to the preferences of current generations, expressed in the familiar principle of parliamentary sovereignty that no parliament can bind its successors. Is it possible to have an analytic, as distinct from a practical, reconciliation of these seemingly conflicting imperatives?
Albert Weale is the author of various works, including Democracy Macmillan, (second edition, 2007), Democratic Justice and the Social Contract (OUP, 2013) and The Will of the People: A Modern Myth (Polity, 2018). He is currently completing a book on Modern Social Contract Theory, to be published by OUP.
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