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Future publics : long-term thinking and farsighted action in democratic systems MacKenzie, Michael Kenneth 2013

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Future Publics:Long-Term Thinking and Farsighted Actionin Democratic SystemsbyMichael Kenneth MacKenzieBA (honours), University of Winnipeg, 2004MA, McGill University, 2006 A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment ofthe Requirements for the Degree ofDoctor of Philosophy(Political Science)inThe Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral StudiesThe University of British Columbia(Vancouver)September 2013? Michael Kenneth MacKenzie, 2013AbstractMany scholars have argued that democracies cannot effectively  address long-term problems be-cause of the political dynamics of short electoral cycles, the immediate concerns of voters, the influence of powerful actors with dominant short-term interests, or the political impotence of future persons who do not yet exist. This dissertation explores and challenges these claims. I ar-gue that democracy ? in both theory and practice ? can help encourage longer-term thinking and make collectively intentional farsighted actions possible. Much of what we know about the nature of intertemporal relations comes from theories of intergenerational justice. A justice-based approach is intuitively appealing because claims of justice are typically  granted priority  over claims of other types. Unlike political agreements, principles of justice cannot be legitimately  ignored or abandoned in response to changing preferences or partisan motives. Nevertheless, I argue that we need to think not only about our justice-based obligations to the future but also about how the actions of individuals and groups can be coordinated such that collectively-desirable long-term objectives can be identified, specified, and achieved. Democracy is not just a system for registering existing views and preferences; it is also a means of shaping preferences and changing the expectations of individuals and groups. I argue that multilayered democratic systems that are comprised of both electoral and extra-electoral institutions, can help mitigate many of the problems identified by those who have argued that democracies are, by  nature, short-sighted. At the large scale, democratic practices such as public deliberation make it possi-ble for a society  to talk to itself about what it  is doing and where it  wants to go. At the small scale, deliberation can help encourage longer-term thinking by creating conditions that  favour other-regarding positions, including those that take into consideration the potential interests of future-others. Under certain conditions, democracies can create political imperatives that reward long-term thinking and turn short-term positions into political liabilities. While there are features of democratic systems that create and nurture short-term imperatives, democracies are not with-out resources for overcoming these challenges.iiPrefaceThis is a work of political theory. Ethics approval was not required.iiiTable of ContentsAbstract???????????????????????????????????.????....iiPreface??????????????????????????????????????..?....iiiTable of Contents??????????????????????????????????.?...iv........................................................................................................................................List of Figures vi..............................................................................................................................Acknowledgements viiCHAPTER 1Introduction.....................................................................................................1.1 Theoretical Context  1.................................................1.2 Types of Political Issues: Temporal-Political Profiles 5................................1.3 Intergenerational Justice and Intertemporal Political Relations 10......................................................................1.4 Summary and Plan of the Dissertation 12CHAPTER 2Are Democratic Systems Short-Sighted?.....................................................................................................................Introduction 26.......................................................................2.1 The Short Electoral Cycles Argument  28..................................................................................2.2 The Myopic Citizen Argument 34................................................................2.3 The Powerful Economic Actors Argument  44........................................................................................2.4 The Complexity Argument  52.......................................................2.5 The Non-Presence of Future Persons Argument  62.......................................................................................................................Conclusion 67CHAPTER 3Political Theories of Intergenerational Relations:Time and Collectivities.....................................................................................................................Introduction 70...........................................................................................................3.1 Connectionism 73......................................................................................................3.2 Disconnectionism 77..................................................................3.3 Connectionism versus Disconnectionism 84.......................................................................................................................Conclusion 92ivCHAPTER 4Theories of Intergenerational Justice:Time and Individuals.....................................................................................................................Introduction 94................................................4.1 Contractarian Theories of Intergenerational Justice? 95..............................................4.2 Rights-Based Theories of Intergenerational Justice? 101.....................................................................................................................Conclusion 118CHAPTER 5Democratic Theory and Temporality...................................................................................................................Introduction 120..........................................................................................5.1 Democratic Connections 122...........................................................................5.2 Political Obligations to the Future 133..............................................................5.3 Democracy and Collective Responsibility 143.....................................................................................................................Conclusion 154CHAPTER 6Democracy, Deliberation, and Long-Term Thinking...................................................................................................................Introduction 155...........................................................................6.1 Robust Democratic Environments 156...............................................6.2 Democracy, Deliberation, and Long-Term Thinking 163.....................................................................................................................Conclusion 172CHAPTER 7Democracy, Deliberation, and Farsighted Action...................................................................................................................Introduction 174..................................................................................7.1 Coordinating Contemporaries 175...............................7.2 Coordinating Actions between Non-Overlapping Generations 184.....................................................................................................................Conclusion 196CHAPTER 8Institutions:Long-Termism and Democratic Systems...................................................................................................................Introduction 198............................................................................8.1 A Democratic Systems Approach 200..........................................................8.2 Four Supplementary Democratic Institutions 206................................................................................................8.3 Proposed Institutions 241.....................................................................................................................Conclusion 253CHAPTER 9Conclusion..............................................................................................9.1 Concluding Thoughts 256..........................................................................................................................................References 270vList of FiguresFigure 5.1: Democratic Decision-Making Processes and Collective Identity Formation????...??.127Figure 8.1: A Democratic System???????????????????????????...??..203 viAcknowledgementsMany people have been instrumental in both preparing me for, and helping me through, the proc-ess of writing a dissertation. Before thanking those at UBC, I would like to acknowledge my mentors at the University of Winnipeg for their support  and encouragement during my under-graduate degree. In particular, I would like to thank Jim Silver for inspiring me to study political science in the first place, Christopher Leo for teaching me the finer points of marking essays and exams, and Joanne Boucher for insisting that I go to graduate school and apply for scholarships.I would also like to thank Elisabeth Gidengil and Stuart Soroka for their advice, support, and en-couragement during my time at McGill University. Both did a great deal more for my  education and my career than any  student could reasonably expect from his thesis advisors. I would also like to thank my friends and colleagues at the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform, and in particular my fellow members of the academic team: George Thomson, Jonathan Rose, and Mark Lyons. The year we spent working together did much to reinvigorate my interest in the practical aspects of political science and the exciting world of institutional design!At UBC, I wish to thank the members of my  advisory  committee ? Mark Warren, Fred Cutler, and Alan Jacobs ? for their collective support and critical feedback. Special thanks is due to Mark Warren, who has been the best  sort of advisor a PhD student could ask for. He has been a teacher, mentor, colleague, co-author, ski buddy, and hiking partner. Mark's trust and belief in my abilities has been enormously  encouraging. He has made every effort possible to not only nurture my intellectual development but to help integrate me, and his other students, into his own profes-sional networks. Mark has encouraged me to "free associate" as much as possible: to think crea-tively without constraint about the many different (and often conflicting) aspirations of demo-cratic theorists. At the same time, he has always insisted that his students maintain a very high level of conceptual clarity. Mark is a master of the difficult skill of writing about politics in a theoretically rich but nevertheless clear and accessible way. I can only hope that at least some of his talent has rubbed off on me.I would also like to thank Mike Burgess, Kieran O'Doherty, and my other colleagues at the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics. Our research and deliberative events provided me with many  opportunities to test my thinking and refine my knowledge of institutional design. Our work also came with an unexpected benefit: I learned a great deal about bioethics, a subject that I would otherwise be unlikely to have studied while pursuing a PhD in democratic theory and institutional design. I would like to extend a special note of gratitude to Mike Burgess who, although not a member of my advisory  committee, always treated me like one of his own stu-dents; even going so far as to provide me with office space, a much sought after commodity among graduate students in political science at UBC.I owe a debt of gratitude to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for generously providing three years of funding during my PhD research. viiThanks are also due to my  friends and family. I would like to thank my parents Ursula and Ken, and my sister Kathryn, for their understanding over the long periods of time in which we were not in contact during the writing of this dissertation. Special thanks is due to my friend and office-mate, Alfred Moore, who diligently read early  drafts of every chapter. Although I take full ownership of any errors or lapses of judgement, our lengthy discussions helped shape my  think-ing in numerous, untraceable ways. My time at UBC was greatly enriched by my close friends James White, Shannon Gormley, and Ian Runacres, all three of whom I met during my first day on campus. My most heartfelt thanks goes to Theresa Webber for her love, support, and editing skills.viiiChapter 1Introduction1.1 Theoretical ContextTraditionally, political theory  has focused almost exclusively  on relations between contemporar-ies. From one perspective, this makes a lot of sense. The present period is the only  arena in which political actions take place. If politics is about dividing scarce resources, negotiating with others, forming associations, claiming rights, and, in general, gaining, maintaining, and losing power, it  is by  definition about relations between contemporaries. We cannot negotiate with the past and we cannot form associations with those who do not yet exist. We might make long-term contracts or treaties that  we hope will last into the future, but future political actors cannot be signatories to our contractual arrangements today. Political relations, like personal relations, are constrained by time. From another perspective, an atemporal approach to political theory is no longer ade-quate. We now know that what we do today will affect the future in profound and lasting ways. This is a relatively recent development. Indeed, it was not until the mid-20th century that it be-came commonplace to view humanity as a decisive agent  of our own existential destiny. Karl Jaspers (1961) has called this recently acquired sense of existential agency the "new fact". For Jaspers, the "new fact" is epitomized by  the invention of the atomic bomb, which is "novel in essence" because it contains within it it the power of self-destruction ? "it is now possible for life on earth to be wiped out by human action" (1). Fifty years on, this statement has become so familiar that it  has lost much of the impact that  it must have had when it was first written. Never-theless, this newly  acquired sense of collective agency over the future helps distinguish the cur-1rent period from previous epochs. In the following quote, Hannah Arendt makes some of the dif-ferences between the current age and all previous ages explicit: Up to our own age human action with its man-made processes was confined to the human world, whereas [our] chief preoccupation with regard to nature was to use its material in fabrication, to build with it  the human artifice and defend it  against the overwhelming force of the elements. The moment we started natural processes of our own ? and splitting the atom is precisely such a man-made natural process ? we not  only increased our power over nature, or became more aggressive in our dealings with the given forces of the earth, but for the first  time have taken nature into the human world as such and obliterated the defensive boundaries between natural elements and the human artifice by which all previous civilizations were hedged in (Arendt 1961, 60).An atemporal approach to political theory is no longer adequate because we now know that what we do today will shape the future, and may even determine whether humanity will continue to exist. Of course, our agency  over the future is not limited to dramatic actions with existential consequences, our power to shape the future also has subtler manifestations. We are now aware that seemingly innocuous individual actions can, when aggregated, have emergent effects on human health, animal well-being, and the natural environment (e.g., Hardin 1968). In her famous book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1962) documented the many previously invisible environ-mental impacts of chemical pesticides. She illustrated that when used in small amounts these chemicals have few discernible adverse impacts but in the aggregate they can create severe envi-ronmental damage. Carson's analysis is important because it made explicit the extent to which humanity's power to shape the world and the future must be understood in both individual and collective terms. Nuclear bombs split atoms and start  'unnatural' processes in motion. Synthetic chemicals deplete the ozone layer. Genetically modified organisms integrate into otherwise 'natu-ral' environments. Prenatal genetic testing gives us the power to determine who is and is not born. The power to act into nature renders uncertain the stage upon which human actions take place, and throws into relief the agency  that we now possess to shape the future in acute and pro-found ways. More recently, scientists have argued that for the first time in history, humanity itself has become a global geophysical force. Some have argued that the current geological epoch should be called the Anthropocene in order to distinguish it from all previous 'natural' eras of geological change. As Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill (2007) explain, in the past, the "human imprint on the environment may  have been discernible at local, regional, and even continental scales, but  prein-2dustrial humans did not have the technology or organizational capacity to match or dominate the great forces of nature" (614). Today, humanity  "is, in one way or another, becoming a self-conscious active agent in the operation of its own life support system" (619). The Anthropocene argument emphasizes the power that humanity now possesses to shape the world and to make (or unmake) the future, but it is also an argument about the ever increas-ing speed of human activities and the pace at which change is taking place. According to Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill, after World War II "the human enterprise" suddenly  experienced a "great acceleration" (617). At this time, human activity  and productivity in nearly every field started to increase exponentially: population growth, petroleum consumption, economic development, for-eign investment, the number of automobiles, urbanization, water use, the damning of rivers, in-ternational travel, communications technology, and, in general, technological change. One of the consequences of this "great acceleration," is that each generation is becoming less like the previ-ous one increasingly quickly. These social, political, economic, and technological changes are forces of disconnection. Each generation is becoming increasingly disconnected from past and future generations as the worlds that they inhabit  become increasingly  dissimilar. This is another feature of the present era that helps distinguish it from previous epochs. For most of human history, each generation inhabited a world that was very similar to the one inhabited by  the previous generation. Schlesinger (1999), for example, estimates that while modern humans have lived on the earth for only about 800 lifetimes, there has been more scien-tific and technological change in the last two lifetimes than during all the others put  together (xii).1 In most parts of the world, the last  two lifetimes have also witnessed significant social, cultural, political, religious, and economic changes. Examples include dramatic extensions of civil and sexual rights, expanding realms of secularization, the changing role of women in most western and many non-western societies, increasing urbanization and multiculturalism, and the globalization of language, culture, media, and finance. As Benjamin Barber (1996) has pointed out: "Whilst  for thousands of generations life for a cohort of grandchildren roughly resembled 31 Matt Ridley (2011) gives an example of an epoch of technological stasis to which the present period can be com-pared. He tells us that pre-modern humans used palm-sized stone tools called 'Acheulean hand axes' for more than a million years. What is most surprising is that the design of these tools changed very little over this stretch of time. Indeed, according to Ridley the "bodies and brains of the creatures that made Acheulean hand axes changed faster than their tools" (49). This seems incredible from a modern perspective ? but historically,  minor, minimal, or im-perceptible technological and cultural change between adjacent generations is more the rule than the exception.life for their grandparents, in our century  there is enough change in a decade to confuse people in the fifteen years it takes to grow up" (574). The power that we now have to affect the future in profound and even existential ways, makes an atemporal approach to understanding political relations socially, politically, and philo-sophically inadequate. At the same time, rapid social, political, and technological change makes it more difficult  for us to act in future-oriented ways. Rapid change of all types renders the future less predictable and more difficult to understand. As Schlesinger (1999) has observed, the "law of acceleration hurtles us into an inscrutable future" (xiii). The world is changing increasingly quickly, and our sense of our own place in time is changing along with it. In order to remain relevant, political theory must respond to the new political imperatives, problems, and opportuni-ties that  are created by humanity's recently extended reach into the future. It is no longer ade-quate to implicitly  assume that the only political relationships that matter are those that exist be-tween contemporaries. In this dissertation, I argue that democracy ? in theory and in practice ? can help us understand and negotiate intertemporal relations. At first glance, democratic theory might seem like an unlikely place to go looking for a political theory  of intertemporal relations. In the minds of many, democracy is associated with short-term thinking and myopic decision-making. Short electoral cycles create strong incentives for elected officials to adopt policies that have demon-strable net benefits over the near-term. At the same time, individuals often discount the future or neglect longer-term problems in order to give precedence to more immediate concerns. As Den-nis Thompson (2010) has argued, democracies will be rendered myopic if individuals and other powerful political actors are primarily focused on their own immediate concerns. Effective de-mocracies are responsive to the concerns of individuals and groups, and if these actors are short-sighted democratic outcomes will be short-sighted as well. This is one version of what might be called the 'democratic myopia thesis.' I argue that the standard arguments used to support the democratic myopia thesis tell us only part of the story. While there are short-term imperatives that are created by certain demo-cratic institutions and practices, effective democracies are not without resources for overcoming these challenges. Democracies are not designed to simply register existing views and prefer-4ences; effective democratic processes can also help shape the preferences and perspectives of individuals and groups. I argue that in certain conditions, democratic processes can help  encour-age longer-term thinking by making the long-term effects of specific actions explicit, by expos-ing the potential interests of future political actors, and by forcing present period actors to pub-licly justify their actions vis-?-vis their potential impacts on the future. Effective democratic processes can also help underwrite farsighted collective actions. At the most general level, robust processes of public deliberation make it possible for a society  or a 'public' to talk to itself about what it is doing and where it wants to go. From this perspective democracy, and in particular de-liberative democracy, makes it possible for individuals to coordinate their actions such that spe-cific long-term goals and objectives can be collectively identified, sanctioned, and achieved. This is important because although we possess the power to either help or harm the future, no individ-ual or group can do it alone. Effective democratic systems provide individuals with opportunities to help shape the collective intentions of their societies, and thereby  guide them towards specific goals and objectives. Viewed from this perspective, democracy is a way for individuals and groups to take control of our collective agency  over the future. Thus despite the political dynam-ics of short electoral cycles, the short-term preferences or interests of individuals, and the politi-cal uncertainties created by  regularly alternating governments, I argue that democratic systems can help encourage longer-term thinking and underwrite effective, farsighted, and intentional collective actions. Although democratic theory, itself, cannot provide us with a complete account of intertemporal relations, it can help us make sense of ourselves in time and thereby help clarify our collective relations and obligations to the future. Effective democratic practices and institu-tions can, in turn, help coordinate individual actions in ways that are both collectively intentional and farsighted. 1.2 Types of Political Issues: Temporal-Political ProfilesOne of the challenges of exploring intertemporal political relations ? and more specifically the relationship  between time and democracy ? has to do with the diversity  of types of collective decisions that have (or might have) long-term consequences. Indeed, much of what we know about intertemporal political relations comes from studies of specific issues or types of issues. 5Many scholars have explored intertemporal relations in the context of environmental politics (e.g., Dobson 1996; Eckersley 2004; Goodin 1992; and Smith 2003). Others have explored the political dynamics associated with long-term issues such as public debt (e.g., Gosseries 2007), economic investment (e.g., Nordhaus 1975), health care spending (e.g., Rhodebeck 1993), edu-cation funding (e.g., Button 1992), public pension plans (Jacobs 2011; Jacobs and Matthews 2012), and natural disaster preparedness (Healy and Malhotra 2009). Complications arise be-cause each type of issue is associated with specific temporal-political dynamics. My objective is to explore democracy and intertemporal relations in general terms without focusing on any spe-cific long-term issue. Instead, throughout the dissertation, I illustrate my arguments by  drawing on a variety of examples of different types of long-term issues. Given this approach, it is worth clarifying some of the political dynamics that are associated with different types of political is-sues. Political issues differ from one another on at least two dimensions that are relevant  to both time and politics. The first  has to do with the distribution of intertemporal costs and bene-fits. The second has to do with the length of time between actions and consequences. With respect to the first dimension, political issues can be distinguished from one another according to how their associated costs and benefits are distributed in time. Short-term issues have costs and benefits that are (largely) concentrated in the present period. Governments, for example, often spend public money in order to stimulate economic growth over the near-term. If stimulus funds are drawn from current revenues, the costs of an economic stimulus program will be paid by present period actors and the benefits of that spending (if there are any) will accrue to the same generation of political actors over a relatively short  period of time. Long-term issues, by contrast, often have costs and benefits that are distributed across time in different ways. There are, effectively, two possibilities: one type of long-term issue produces benefits in the near-term but imposes costs on the future; the other type of long-term issue involves paying costs in the near-term for prospective future benefits. When governments borrow money to stimulate the economy, delay  tax increases, provide social services, or pay for wars, the benefits of those poli-cies are typically obtained over the near-term while the costs are deferred to the future. Other long-term policies, such as taxes on carbon emissions, have the opposite distribution of intertem-6poral costs and benefits. In this case, costs (i.e. taxes) are paid in the current period in order to obtain some long-term prospective benefit  (i.e. cleaner air for the future). Each type of long-term issue is associated with a different set of political imperatives, incentives, and challenges. With respect to those issues that have near-term benefits and long-term costs, the challenge is to ex-plain why present period actors should be concerned about the costs (or debts) that they are im-posing on the future. With respect to those issues that have near-term costs and long-term bene-fits, the challenge is to explain why  costs should be paid for uncertain or prospective benefits that may be obtained only by entirely different generations of political actors. Another way of distinguishing between types of temporal-political issues has to do with the length of time between actions and consequences. Short-term issues are those that involve actions with relatively near-term consequences. Crisis situations, such as earthquakes or severe economic downturns, often call for swift political actions that have immediate, demonstrable consequences. Indeed, political actors are often willing, eager, and able to take decisive and even costly  actions to rectify urgent political problems. Climate change, by contrast, is a problem with a very  different temporal-political profile. Many actions taken to prevent  or mitigate climate change will not have noticeable net benefits until some (usually  unspecified) time in the future ? 50, 100, or even 200 years from now. Nuclear waste disposal is an issue that is relevant over even longer timescales. Given the slow and asymptotic rate of decay, scholars have argued that the use of nuclear fuel amounts to a perpetual responsibility to the future (e.g. Ophuls and Boyan 1992; Weinberg 1972). Most long-term issues fall somewhere between these two extremes. Defi-cit  financing, education spending, transportation planning, and public pension plans are political issues where actions (or inactions) and consequences are separated by tens, rather than hundreds or thousands of years. The temporal distance between actions and consequences is politically relevant because it  affects how individuals and groups are likely  to relate to specific problems or issues. Short-term issues affect our present-selves in very  immediate and often tangible ways. We might lose our jobs (or be in danger of losing our jobs) because of an economic downturn. Our personal safety, or the well-being of our family, might be affected by  street crime or violence. Our homes may be damaged by earthquakes or flooding. Long-term issues, by definition, do not affect us in the 7same way that short-term issues do: if long-term issues affect us, their impacts will be felt only by our future-selves. This matters from a political theory perspective because our future-selves are not identical to our present-selves. We do not know (precisely) who our future-selves will be, and we cannot know without uncertainty  what we will care about, value, or need in the future. The best we can do is think about and anticipate our future interests in comparatively general terms. Given this, self-interest as a motivating factor for political action becomes less and less relevant to political theory as the temporal distance between specific political actions and their likely consequences increases. This is important because most conventional (i.e. atemporal) po-litical theories rely, at least  to some extent, on self-interest as a motivating factor for political ac-tion. On very long-term issues such as climate change or the storage of nuclear waste, self-interest as a motivating factor for political action can become entirely  irrelevant, depending on the length of time between specific actions (or inactions) and their likely consequences. This helps account for the fact that these, and other very long-term problems, are hard to understand in conventional political theory terms. These types of problems are even more difficult to deal with in the context of our existing political institutions, many of which rely  on self-interest to incentivize collectively-desirable behaviors. On very long-term issues, our future-selves, and in many cases the future-selves of people that we know and care about, will not be affected by  the decisions that we make today. On very long-term issues only  future-others will be affected by our decisions. This suggests that, when it comes to dealing with very long-term issues such as climate change or the storage of nuclear waste, a different type of political theory would seem to be required ? or at least a different set  of assumptions about why individuals might be willing to take costly actions to benefit  (or protect) future-others that  they do not, and cannot, know. There is, then, a politically relevant distinction to be made between long-term issues, such as pension plans, that are likely  to affect  our future-selves (or the future-selves of those we know and care about), and very  long-term issues, such as climate change, that are likely to affect only future-others. The distinction between long-term issues and very long-term issues, can also be under-stood in terms of relations between overlapping and non-overlapping generations. Some inter-8generational issues involve relations between existing generations of political actors. Education spending, for example, is likely to affect those who are elderly differently from those who are young parents or students themselves. Public pension plans transfer current period funds from those who are in their working years to those who have retired. Education spending and pension plans are intergenerational issues because they involve relations between members of different generations, but these and many  other long-term issues involve (for the most part) relations be-tween individuals who are contemporaries. Very long-term issues, such as climate change and the storage of nuclear waste involve relations between individuals and groups who are not con-temporaries. While it is true that each generation overlaps with the next and there will be a con-tinuous chain of generations attaching one moment in time to any other moment in time, non-overlapping generations are disconnected from each other both existentially and politically. Once the last individual from a particular generation has died, we are literally disconnected from that period of time. Future generations that  will exist  100, 200, or 300 years from now are also dis-connected from us: what we do may affect them in more or less profound ways but when they exist 'we' will not exist. These two types of intergenerational issues are associated with two dif-ferent sets of political dynamics, imperatives, and possibilities. When it comes to long-term is-sues that involve relations between overlapping generations, many  of those who will be affected in the future can, at least in principle, be included in decision-making processes today. When it comes to long-term issues that involve relations between non-overlapping generations, those who will be affected in the future do not yet exist and thus cannot be actively included in our decision-making processes. In this dissertation, I argue that democracy  ? in theory and in prac-tice ? can help  us understand and negotiate intertemporal relations, in general. Given this ob-jective, I discuss different types of temporally-complex issues. Much of what I have to say is relevant to those issues that involve relations between overlapping generations and those that involve relations between non-overlapping generations. Likewise, much of what I have to say is relevant to issues that have near-term costs and longer-term (potential) benefits, as well as those that have near-term benefits and longer-term costs. Nevertheless, some of what I have to say is relevant to only specific types of long-term issues or problems. In order to help maintain these conceptual distinctions throughout the dissertation, I specify which types of long-term issues are (or are not) relevant to each point or argument. When speaking in general terms about all types of long-term issues I use the term 'intertemporal relations.' 91.3 Intergenerational Justice and Intertemporal Political RelationsWhile most of those who study  intertemporal political relations focus on particular issues, the largest and most thoughtful body of literature on the subject of intertemporal relations more gen-erally is the work on intergenerational justice. In many ways, it makes sense to think about in-tertemporal relations as relations of justice (or injustice). Most scholars of intergenerational jus-tice agree that it is unjust for one generation (or the existing set of generations) to do as they please, without concern for those who will come later. Most agree that it is, for example, unjust for one generation to deplete the earth's non-renewable resources or fill the air with toxins with-out concern for the needs of future generations. From the perspective of a theory of justice, it is difficult to explain why  'location in time' should be a criterion that would justify  differential treatment or differential access to naturally occurring resources. In addition, many  scholars believe that  the interests of the future should be protected by rights claims or claims of justice because these typically  have priority over political agreements. The concern is that the interests, needs, and rights of future generations cannot be adequately protected by politics alone because political guarantees and agreements can be too easily changed or abandoned by future political actors. Justice claims, by comparison, are islands of relative certainty  in the turbulent and unpredictable waters of intertemporal politics. Justice claims, and especially those that are entrenched in constitutions that are not easily  changed, ef-fectively remove certain issues or types of decisions from the political arena, and they can there-fore be used to help protect the future from the vicissitudes of ongoing political processes. It  is for these reasons (and others) that many scholars have adopted a justice-based approach to un-derstanding intertemporal relations. In this dissertation, I argue that while a justice-based approach is a useful and likely es-sential component of a general account of intertemporal relations, theories of justice can only take us so far. Even if we had an adequate and widely  accepted theory of intergenerational justice (which we do not), we would nevertheless need a political theory  of intertemporal relations. Long-term issues often involve conflicts of interest and claims on limited resources. Adequately addressing long-term problems requires taking specific actions, or deciding who should pay par-ticular costs over the near-term. These are political questions that cannot be easily decided or re-10solved by recourse to general theories of intergenerational justice alone. Which specific actions should be taken to fulfill our obligations to the future? Which resources should be conserved? How much should be conserved and by  whom? Are there alternative resources that can be used to compensate the future for those that  have been depleted? Will investments in technology bene-fit the future more than conservation? Unlike justice-based obligations or duties ? which are necessarily very general in scope and content ? obligations to the future that are specified and sanctioned in political processes (and which might nevertheless be founded on justice-based claims) can be filled with detailed content that  imposes clear obligations on specific political ac-tors. By focusing their attention on justice-based claims to the exclusion of politics, many theo-rists have neglected to consider the political processes that are required for us to identify, specify, and legitimize the collective actions that we think we ought to take to fulfill our obligations to the future. From a political perspective, claims of justice are just claims that need to be imple-mented via political processes. Relatedly, where there are conflicts between principles of justice or obligations of duty, political judgements must be made about which principles or obligations ought to have priority. Lastly, a justice-based approach to studying intertemporal relations is not enough because our relations to the future cannot be adequately understood only in terms of our duty-based obli-gations. It is important to protect the future from harm, but many individuals and groups want to do more for the future than justice would require. Many people are also motivated to make posi-tive contributions to the future. Theories of justice, by definition, exclude supererogatory claims and motivations. As Brian Barry  (1978) points out, many people (himself included) feel that there is an important difference "between making successors better off, which is a nice thing to do but not required by justice, and not making them worse off, which is required by justice" (244). Given this orientation, most theorists of intergenerational justice have a lot to say about our obligations to help  protect the future from harm, but they  have very little (or nothing) to say about making positive contributions to the future. It is my belief that we should not ignore one half (or approximately one half) of the problem of intertemporal relations. We may have justice-based obligations to protect  the interests of the future, but we should also think about how we can make positive contributions to the future, both individually and collectively. Indeed, these 11two objectives ? protecting the future on the one hand, and making positive contributions to the future on the other ? cannot always be kept conceptually distinct or treated as separate prob-lems. In order to achieve both objectives, we need some means of coordinating individual ac-tions such that collectively specified goals and objectives can be achieved and duty-based obliga-tions can be fulfilled. In this dissertation, I argue that democracy can provide a foundation for a theory  of temporal political relations. Like theories of justice, democracy is not itself sufficient to provide a fully adequate account of intertemporal relations, but democracy  ? in theory and in practice ? can help  us address some of the conceptual issues and practical concerns that have not been adequately addressed by theorists of intergenerational justice.1.4 Summary and Plan of the Dissertation The remainder of the dissertation proceeds as follows. Chapter 2 explores the claim that demo-cratic systems are, by  nature, short-sighted. This claim ? which might be called the 'democratic myopia thesis' ? has been investigated both theoretically  and empirically in a number of fields including economics (e.g., Alt and Crystal 1982; Nordhaus 1975), political science (e.g., Healy and Malhotra 2009; Jacobs 2011; Jacobs and Matthews 2012), political theory (e.g., Kavka and Warren 1983), institutional design (e.g., Dobson 1996; Ekeli 2005, 2007, 2009), and ecology (e.g., Ophuls and Boyan 1992; Shearman and Smith 2007). Despite considerable attention from scholars, politicians, and many other observers, the terms of the democratic myopia thesis re-main theoretically  underdeveloped. In Chapter 2, I try to make sense of the different theoretical components of the democratic myopia thesis. I start by  identifying five conceptually  distinct ver-sions of the thesis: 1) the short electoral cycles argument; 2) the myopic citizen argument; 3) the powerful economic actors argument; 4) the complexity argument; and 5) the non-presence of future persons argument. I argue that each version of the democratic myopia thesis can be chal-lenged on theoretical grounds. In some cases, specific claims are applicable only to certain types of long-term issues, such as those that involve relations between non-overlapping generations as opposed to those that primarily involve relations between contemporaries from different genera-tions. More generally, I argue that each version of the democratic myopia thesis implicitly or ex-plicitly relies on a model of democracy  that: a) focuses on electoral dynamics and institutions to 12the exclusion of many other types of democratic processes and practices; and b) assumes that the interests, preferences, and expectations of individuals and groups are relatively well fixed and exogenous to the democratic process itself. I argue that when the democratic myopia problem is viewed through the lens of a more deliberative model of democracy, the prospects for long-term thinking and effective farsighted action do not look so bleak. Democracy is not just  a system for registering existing views and preferences; democratic processes such as deliberation can also help  shape the preferences of individuals and groups. I argue that democratic systems that are made up of many different types of democratic and deliberative institutions can help  counterbal-ance the short-term dynamics associated with regular election cycles. In order to make the argument that democracy can help  us think and act in future-oriented ways, it is useful to get a better sense of the individual's relationship to time, and the nature of intertemporal political relations more generally. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are dedicated to these top-ics. Chapter 3 explores intergenerational relations from a political theory perspective. Chapter 4 looks at theories of intergenerational justice that take the individual as the primary unit of analy-sis. Chapter 5 explores the relationship between democratic theory and intertemporal relations more generally. In these chapters, I make the argument that in order to understand the individual in time it  is useful to locate the individual in some sort of collective entity that will persist through time and last  longer than any one of its individual parts. It is only  by  locating individuals in multigenerational collective entities, of one type or another, that we can make sense of inter-generational relations running both backwards and forwards in time. For example, membership (or citizenship) in a nation-state entitles individuals to inherit the assets possessed by that state: the infrastructure, the institutions, the economy, as well as the land and its resources. It is only membership that entitles individuals to inherit benefits that are derived from the collectivity, or assets that are owned by the collectivity. Those who are not members are typically thought to have no legitimate claim to inherit the assets of particular states, or the assets or benefits of any other sort of multigenerational collective entity, such as a religious order, professional associa-tion, or leisure club. There may be disputes about which individuals or groups ought to inherit specific resources or assets, but these disputes always involve questions of membership in one way or another.13 If membership  entitles individuals to inherit collectively-derived benefits or assets, it can also help us make sense of our intergenerational responsibilities and obligations. Miller (2007), for example, has argued that we cannot justify  accepting useful or valuable inheritances without also accounting for any harms or transgressions that may have been committed in the past. Likewise, if membership in a multigenerational collective entity, like a nation-state, can instill in us a vicarious sense of pride for the achievements of past members, membership can also be used to compel individuals and groups to account for, and in some cases take responsibility for, any transgressions or crimes that may have been committed by past members of their collectivity (or collectivities). If membership in a multigenerational collective entity  can help  us make sense of our in-heritances and our historically-grounded obligations and responsibilities, it can also help us make sense of forward-looking obligations and motivations. For example, collectivities such as nation-states or corporations can draw debts or sign treaties or contracts for terms that extend well be-yond the likely lifetimes of those individuals involved in making the agreements. Multigenera-tional agreements and contracts are made possible because the collectivity, which can be con-ceived of as an immortal entity, can retain responsibility over time even as its membership changes. The concept of the multigenerational collective entity  can also help explain why some individuals are willing to pay near-term costs for future potential benefits that they are unlikely to enjoy  themselves. Membership in a collective entity  of one type or another, can help encour-age individuals to consider not only their own interests but also the interests, concerns, and needs of other members. Individuals may be motivated to take longer-term actions that they are un-likely to benefit from if their membership in a multigenerational collective entity causes them to relate to and in some sense equate themselves with future members of the collectivity. When we conceive of future individuals or groups as moral members of our own collectivity  (or collectivi-ties) we may be inspired or compelled to act in ways that will help protect or benefit future members, even if we are not likely to benefit ourselves from the actions that we take. Such col-lectivities need not be defined by shared cultural or religious traditions, ethnicities, languages, or nationalities, although they may be defined by any one (or any number) of these things. It is not 14even necessary to assume that there are (or must be) affective ties between individual members of a multigenerational collectivity. In theory, in order to motivate, justify, and understand longer-term thinking and action, all we need to do is conceive of ourselves as members of collective en-tities that are: 1) capable of persisting in time longer than any one generation of members; 2) shaped and affected by what each generation of members does; and 3) made up of other mem-bers with a moral status that is equivalent to our own. At its most inclusive, one's relevant multi-generational collectivity might  include humanity as a whole, or even humanity in relation to all living things. This is the perspective adopted by many environmentalists. At its least inclusive, one's relevant collectivity might be limited to one's immediate family. The general argument, which is applicable to all types of multigenerational collectivities, is the following: It is difficult to make sense of the individual in time, and it is difficult to makes sense of intergenerational re-lations, without first locating the individual in a collectivity  of one type or another that will per-sist longer in time than any one of its individual members. This situation arises because the life and political relevance of each individual is limited by time. Chapter 3 discusses the work of three classical political theorists: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. I use the work of these theorists to explore the claim that it is difficult to make sense of intergenerational obligations and motivations without first locating the individual in a multigenerational collectivity of one type or another. Following Ball (2000), I argue that the work of Burke on the one hand, and the works of Paine and Jefferson on the other, present two mutually exclusive ways of thinking about intergenerational relations. I call these two approaches connectionism and disconnectionism. According to a connectionist perspective, which is exemplified by Burke's political theory, intergenerational relations and obligations sim-ply befall us: they  are not matters of consent, they are instead matters of circumstance. Accord-ing to Burke, each of us is born into an intergenerational partnership, and this partnership very much defines who we are as individuals, and what sorts of opportunities, benefits, and obliga-tions we have to past, present, and future members of the partnership. In Burke's account, the intergenerational partnership  forms a body politic with an enduring (and essentially mysterious) collective essence that cannot be fully understood or sanctioned by  any one individual or genera-tion of partners. Given this, our membership  in the great intergenerational partnership (which is 15implicitly  but not explicitly defined by Burke in nationalist, ethnic, or cultural terms), cannot and should not be based on the consent of each generation of individuals. According to a disconnectionist perspective, which is exemplified by the works of Paine and Jefferson, all political relations and obligations ? regardless of whether or not they involve relations between contemporaries or between different generations of political actors ? must be based on the consent of the individuals involved. Given this starting point, the disconnectionists argue that each generation of political actors should be conceived of as a separate, distinct, and politically  autonomous entity. From this perspective, each generation of political actors is con-ceptually and politically disconnected from all others.  In Chapter 3, I argue that despite being mutually exclusive, connectionism and discon-nectionism each tell us something useful about the nature of intergenerational political relations. Both schools of thought lend support to the idea that in order to make sense of ourselves in time, it is useful to think of the individual as a member of a multigenerational collectivity of one type or another. Connectionists such as Burke, along with a number of contemporary  scholars such as Avner de-Shalit (1995), David Miller (2007), and Jana Thompson (2002, 2009), accept the ar-gument that there is a relationship  between thinking collectively and acting temporally. These scholars makes use of this relationship in order to justify intergenerational obligations and re-sponsibilities. Disconnectionists such as Paine and Jefferson, as well as a number of contempo-rary scholars such as Beckerman (2006) and Steiner (1983), make the same point by accepting the consequences of eschewing a collective orientation. The disconnections recognize that if the individual is selected as the primary unit of analysis, political relations, agreements, and obliga-tions cannot be extended past the limited lifetimes of individuals. The challenge is to figure out how individuals can be integrated into meaningful, multi-generational collective entities without sacrificing their moral autonomy as individuals. Burke's account of a deathless body politic with a mysterious essence that is unknowable to those indi-viduals who make it up, is no longer philosophically acceptable in an age of moral individualism in which legitimate political relations are those that are defined by the consent of those involved. At the same time, it  is no longer philosophically acceptable to simply go along with the conse-quences of disconnectionism. We cannot think of generations as entirely separate political enti-16ties because we now know that what we do (or do not do) will affect the future in profound and even existential ways. I argue that democracy can help  integrate individuals into meaningful, forward-looking, multigenerational collective entities that recognize and rely  on the moral autonomy of individuals, but that nevertheless provide the collective structures that are needed to help  motivate longer-term thinking and maintain intergenerational obligations and responsibili-ties.  In Chapter 4, I explore the relationship  between thinking collectively and acting tempo-rally by looking at  theories of intergenerational justice that start with the individual as the pri-mary  unit of analysis. If it  is possible to understand intergenerational relations as relations be-tween individuals rather than collectivities, this body  of literature is the place to go looking for such a theory. In Chapter 4, I examine both contract-based and rights-based theories of intergen-erational justice. I argue that theorists such as Beckerman and Pasek (2001), Gosseries (2008), Mazor (2010), and Rawls (1999), have not successfully  constructed theories of intergenerational justice that are based on relations between individuals. Instead, when confronted with the limited relevance of the individual in time, theorists of intergenerational justice have tended to adopt one of two strategies: they either 1) retreat into the present by focusing on the obligations that con-temporaries have to each other with respect  to future individuals; or 2) they adopt a collective orientation of one sort or another in order to make sense of intergenerational relations and obli-gations. Technically speaking, the first strategy is not intergenerational and the second does not retain the individual as the primary unit of analysis. I argue that these observations help support the claim that I make in Chapter 3: that it is difficult  to make sense of the individual in time without first locating the individual in a multigenerational collective entity  of one sort or another. This means that when we are thinking about intergenerational relations we have to think in terms of relations between collectivities and not in terms of relations between individuals. As explained above, the relevant entities may  be any type of collectivity: nations, states, religious traditions, ethnic groups, cultural groups, or even generations themselves. The important point is that when we are thinking about intergenerational relations, we cannot focus only  on relations between in-dividuals but we must instead adopt a collective orientation (of one type or another) in order to make sense of political relations that extend past the likely  lifetimes of any one individual. This 17observation is also borne out in the language that  we commonly use to discuss intergenerational relations. When talking about the impacts of our actions on future generations, we rarely say  that what we do will affect future individuals. We say 'generations' because we recognize that when thinking about our relations with the future, we have to think in collective terms, if only because future individuals cannot be identified and protected as individuals or engaged in our political decision-making processes today. The fact that intergenerational relations must be conceived of in collective terms does not mean that we have to accept and sanction a Burkean conception of a deathless body politic with a moral essence that is independent from that of its members. What is needed is some means of integrating morally autonomous individuals into collective entities that are, at least in some respects, capable of acting over the long-term. In Chapter 5, I argue that  democracy  is a means of integrating otherwise unaffiliated individuals into the sorts of collective entities that are capable of acting over the long-term, but that nevertheless preserve the moral autonomy of each individ-ual and generation of individuals. The arguments that I make in Chapter 5 are divided into three parts. In the first  part, I argue that the very act of making decisions together in democratic ways makes it possible to forge meaningful collective entities out of individuals who are (or may be) otherwise unaffiliated. On the small scale, identifiable collective entities can form around spe-cific issues or decisions. For example, when a jury makes a decision it, in effect, becomes a col-lective entity  with respect to that  decision; and even those who dissent from the majority opinion can, at least in principle, come to see themselves as part of a collective entity  that has, in some sense, acted intentionally. On the large scale, making collective decisions together in on-going, iterative, and democratic ways at the local, regional, state, or supra-state level, can help forge and continually re-forge the sort of collective entities that are capable of taking specific, intentional, and thus farsighted actions. In the second part of Chapter 5, I argue that  democracy makes it possible for individuals to collectively define, specify, and impose upon themselves collective commitments to the future. Unlike justice-based obligations, politically  defined commitments to the future can be filled with any  number of details about which actions should be taken by  specific political actors such that  collective commitments and obligations can be achieved and fulfilled. Unlike other 18modes of collective decision-making, democracy makes it possible for individuals to view col-lective commitments to the future as obligations that  they have, in some meaningful sense, im-posed upon themselves. The fact  that collective decisions in democratic systems are self-imposed and thus 'owned' in a certain sense by  those involved in making them, should in theory  make it more difficult for new governments or future political actors to abandon previously sanctioned long-term policy initiatives without providing adequate justifications. From this perspective, ro-bust (and in particular deliberative) democratic processes should help provide policy stability over time, despite the fact that governments and political actors frequently alternate in healthy democratic systems. In the third part of Chapter 5, I argue that democracy makes it possible for individuals to coordinate their actions in collectively intentional ways. This, in turn, makes it  possible to attrib-ute responsibility not only  to the individuals involved in making public decisions, but also to the collectivity itself. This matters when it comes to dealing with long-term issues and problems be-cause, as discussed above, collectivities are the only  sort of entities that can maintain responsibil-ity  over time as existing members are replaced by new members. Democracy is a means of link-ing the responsibility that each individual has to act in future-oriented ways with the capacity to act in collectively intentional ways. This, in turn, makes is possible for responsibility to be mean-ingfully attributed at the collective level and thus maintained over time. In the title of the dissertation, I use the term 'future publics' to refer to the sort of demo-cratic entities that are capable of acting over the long-term and bearing responsibility  to the future. This term is meant to be applicable to all types of future-oriented democratic entities, even those that  are not defined or circumscribed by existing borders or the apparatuses of the state. As Bohman (2007), Dryzek (2004), Warner (2002), and others have explained, the term public is typically used to refer to relatively loose, but nevertheless democratically constituted, collections of individuals. In Warner's account, publics emerge around texts or modes of com-munication: every book, lecture, radio program, article, public address or website has (and forms) its own public. In Dryzek's account, publics form around particular political issues when people become politically  active in addressing those issues. According to these accounts, publics can come to exist at, below, or above the level of the state. As Bohman (2007) argues, transna-19tional democracy, if it comes to exist, will have to account for multiple, overlapping publics ? or demoi ? that form (and will continue to form) around particular political issues that have relevance at  different levels of jurisdiction. Publics can exist  in multiple overlapping ways be-cause they  are, as Warner (2002) explains, self-forming, self-directed, and communicatively-grounded collectivities of otherwise unaffiliated individuals. It is this general sense of the term 'public' that I want  to emphasize and makes use of. The democratic publics that  I am interested in can, at least in principle, exist at any level of abstraction. At the same time, much of this dissertation focuses on institutions of the state at various levels of governance. This is a matter of necessity. Although I argue that the formation of demo-cratic publics ? in the general sense ? is a first step towards effective farsighted collective ac-tion, the formation of loose publics around narratives, texts, or political issues is clearly not enough. Even though the notion of the public is not (and should not be) constrained by the appa-ratuses of the state, some institutionalization is required to solve collective action problems. As Mansbridge (2012) has argued, in order to achieve specific collectively desirable goals or objec-tives, it  is almost  always necessary to resort to some measure of coercion to ensure that individ-ual actions are consistent with collective objectives. In order for coercion to be used legitimately, it must be institutionalized and applied fairly and consistently. At minimum, coercive measures should be seen to be legitimate by those who are subject to them. At the present moment, with a few exceptions such as the European Union, most democratic institutions exist at or below the level of the nation-state (see, e.g., Bohman 2007). Given this, when I discuss democratic sys-tems, I refer to those that are organized at the level of the state, even though the sort of demo-cratic publics that I am interested in can, at least in principle, form and find institutional expres-sion at, below, or above the level of the nation-state. Indeed, many long-term problems such as climate change likely require publics to form, and become institutionalized, at the global level if they are to be adequately addressed. The term 'future publics' is used throughout  the dissertation in two related but distinct ways. First, as explained above, I use the term to refer to the sort of collective entities that are capable of acting intentionally over the long-term. Future publics, in this sense, are capable of acting in future-oriented ways because they are democratically organized collective entities. 20Democratic entities that are inclusive, deliberative, and self-controlled, enable individuals to act on their own beliefs and motivations about what can and should be done for the future by making it possible for individuals to coordinate their actions in ways that are intentional at the collective level. Thus the 'publics' or collective entities that  are formed when decisions are made demo-cratically  underpin our individual and collective capacities to act effectively  in future-oriented ways. The second and related sense of the term 'future publics' draws on the claim that in-tertemporal relations, and in particular those that involve non-overlapping generations of politi-cal actors, are relations between collectivities and not relations between individuals. If this is the case, it  is useful to think about intertemporal relations as relations between past, present, and future publics. In each case, the collective entity  or entities that exist at  any  one moment in time are made up of existing generations of individuals. Political relations between present and future publics exist because the decisions that a present public makes will affect future publics (i.e. separate but related collective entities that will exist at some point in the future). I prefer the term 'future publics' to the term 'future generations' because a generation is not a self-organizing, self-directed collectivity; a generation is a collection of individuals, all of whom were born during a particular era. Without first becoming a public, a generation cannot act together as a conscious and self-aware collective entity ? even though generations are often talked about as if they are intentional collective entities. Given this, I believe that  it  is more accurate to talk about relations between present and future publics, as opposed to relations between present and future genera-tions, when we are talking about intertemporal political relations. Although I prefer the term future publics to future generations, I employ  both terms because so much of the extant literature on intertemporal relations uses the more familiar term 'future generations'. Throughout the dis-sertation, I use the terms past, present, and future publics when speaking of my  own work, and the terms past, present, and future generations when engaged in discussions of the works of oth-ers. In Chapters 6, 7, and 8, the focus of the dissertation shifts from democratic theory  to democratic practice. The purpose is to explore in more detail the central argument made in Chap-ter 2: that effective democratic systems do not simply respond to existing claims and preferences, 21but can also help shape the interests and perspectives of individuals and groups. Chapter 6 begins with a discussion of what constitutes a robust democratic environment. Most scholars agree that good democratic practices must be equal, inclusive, free, and empowered (e.g., Cohen 1989; Dahl 1985; Smith 2009). Effective democratic processes also enable participants to make in-formed, well-considered, and publicly-oriented judgements. Many scholars also argue that delib-eration plays a number of useful functions in democratic systems (e.g., Chambers 1996; Cohen 1989; Elster 1986; Goodin 2003; Habermas 1996; Mansbridge 1999; Mansbridge et al. 2012). As Elster (1986), Cohen (1989), and others have argued, when done well, deliberation can help transform particularistic claims into other-regarding ones. In the second part  of Chapter 6, I ar-gue that democratic processes that help  turn particularistic claims into general other-regarding ones can also help  encourage longer-term thinking when the temporal dimensions of long-term issues are recognized and made explicit. For example, in robust deliberative environments, any claims or positions that do not take into consideration, or adequately address, the potential con-cerns of future-others can be challenged on those grounds. Given this, democratic practices such as deliberation can create political incentives that reward longer-term thinking and turn short-term positions into liabilities. Chapter 6 focuses on democracy, deliberation and long-term thinking. Chapter 7, by con-trast, focuses on democracy, deliberation, and farsighted collective action. In Chapter 7, I address two related but  distinct problems. The first has to do with coordinating the actions of contempo-raries such that long-term objectives and farsighted goals can be collectively identified and actu-ally achieved. The second has to do with coordinating the actions of non-overlapping present and future publics. In the first part of Chapter 7, I argue that robust democratic environments, espe-cially  those that rely on deliberation and persuasion as mechanisms of coordination, can help co-ordinate individual actions in ways that are collectively  intentional and farsighted. The claim is that democratic processes, and in particular effective deliberative practices, make it  possible for collections of individuals to act as self-conscious, self-directed, and intentional future-oriented publics. In essence, effective forms of public deliberation make it possible for a public to talk to itself about what it is doing and where it wants to go.22 In the second part of Chapter 7, I argue that intergenerational communication (of one form or another) is an essential component of political relations between non-overlapping gen-erations of political actors. This situation arises because future publics, as the disconnectionists explain, will be free to make their own decisions within the confines of their inherited environ-ments. Future publics, whether we like it or not, will be free to accept and continue or reject and discontinue any long-term projects, plans, or initiatives that present publics put in place. The freedom that future publics will have to make their own decisions means that coordination mechanisms that are based on authority, reverence, or coercion will not be effective when it comes to coordinating non-overlapping generations of political actors. There is nothing the pre-sent can do to enforce its will on the future. Given this, effective forms of intergenerational coor-dination must be based on communication and persuasion. Forms of intergenerational communi-cation ? such as legally  required posterity impact statements ? can help  encourage longer-term thinking by forcing present period actors to justify  their actions vis-?-vis their potential impacts on the future (see, e.g., Thompson 2010). By linking present period plans to justifications that might, at least  plausibly, be acceptable to future publics, effective forms of intergenerational communication can also help  make farsighted plans, projects, and initiatives more politically vi-able over the long-term and thus more attractive to present period actors. The arguments that I make in Chapters 2 through 7 focus on democratic theory and prac-tice. In those chapters I say very little about how (or whether) we can build the sort of demo-cratic institutions that  would empower us to act in collectively  intentional and farsighted ways. In Chapter 8, I argue that it is possible to design democratic systems that are both efficient and farsighted. Efficient  democratic systems and institutions are those that are economical with the democratic resources of individuals. Farsighted ones are those that empower individuals to iden-tify and act in collectively intentional ways. Based on what is argued in each of the previous chapters, I begin Chapter 8 by identify-ing five democratic conditions that are conducive to longer-term thinking and farsighted action: 1) independence from electoral cycles; 2) inclusion; 3) deliberation; 4) membership; and 5) popular control. In the first part of the chapter, I outline the basic tenets of a systems-level ap-proach to the study of democratic institutions. In the second part of the chapter, I discuss four 23supplementary  democratic institutions: citizens' initiatives, referendums, minipublics, and par-ticipatory budgeting processes. Together, these institutions can produce the democratic condi-tions that  I have associated with longer-term thinking and farsighted action. What is more, these institutions do not  rely  on unrealistic or idealistic assumptions about the motivations or time con-straints of the average individual. Indeed, these four institutions have been tried, tested, and em-ployed in a variety of democratic contexts. In the third part of Chapter 8, I examine a number of democratic institutions that have been proposed but have not yet been tried or tested. In that section, I focus on institutions that are specifically designed to help make our democratic systems more effectively farsighted. I argue that it is not necessary to design institutions that are built for this specific purpose. Such institu-tions might become functional components of a multifaceted democratic system, but they may not be the most efficient and effective way to make our democratic systems more farsighted. In-deed, most of those institutions that have been proposed as correctives to the democratic myopia problem, are designed to deal with only one specific long-term issue: environmental degradation. In response to these proposals, I argue that we should adopt a more general approach to institu-tional design. If what I say in the rest of the dissertation has any  merit, we can make our demo-cratic systems more effectively  farsighted by making them more democratic. In Chapter 8, I ar-gue that it is possible to make our democratic systems more democratic and more effectively far-sighted without overtaxing the democratic resources of the average individual. In summary, this dissertation makes the following claims. When it comes to effectively  addressing politically complex long-term issues, democracy is part of the solution not part of the problem. Democratic systems are not by nature short-sighted. There are certain components of democratic systems that can produce short-term incentives, but democracies also have features that can help encourage longer-term thinking and make farsighted collective action possible. At the highest level of abstraction, democracy can help situate individuals into collective entities or 'publics' that are capable of acting over the long-term in specific, intentional ways. Effective forms of deliberation make it possible for a 'public' to talk to itself about what it is doing and where it wants to go. In addition to registering existing views and preferences, democracy can also help broaden the perspectives of individuals by  transforming particularistic claims into gen-24eralized ones that consider the interests of others, including future-others. Lastly, unlike other modes of coordination, effective forms of intergenerational communication and persuasion can help  coordinate political actors who are not contemporaries. At the lowest level of abstraction, I argue that specific types of democratic institutions can help  counterbalance the myopic tenden-cies of electoral processes and help  produce collective outcomes that represent a better balance between the interests of the present and those of the future.25Chapter 2Are Democratic Systems Short-Sighted?IntroductionAre democratic systems short-sighted? Many scholars have argued that democracies are not ca-pable of effectively addressing long-term problems because of the political dynamics created by short electoral cycles, the complexity associated with long-term problems, and the myopic views of citizens and other influential groups of political actors. This claim ? which might be called the 'democratic myopia thesis' ? has been investigated empirically  in a variety of fields includ-ing economics, public policy, and ecology. In economics, scholars have explored the extent to which regular electoral cycles affect business cycles, and whether these dynamics produce less-than-optimal social and economic outcomes (see, e.g., Alt and Chrystal 1983; Nordhaus 1975). Scholars of public policy have looked at whether democratic systems are systematically biased against the interests of the young on age-related issues such as public pension plans, health care, and education spending (see, e.g., Berkman and Plutzer 2004; Button 1992; Jacobs 2011; Rho-debeck 1993; Street and Cossman 2008). Others point out that democracies have been unable to prevent environmental destruction (see, e.g., Dobson 1996; Ekeli 2005; Heilbroner 1980; Ophuls and Boyan 1992; Shearman and Smith 2007; Stein 1998; Tremmel 2006).  Outside of academia, the democratic myopia thesis has received attention from public figures such as celebrities and politicians. For example, the former German President Richard von Weizacker once said:26 Every democracy is, generally speaking, founded on a structural problem, namely the glorification of the present  and a neglect of the future. It  is an indisputable fact  that we cannot and do not  want to be ruled differently than by representatives elected for a fixed amount  of time - with no more leeway at  their disposal than precisely their legislative terms of office for what they offer as solu-tions to our problems. I am not saying that all politicians are unconcerned with the future. They are only faced with the problem of having to acquire a majority (quoted in Tremmel 2006, 188).1  Despite the attention that the democratic myopia thesis has received, the terms of the argument remain theoretically  underdeveloped. Do short electoral cycles cause the problem? Or is the problem caused by the myopic views of voters themselves? What about the political influence of economic actors with dominant short-term interests? Is the problem caused by the complexity of long-term issues? Perhaps the problem is ontological: democracies are supposed to be responsive to those who are affected but future generations that do not yet exist cannot influence collective decision-making processes today. Which of these arguments is most important? Which of these arguments are compatible? Which are mutually exclusive? This chapter seeks to bring some theoretical coherence to the democratic myopia thesis. I start by identifying five conceptually  distinct versions of the thesis: 1) the short electoral cycles argument; 2) the myopic citizen argument; 3) the powerful economic actors argument; 4) the complexity argument; and 5) the non-presence of future persons argument. Most statements of the democratic myopia thesis are a combination of more than one of these arguments. It is, how-ever, conceptually useful to examine these arguments independently and to judge each on its own terms. This chapter argues that each version of the democratic myopia thesis can be challenged on theoretical grounds. In some cases, an argument can be applied only  to certain types of long-term issues. The non-presence of future persons argument, for example, is relevant to those is-sues that involve relations between non-overlapping generations, but it is not relevant to long-term issues such as education spending or public pension plans that primarily involve relations between contemporaries who are members of different generations. More generally, I argue that 271 A statement with similar connotations was made by Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson during a visit to China in 2010. The statement reads as follows: "...you can be critical of a lot of regimes around the world, and you can ques-tion how worthwhile democracy is in a lot of countries right now which are, frankly, ignoring the biggest crisis in the history of our species which is climate change. That's where you see the Chinese government taking radical dramatic action in investing in turning the ship around. And you do not see that in Western governments right now, democratically elected, and that's because they're afraid. And that's not serving the greater interests of society." Robertson was later forced to clarify and recant his remarks publicly. Source: www.citycaucus.com each version of the democratic myopia thesis implicitly  or explicitly relies on a model of democ-racy  that: a) focuses on electoral dynamics and institutions to the exclusion of many  other types of democratic processes and practices; and b) assumes that the interests, preferences, and expec-tations of individuals and groups are relatively well fixed and exogenous to the democratic proc-ess itself. This chapter examines each version of the democratic myopia thesis from a systems-level perspective. I argue that once we move away from minimalist models of democracy that focus on aggregative processes and electoral dynamics, the prospects for long-term thinking and action in democratic systems do not look so bleak. From a systems-level perspective there is a range of democratic goods and practices ? such as inclusion, deliberation, public debate, interest  group politics, and even mass protest ? that can, and do, help shape public preferences, expectations, and ultimately collective outcomes in democratic systems. There is also a range of supplemen-tary  democratic institutions ? such as citizens' initiatives, referendums, and minipublics ? that are not affected by the political dynamics of short electoral cycles in the same ways, or to the same extent, as electoral institutions. I argue that multifaceted democratic systems can help  en-courage longer-term thinking and underwrite farsighted collective actions. While there are fea-tures of democratic systems that create and nurture short-term imperatives, democracies are not without resources for overcoming these challenges.  2.1 The Short Electoral Cycles Argument   The short electoral cycles argument is the most familiar version of the democratic myopia thesis. The basic premise of the argument runs as follows: elected politicians have strong incentives to support policies that produce noticeable net benefits within a single electoral cycle, and they have equally strong incentives to discount or ignore potential solutions to long-term problems, especially if these have associated and significant near-term costs. Kavka and Warren (1983) provide a representative account of this argument. In their words, "politicians in democratic states, who are elected for relatively short periods and who are judged by voters largely in terms of the immediate results of their actions, also have strong incentives to overdiscount the future in the policy-making process" (432).28 The short electoral cycles argument is commonly cited in conjunction with the claim that voters themselves are short-sighted, but the two arguments are conceptually distinct. Although both voters and politicians might be either short-sighted or farsighted on particular issues, elected governments face political incentives that voters typically do not have to confront. First, governments, and to a lesser extent other elected politicians, have to demonstrate the benefits of their actions over the near-term. Second, politicians have partisan objectives and considerations that are different from those of even the most partisan citizen who is not an elected official. Un-like private citizens, public officials have to think about how and where to spend their political capital, whether the long-term policies they are associated with will come to fruition, and whether they will get credit for their actions in the future. It is difficult for governments and elected officials to demonstrate the prospective bene-fits of long-term policies over the near-term. The fact that prospective benefits have not yet been realized means that they might not  be realized. This fact alone makes it difficult for elected poli-ticians to make credible claims about the good that they have done if what they  claim to have done has not yet been achieved. Indeed, voters will have many good reasons to suspect that pro-spective benefits might not be realized. Long-term estimates may be inaccurate. Unexpected events such as earthquakes or other natural disasters might intervene. Economic circumstances might change and make long-term investments or policies less feasible or effective. These are sources of uncertainty that are (largely) exogenous to the political process. There are also sources of uncertainty that are endogenous to the political process. Elected officials might  fail to keep their promises, or future governments might renege on commitments made by  previous govern-ments. This latter source of uncertainty has been called the time-inconsistency problem (see, e.g., Hovi et al. 2009). As Jacobs and Matthews (2012) explain, many long-term policies or initiatives involve "non-simultaneous exchanges" where costs (of one type or another) are paid in the cur-rent period for prospective benefits. If these exchanges involve investment funds or savings that are made for a stated purpose, future governments and politicians may come under pressure to divert these funds to other purposes. It  is more difficult  for investments in infrastructure or hu-man resources to be diverted by future governments, but the time-inconsistency problem is not restricted to fungible resources. Many policies that are designed to have long-term cumulative 29effects can be reversed or abandoned by future governments before their full objectives have been realized. A carbon tax, for example, imposes current period costs that will only be worth paying if the policy is sustained and effective over the long-term, and this requires future gov-ernments to remain committed to the policy itself. The danger, as Jacobs and Matthews (2012) explain, is that "even if today's incumbents remain committed to the original long-run project, their successors may have divergent policy preferences and little moral or political stake in a pol-icy bargain to which they were not a party" (910). The problems associated with uncertainty will affect all types of long-term issues, but policies that address very  long-term issues, such as climate change or the storage of nuclear waste, will be subject to more uncertainty than those that address medium-term issues such as education spending. Similarly, sources of political uncertainty, such as the time-inconsistency problem, will affect  all types of political regimes. A dictator, for example, might create a fund for one purpose only to pillage that fund for some other purpose in the future. In a dictatorship, there will be few opportunities for citizens or other officials to complain or attempt to prevent desir-able long-term initiatives from being undermined by political leaders. Democracies, by contrast, are subject to a different source of policy uncertainty. Healthy democratic regimes are those that have regularly  alternating governments (see, e.g., Cheibub et al. 1996), and this means that  pre-sent period governments must factor into their long-term calculations the possibility  that newly elected governments may have very different policy  priorities from their own. Such considera-tions might encourage governments to underinvest in long-term initiatives, even if they think their supporters would not oppose investment, and even when they have confidence that long-term actions (if sustained) would be in the public interest.  Given the uncertainty associated with long-term investments and the difficulty  of claim-ing credit  for benefits that  have not yet been achieved, elected politicians have many reasons not to make long-term investments or adopt policies with prospective benefits and near-term costs. While the benefits of such policies will be difficult to demonstrate and claim credit for in the near-term, the costs will be comparatively  easy to link to those who currently  control the gov-ernment.  30 In competitive democratic systems, politicians do not just think about their own political fortunes, they also have to think about the possible fortunes of their political rivals. If the pro-spective benefits of long-term initiatives will not be realized until some unspecified time in the future, whoever is in power at that time may reap the political rewards of investments that are made today (Healy and Malhotra 2009; Mayhew 1974). Similarly, when the prospective benefits of long-term investments are realized in small cumulative steps, it will be difficult to link de-monstrable benefits to specific political actors or parties at any  one moment in time, especially in very competitive democratic systems. These considerations, like those associated with the time-inconsistency problem, might encourage governments to underinvest  in long-term initiatives. There are good partisan reasons for elected politicians to refrain from investing their political capital, their reputations, and current revenues in long-term initiatives if the rewards of prospec-tive benefits are likely to be reaped by  other political actors. These disincentives will be relevant to the calculations of elected officials even if they  have the political support to make long-term investments, and even when they truly  believe in the wisdom of making those investments. By contrast, any action with demonstrable near-term benefits can be relatively easily claimed by those politicians, parties, or governments doing the acting. From the perspective of an elected official, the most attractive policies are those with demonstrable near-term benefits and few or no near-term costs. In some cases, the costs of long-term initiatives can be transferred onto (un-known) future political actors. Indeed, given the uncertainty associated with long-term policies, the projected costs associated with some policies might never need to be paid. These political dynamics help explain why governments are often eager to borrow money  to produce tangible near-term benefits but reluctant to invest in long-term initiatives that have prospective benefits. These are the basic tenets of the short electoral cycles argument. What is less often em-phasized is that many of the political dynamics associated with short electoral cycles will operate even if voters themselves are not myopic. If voters articulate strong preferences for specific long-term benefits (such as clean air in the future) it will make it easier for elected governments to justify  near-term costs (such as a carbon tax), but the preferences of farsighted voters will not eliminate the fact that it is difficult  for elected politicians to demonstrate and take credit  for pro-spective benefits that have not  yet been realized. Politicians (and citizens) may be willing to pay 31near-term costs, but the incentives for elected governments to make long-term investments will be greatly reduced if there are reasons to believe that prospective benefits may  not be obtained, that the political rewards associated with those benefits will be reaped by  other political actors, or that long-term policies will not remain in place long enough to do some good. The following stylized scenario is meant to help illustrate the conceptual independence of the short electoral cycles argument and the myopic citizen argument. Imagine a government con-sidering the potential political benefits of two alternative policies: an economic stimulus plan and an education improvement plan. The economic stimulus plan will use current  revenues to stimu-late the economy and will thus involve paying near-term costs for relatively  near-term benefits. The education improvement plan will also use current revenues but the benefits of the plan will be realized cumulatively over the next 15, 20, or 30 years. Imagine as well that: 1) both plans will cost approximately the same amount of money; 2) each plan is technically  sound and thus equally likely  to produce the stated benefits if adopted and maintained; and 3) the government can only afford to adopt one of the two plans. In addition, suppose that the government knows that citizens support both policies equally. In other words, citizens are not myopic: they recog-nize the benefits of eduction spending and they are in principle willing to pay the near-term costs of the education improvement plan. In this stylized scenario, the government will face stronger political incentives to adopt the economic stimulus plan and not the education improvement plan. Both policies will impose near-term costs but only the stimulus plan will produce demonstrable net benefits that can be credibly claimed by  that government over the course of a typical 4-year election cycle. In the case of the economic stimulus plan the government can claim credit for ac-tions taken and tangible benefits received. In the case of the education improvement plan, the government can claim credit for actions taken but not for any tangible benefits received. Fur-thermore, by promising to produce net benefits before the next election, the economic stimulus plan will not be subject to the uncertainties associated with alternating governments. The basic tenets of the short electoral cycles argument are persuasive, but the relevance of this argument to the prospects for long-term thinking and action in democratic systems should not be overstated. By focusing exclusively on electoral politics, the short electoral cycles argu-ment presents a relatively narrow and incomplete view of collective decision-making processes 32in multifaceted democratic systems. From one perspective, focusing on elections and electoral dynamics makes a lot of sense. Electoral institutions are an essential component of any well-developed democratic system. From another perspective, this approach helps to create the prob-lem with which it is concerned. By emphasizing the centrality  of electoral politics, the short elec-toral cycles problem is made more salient than other potentially relevant  considerations, demo-cratic goods, practices, and institutions. Indeed, collective outcomes in democratic systems are, and always have been, shaped by a range of factors, forces, dynamics, and processes ? some of which have to do with electoral politics but many of which function to supplement, influence, or directly challenge the decisions made by elected officials. As Rosanvallon explains, historically,the power to vote periodically and thus bestow legitimacy on an elected government was almost always accompanied by a wish to exercise a more permanent  form of control over the government thus elected. People recognized immediately that  the sanction of the ballot  box was insufficient to compel elected representatives to keep their promises to the voters (Rosanvallon 2008, 12).The sanction of the ballot box is also insufficient to compel elected officials to address certain types of issues or to take specific actions, especially those that are unlikely to produce immediate electoral benefits. Indeed, such issues may be dealt with through democratic means that are not themselves directly affected by the political dynamics of short electoral cycles. Effective democratic systems provide individuals and groups with multiple (more or less effective) means of shaping political agendas and influencing decision-making processes. Citi-zens in democratic systems can form interest groups to put pressure on elected officials, they can engage in mass protests, they can form unions and go on strike, they  can use the media to shape public opinions and persuade governments to address issues that might otherwise be ignored, and they  can directly  challenge government decisions in courts of law. There are also a range of sup-plementary institutions such as citizens' initiatives and referendums, as well as a number of less familiar institutions such as minipublics and participatory budgeting processes, that can provide citizens with additional influence over public decision-making processes between election peri-ods. These, and other institutions, will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 8. At this point I simply  want to emphasize the range of possibilities. Citizens' initiatives, referendums, minipub-lics, interests groups, unions, mass protests, free media systems, and courts of law all have at least two things in common: 1) they provide citizens and groups with some influence over col-33lective decisions; and 2) they are not subject to the short-term dynamics that often characterize electoral politics. What is more, these modes of influence can and often do function in ways that are democratic, despite the fact that each operates independently from our primary electoral in-stitutions. If short electoral cycles render democracies myopic, it  is their independence from electoral cycles that  makes supplementary  institutions and alternative democratic processes part of the solution to the problem. Given the range of alternative modes of democratic influence, the relevance of the short electoral cycles argument should not be overstated. While applicable to electoral institutions, this argument cannot be used to support the claim that democratic systems are, by their very nature, myopic.  2.2 The Myopic Citizen ArgumentThe short electoral cycles argument is not the only  one used to support the democratic myopia thesis. Many observers have argued that the source of the problem can be found in the myopic tendencies of voters themselves. As explained above, although the short electoral cycles argu-ment and the myopic citizen argument are related, it is useful to make conceptual distinctions be-tween them. According to the short electoral cycles argument, politicians may  be incentivized to act in short-sighted ways even when voters, in principle, would support longer-term initiatives. According to the myopic citizen argument, it is the voters themselves who put pressure on elected officials to adopt short-term policies, even if politicians understand the need for long-term planning and farsighted action. Thompson (2010) presents the myopic citizen argument as a kind of syllogism. He rea-sons as follows: if "citizens tend to discount the future," and the "democratic process responds to their demands," then the laws that  democracies produce "will tend to neglect future generations" (17). According to this version of the argument, democracy is by nature myopic because it is re-sponsive to citizens' concerns and there is, according to Thompson, a "natural human tendency to prefer the immediate to the distant, both in what one fears and what one desires" (18). There are many  reasons why  individuals might prefer the near-term to the future. In some cases, people are simply impatient: they  care about near-term utility  more than future utility even if prospective benefits are certain, risk-free, and would provide greater absolute returns or value 34than near-term benefits. People who are impatient in theses ways have positive time preferences. It is useful to distinguish between impatience or positive time preferences on the one hand, and future discounting on the other. Future discounting occurs when individuals who may or may not have positive time preferences have reasons to discount the utility of prospective benefits when compared to more immediate gains (see, e.g., Frederick et al. 2002, 352; Jacobs 2011, chap 2). There is a long tradition of research into the possible causes of positive time preferences and future discounting, especially among economists (see, e.g., Frederick et al. 2002). N. W. Senior (1836), for example, speculated that positive time preferences may be caused by  the psy-chological strain of self-denial. It is often difficult and even painful to save for the future or pay near-term costs because saving involves self-denial whereas spending and consumption helps satisfy our immediate needs and desires. Many years after Senior was writing, economists such as Koopmans (1960), Koopmans, Diamond, and Williamson (1964), Hirshleifer (1970) and Ol-son and Bailey (1981), made logical arguments to support the notion of positive time prefer-ences. According to Frederick et al. (2002), the "gist of their arguments is that a zero or negative time preference, combined with a positive real rate of return on saving, would command the infi-nite deferral of all consumption" (359). But as Frederick et al. (2002) point out, while this argu-ment is logically sound it would only be true if individuals had infinite lifespans and linear (or near) linear utility functions. Scholars such as Eugen von B?hm-Bawerk (1889) and Irving Fisher (1930) have argued that individuals tend to discount the future because it is difficult to conceptualize our future needs and desires. This, in turn, causes us to underestimate the value of our future utility. We might not have a preference for near-term utility  over future utility but  if our immediate concerns feel more real and less abstract than our prospective needs and desires we will tend to discount the future in favour of the present. Also, there may be future wants, needs, and desires that do not, for whatever reason, come to mind. If future concerns do not come to mind, they cannot be factored into our intertemporal utility calculations and this will tend to bias our judgements to-ward the present period, even if we do not have strongly positive time preferences. Thus in addi-tion to the uncertainty  that long-term decisions inevitably  involve, the difficulty  of estimating our future needs and desires can cause individuals to discount the future in favour of the present. In a 35related point, Jacobs (2011) has observed that individuals often perceive long-term conse-quences, problems, or dangers as being less dramatic or less salient than short-term ones even when the only objective difference between two concerns is their temporal location (46). In addition to uncertainty  and a lack of salience, there are cognitive processes that can bias our judgements against the future. For example, individuals tend to place more weight on negative outcomes than on positive ones. This tendency ? which is known as the 'negativity bias' ? is well documented in the psychology literature (e.g., Vonk 1993), but it has also been shown to affect political judgements, policy preferences, and voting behavior (e.g., Lau 1985; Soroka 2006). In addition, individuals tend to be loss averse: they  weigh potential losses more heavily than equivalent prospective gains (e.g., Gilovich et al. 2002; Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler 1991; Kahneman and Tversky 2000). As Jacobs (2011) explains, these, and other reasons for future discounting can affect  the willingness that individuals have to invest in long-term ini-tiatives, plans, or policies, even if individuals themselves do not have strongly positive time preferences. If future consequences are less salient than imminent ones, if we care more about the negative than the positive, and if we tend to weigh potential losses more heavily than poten-tial gains, we will be less likely to support actions or initiatives that seek immediate pains for future gains (46). Whatever their causes, the distinction between 'pure' positive time preferences and future discounting is politically important. As Jacobs' (2011) explains, if individuals have strongly  posi-tive time preferences, actions taken to mitigate uncertainty  or to make the future consequences of decisions more salient will do little to help  make political actors less myopic. On the other hand, if individuals tend to have only  modestly positive time preferences, addressing some of the causes of future discounting, might help make us more willing to pay near-term costs for pro-spective gains. The standard version of the myopic citizen argument makes strong claims that individuals have positive time preferences, and that they tend to discount the future for various reasons. In many accounts of the myopic citizen argument the differences between time prefer-ences and future discounting are not made explicit (see, e.g., Thompson 2010).  Another version of the myopic citizen argument combines observations about positive time preferences and future discounting with claims about the prevalence of self-interested, util-36ity  maximizing behavior. Using Downs' (1957) theory of economic democracy as a foundation for her claims, Stein provides a representative account of a self-interest version of the myopic citizen argument:It  is assumed that  individuals behave like self-interested rational actors: they act rationally and with a present preference in the utility function, meaning they act  myopically in the short term. People who act myopically will judge today's loss as more important than tomorrow's profit  and vice versa: for them today's profit  is more important than a future loss. When this problem is transferred to the sphere of democratic politics, the voting behavior of the electorate is more easily understood. Voters will choose those options which promise to maximize the health and well-being of the peo-ple, and also for those that avoid any sacrifices (Stein 1998, 425). Although they  are often conflated (as in the above quote), self-interest versions of the my-opic citizen argument and cognitive bias versions of the argument are conceptually  distinct. As Thompson (2010) points out, there is a difference between the "natural human tendency to prefer the immediate to the distant" and the "self interest motivation" (19). Self-interested individuals might rationally favour long-term policy  options if they  are concerned about the well-being of their future-selves.2 As such, a self-interest version of the argument does not rule out support for policies related to pensions plans, transportation planning, or other long-term initiatives that are likely to benefit the future-selves of voters. In contrast, the cognitive biases version of the citizen myopia argument applies to all types of long-term issues, those that will affect the future-selves of voters and those that will primarily affect future generations that do not yet exist. Despite the intuitive appeal of the myopic citizen argument, the premise of the argument can be challenged on both empirical and theoretical grounds. There is evidence that individuals may have moderately  positive time preferences (e.g., Jacobs 2011, Jacobs and Matthews 2012, Teles 2009) and there are many good reasons to discount the future utility of certain actions, es-pecially those associated with uncertainty and risk. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for indi-viduals to worry about the future, make plans for their own future, or think about their children's future. Indeed, it  is not uncommon for individuals to think past their own temporal horizons and 372 Although, as Derek Parfit (1984) has argued, individuals may have preferences for near-term utility because our future-selves are not identical with our present-selves. If we conceive of our future-selves as future-others because changing circumstances, contingencies, and life-experiences change us over time, we should have moderately posi-tive time preferences if we have a preference for ourselves over others. to consider the interests or concerns of future-others.3 Scholars such as Ernest Partridge (1981) and Jana Thompson (2009) have argued that it  is psychologically normal for individuals to pos-ses interests and concerns that transcend the self. As Partridge explains,By claiming that  there is a human need for 'self-transcendence,' I am proposing that, as a result  of the psychodevelopmental sources of the self and the fundamental dynamics of social experience, well functioning human beings identify with, and seek to further, the well-being, preservation, and endurance of communities, locations, causes, artifacts, institutions, ideas, and so on, that  are out-side themselves and that they hope will flourish beyond their own lifetimes" (Partridge 1981, 204). Partridge's intuitions are borne out by empirical research. For example, surveys show that public opinions on very long-term issues such as climate change are far from uniformly myopic. Indeed, public opinions on climate change and related issues may be better characterized as complex and nuanced: the public's opinions on these matters are short-sighted in some respects and farsighted in others. To be sure, long-term issues such as climate change rarely make it to the top of the pollster's list of 'most important issues' (Pew Center 2007). Respondents typically rank immediate concerns such as security, healthcare, and the economy as being more important than long-term issues such as climate change (e.g., Brulle, et al. 2012; Hamilton 2011; Lorenzoni and Pidgeon 2006; Pew Center 2007). Despite this, polls indicate that many citizens are concerned about environmental issues such as air pollution, radioactive waste, and climate change. In a meta-analysis of published polls, Lorenzoni and Pidgeon (2006) conclude that, "Climate change has woven its way into the general consciousness worldwide, with awareness and concern about the issue present among most publics, including those in the USA and in Europe" (75). Polls also show that many individuals support  specific policies designed to help mitigate climate change. Leiserowitz (2006), for example, reports that large majorities in the US support policies to increase fuel efficiency standards, to strengthen regulations of carbon dioxide as a pollutant, to shift government subsidies from fossil fuel industries to the renewable resource sec-tor, and to tax large vehicles or "gas guzzlers" (55). There is, however, less support  for policies 383 The literature on intertemporal tradeoffs and the myopic tendencies of individuals tends to focus on the individual's relation to his or her own future-self. See Frederick et al. (2002) for an extensive review of the economic literature on intertemporal tradeoffs. From a political theory perspective, it is also important to think about some of the rea-sons that individuals might have to think past their own lifetimes. This question is addressed throughout this disser-tation. I argue that when we view ourselves in relation to other individuals who are morally equivalent to ourselves, we will have reasons to think and act in future-oriented ways if we also recognize the long-term or very long-term consequences of our collective actions. By contrast, as Stein (1998) observes, if individuals are 'purely' self-interested they will have few reasons to think past their own limited time horizons. that might  affect individuals directly. In Leiserowitz's study, only a minority  of individuals said that they would support a business tax on heavy emissions producers (31 percent) or a gas tax at the pumps (17 percent) (56). Similar trends are observed elsewhere. As Lorenzoni and Pidgeon (2006) report, a majority  of respondents in the UK said that they would be willing to use their cars less (68 percent), take fewer flights (62 percent), and pay more for flights (51 percent) (84). Although support for a gas tax is higher in the UK than in the US, only a minority of UK respon-dents said that they would be willing to pay more at  the pumps (37 percent) (Lorenzoni and Pid-geon 2006, 84). Overall, these results indicate that while there are limits to what citizens are will-ing to do for the future, the electorate is not uniformly myopic and individuals are not merely concerned with their own short-term interests, at least  on the topic of climate change. As the polls indicate, there are policy options that  are designed to address issues such as climate change that would have the support of a majority  of voters, even though these policies seek to mitigate problems that are relatively remote and temporally distant in the minds of most voters.  Polls, of course, can only tell us so much. Respondents are asked if they would, in princi-ple, support one policy  or another, or whether they would be willing to pay  certain near-term costs such as higher prices at the gas pumps. But the prospective benefits of such measures are typically left unstated or underspecified in the survey  questions. Nor are respondents asked to consider the temporal tradeoffs at  stake or make judgements about the conditions under which they  would or would not be willing to pay  near-term costs for prospective benefits. A more ro-bust way  to explore whether individuals are myopic is to use experiments to examine the condi-tions under which individuals are (or are not) willing to make intertemporal tradeoffs.  Experiments from the economic literature on intertemporal tradeoffs do not support  the claim that citizens have strongly positive time preferences. As Frederick et al. (2002) demon-strate, there are many empirical findings that are not consistent with this claim. Experimental subjects, for example, tend to prefer increasing temporal sequences to decreasing ones. In ex-periments on the temporal distribution of salaries, it was found that subjects generally  prefer in-creasing salary profiles to decreasing or flat salary profiles, even though flat or decreasing salary profiles would put more money in their hands more quickly. Other studies have shown that indi-viduals have modest preferences for spreading income or benefits over time, even though their 39present-selves would benefit more from immediate consumption (Frederick et al. 2002, 353-354). These and other experimental findings suggest that many individuals do not have strongly positive time preferences, at  least when it comes to their personal finances. Individuals might nevertheless discount the future if they believe that prospective benefits are uncertain, or if the long-term consequences of their actions have not been made salient enough. There are fewer experiments on intertemporal tradeoffs in the political science literature. In order to help address this gap in the literature, Jacobs and Matthews (2012) designed a survey experiment to explore the effects of timing on the willingness of individuals to support long-term policy initiatives that have near-term costs. In the experiment, participants were told that the US public pension plan (which is known as Social Security) would face a financial crisis in the com-ing years if costly  reforms were not adopted. Participants were asked if they  would be willing to pay more taxes today in order to avoid larger tax increases in the future. The study  induced two experimental manipulations. The first varied the timing of the coming crisis. One group was told that the crisis would occur in 5 years, while the other was told the crisis would not occur for 40 years. The other manipulation dealt with causal complexity. One group was told that similar re-forms had been tried before and that experts agreed that the reforms would be easy  to implement and effective. The control group received no such assurances.  The results of the experiment confirm that voters are myopic, at least in certain respects. Those who were told that the crisis is decades away were statistically less likely  to support costly reforms to the Social Security  system. But this is not the whole story. Jacobs and Matthews' (2012) results show that voters do not have strongly positive time preferences. Instead, the deci-sions of voters appear to be affected by contextual factors such as certainty  and trust in govern-ment. Those who were given assurances that the proposed reforms would be successful, were equally likely to support reform regardless of whether or not they were told the crisis would oc-cur in 5 or 40 years. Jacobs and Matthews (2012) also found that those with low levels of fiscal trust (i.e. those who believe governments tend to waste public money), were statistically less likely to support the proposed reforms if they were told that the crisis would not occur for 40 years. For those in the high-trust group, the temporal distance of the looming crisis did not affect their willingness to support the proposed reforms.40 These results provide strong experimental evidence that the familiar picture of the my-opic voter is overly simplistic. Although there may be many good reasons for individuals to fa-vour near-term payoffs over long-term prospective ones, and although individuals may be af-fected by certain cognitive biases against the future, the electorate is not uniformly myopic and individuals do not always favour the near-term over the long-term. As Jacobs and Matthews (2012) point out, while their results "broadly confirm the common views of public attitudes as biased towards the short run, they  also caution against overstating the magnitude of the electoral risks facing politicians who enact costly investments in the long term" (932).The myopic citizen argument can also be challenged on theoretical grounds. The claim that de-mocracies are short-sighted because they  are designed to respond to the short-term perspectives of voters is theoretically consistent with certain models of democracy but not others. The argu-ment is consistent  with a model of democracy in which the preferences of voters are assumed to be relatively static and exogenous to the political process. It is not consistent with a model of democracy  in which the interests, concerns, opinions, expectations, and preferences of individu-als are thought to be shaped by the democratic process itself. Consider Downs' (1957) 'Economic Model of Democracy', the model used by Stein (1998) to support her version of the myopic citizen argument. In Downs' (1957) model, political actors are self-interested agents that seek votes like economic actors seek money. The model is based, in part, on the following simplifying assumptions: 1) all agents (i.e. voters, politicians, and parties) will behave rationally at all times (137); and 2) the preferences of voters are identifi-able, relatively stable, and single-peaked at some point  on the left-right spectrum (142). Similar assumptions are maintained in other rational choice models of democracy. As Elster (1986) ex-plains, according to the standard version of social choice theory, individuals are assumed to have well defined preferences over a given set of alternative choices, and, among other conditions, the "agents are supposed to be endowed with preferences that are similarly given and not subject to change in the course of the political process" (105).  Other models of democracy assume precisely the opposite: that the interests, concerns, opinions, expectations, and preferences of political actors are, at least  in part, shaped by their 41participation in the democratic process itself. This is a central assumption of the 'developmental' models of participatory  democracy  advanced by  J.S. Mill (1861) and Carole Pateman (1970). As Elster (1986) explains, according to these models of democracy, "the goal of politics is the trans-formation and education of the participants" (103). It is through various more or less intense modes of democratic participation that individuals are presented with opportunities to learn about public issues, to develop political competencies, and to become familiar with the concerns and interests of others. Standard models of deliberative democracy  also emphasize the developmental aspects of participation. In good deliberative processes, each participant is supposed to maintain opinions, preferences, and expectations that are, at least in principle, provisional and to some extent revis-able (e.g., Gutmann and Thompson 2004). It is provisionality that makes persuasion possible in a deliberative context. This does not  mean that participants should pretend that they are blank slates, or that they do not possess strong preferences, stable opinions, or specific interests or ex-pectations. Far from it. Productive deliberations are only possible when each individual or group makes persuasive arguments in favour of some position or another. It is also possible for indi-viduals to legitimately  maintain and advance self-interested claims in deliberative processes (Mansbridge et al. 2009). Self-interested claims will be legitimate if they can be made reason-able from the perspective of others, and if they are amenable to the interests and concerns of oth-ers. In models of participatory democracy, changing preferences are often seen as byproducts of participation. In contrast, the whole purpose of deliberation is to use discursive practices to ac-tively shape and re-shape opinions, interests, concerns, and expectations such that resolutions to difficult or controversial political issues can be found or forged and ultimately  accepted by those who are affected (e.g., Gutmann and Thompson 1996). As Chambers (2003) defines it: "delibera-tion is debate and discussion aimed at producing reasonable, well-informed opinions in which participants are willing to revise preferences in light of discussion, new information, and claims made by fellow participants" (309).  The myopic citizen argument, as it is often presented, sets up a false dichotomy: either a system is responsive to the existing concerns of individuals or it is not democratic. If the system is responsive and citizens are myopic, policy outcomes will tend to favour the present  over the 42future. But this dichotomy stands only if we assume that the preferences of individuals are stable and exogenous to the democratic process itself. Alternatively, if preferences and opinions are, at least in part, conceived of as products of democratic processes, it is possible to conceive of a sys-tem that is democratic but that does not simply respond to the existing preferences and immedi-ate concerns of individuals. Models of democracy that allow for changes of opinion to occur also allow for another possibility: that certain democratic arrangements, practices, and procedures might help actively discourage myopic tendencies and encourage longer-term thinking among participants. In theory, democratic practices such as deliberation might help reduce future dis-counting by, for example, making the long-term consequences of certain actions (or inactions) more salient. In Chapter 6, I argue that any democratic process that effectively  helps turn particu-laristic claims into generalized other-regarding ones, can help encourage longer-term thinking when the temporal dimensions of long-term issues are recognized and made explicit. The basic claim is that democratic practices that help make participants more sensitive to the concerns of others can also help make them more sensitive to the concerns and interests of future-others. In theory, democratic practices can also help make longer-term plans and policies less politically  uncertain. If citizens know, understand, and accept the reasons used to justify costly investments, it should be more difficult for democratically elected leaders to renege on invest-ments made by previous administrations or abandon long-term policies that citizens have know-ingly and willingly invested their resources in. In summary, although the myopic citizen argument is relevant in certain circumstances and to specific models of democracy, it is not applicable in all circumstances or to all models of democracy. From an empirical perspective, while there are good reasons for individuals to dis-count the future, there is evidence that individuals do not always do so. Public opinion on issues such as climate change and public pensions is not consistently lined up  against the interests of the future, or against policy  proposals designed to address specific aspects of these long-term problems. Instead, public opinions on these issues are complex, nuanced, and likely  affected by a range of situational and political factors (see, e.g., Brulle et al. 2012; Hamilton 2011; Jacobs and Matthews 2012; Krosnick et al. 2006; Leiserowitz 2006; Lorenzoni and Pidgeon 2006).43 From a theoretical perspective, the myopic citizen argument is consistent with a model of democracy  in which the preference structures of individuals are relatively stable, short-sighted, and formed independently  of the democratic process. It is not consistent with a model of democ-racy  in which the interests, concerns, opinions, expectations, and preferences of individuals are thought to be shaped by the democratic process. Given this, the relevance and applicability of the myopic citizen argument should not be overstated. Democratic systems are supposed to be re-sponsive to the concerns and interests of citizens, and the myopic citizen argument is undoubt-edly  relevant in some cases, but this argument cannot be used to support the more general claim that democratic systems are, by their very nature, short-sighted.2.3 The Powerful Economic Actors ArgumentAnother version of the democratic myopia thesis has to do with the influence of powerful eco-nomic actors. There are at least  two versions of this argument, and although they are conceptu-ally distinct they are not mutually exclusive. The first focuses on the direct influence of eco-nomic actors in selecting candidates, funding election campaigns, lobbying governments, and ultimately  influencing policy. The other focuses on the indirect influence that  economic actors can exert  on governments by way of their influence over economic conditions more generally. In either case, the syllogistic argument runs as follows: if economic actors are motivated by short-term profit gains, and democratic processes are dominated by the interests of this group, then democratic outcomes will reflect  the short-term interests of powerful economic actors and not interests of the public as a whole. The first version of this problem arises because existing democracies are characterized by what Dahl (1956) has termed "polyarchy" and what Lowi (1979) more critically calls "interest group liberalism." In Dahl's version of this system, different groups within society  are relatively equal in terms of influence and voice. In Lowi's version of the system, some groups are more in-fluential than others. Those groups that are well organized and well resourced can dominate democratic processes because they  know their interests well, they can effectively articulate their concerns, and they can mobilize their memberships and resources to actively support or oppose specific policies, parties, or candidates. From a critical perspective, the task of government is 44thus reduced to making actionable agreements or accommodations that have been worked out among leaders of the most powerful interest groups. If these groups have dominant short-term interests, democratic outcomes will tend to reflect those concerns and not the long-term term in-terests of society as a whole. As Paehlke explains:In such a system, the less organized and the unorganized lose ground, particularly in hard economic times. The elderly, the poor, the unemployed, and the ill are grossly underrepresented. So too, of course, are future generations and other species. Furthermore, as Lowi notes, interest group liberal-ism does not allow for moral arguments. Decisions are qualified; disagreements are resolved by splitting the difference. Policies favour the most  organized interest groups, whose members tend to be wealthy and tend to seek concrete, economically self-interested, and immediate gains (Paehlke 1989, 210).Powerful economic actors exercise direct influence over elected governments in part  because candidates and parties face their own short-term economic imperatives. Political parties and can-didates need money to run effective election campaigns and they come to wealthy individuals and groups looking for support. The wealthy, in turn, nurture their own sympathetic candidates, fund campaigns, launch advertising initiatives, and generate media coverage. In return, they ex-pect to have influence over government policy when those they have supported are successfully elected. In a similar version, the wealthy elect  those who share their beliefs and preferences; these office-holders are not 'controlled' because they already align themselves with the wealthy. It is for these reasons that  Duverger (1974) has called the modern state a "pluto-democracy." The government is selected by  the people but controlled by the wealthy. Other critics such as Brown (2001) argue that in "those countries without laws regulating expenditures on campaigns the processes of government itself have become subordinate to market incentives" (104). Brown's concern is the following: if powerful economic actors are primarily concerned about making profits in the short-term, elected governments that rely on the wealthy  for support will not be free to pursue the longer-term interests of society or to act in ways that are, for example, consistent with the principles of good environmental stewardship.   The other version of the powerful economic actors argument has less to do with the direct influence of wealthy groups and more do with the indirect impact of major economic decisions on government policy. Following Lindblom (1982), Dryzek articulates this (now) classic argu-ment about the influence of economic actors in market-based democratic systems: 45Any state operating in the context of such a system is greatly constrained in terms of the kinds of policies it can pursue. Policies that damage business profitability ? or are even perceived as likely to damage that  profitability ? are automatically punished by the recoil of the market. Disinvest-ment here means economic downturn. And such downturn is bad for governments because it both reduces the tax revenue for the schemes those governments want to pursue (such as environmental restoration), and reduces the popularity of the government  in the eyes of the voters. This effect is not a matter of conspiracy or direct corporate influence on government: it  happens automatically, irrespective of anyone's intentions (Dryzek 1995, 15).These economic constraints are becoming increasingly tight as markets become globalized and businesses are free to flee jurisdictions that impose policies that are not in their short-term inter-ests (Dryzek 1995, 15). Elected politicians are particularly sensitive to economic issues because many individuals base their voting decisions on retrospective assessments of economic condi-tions (see, e.g., Erikson et al. 2000; Lewis-Beck 1986). There is no disputing the political influence of powerful economic actors. Nevertheless, there are at  least three reasons this version of the democratic myopia thesis should not be over-stated. First, it applies only to certain types of long-term issues. Second, it applies only to certain types of economic actors. Third, rather than pointing out an inherent flaw in democracy, the powerful economic actors argument describes a political system that is, by most standards, not democratic enough. With respect to the first of these reasons, it is useful to distinguish between policy  options that would concentrate near-term costs on specific economic actors, and those that would distrib-ute the costs of long-term policies more widely. Powerful economic actors will have strong in-centives to oppose policies that concentrate near-term costs on their members. Indeed, many policies that are designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change would impose significant near-term costs on particular businesses and industries. Carbon taxes, for example, would place the heaviest tax burdens on those industries that pollute the most. This may  be justified from a democratic perspective but such policies are likely to meet with considerable opposition from business groups and industry associations. Indeed many of those who have advanced the power-ful economic actors argument do so with precisely  these types of issues in mind (see, e.g., Brown 2001; Dryzek 1995; Ekeli 2005; Paehlke 1989). The argument is not so clearly relevant to other types of issues or policy options, espe-cially  those that would distribute the near-term costs of long-term initiatives more widely. First, 46powerful economic actors will have fewer incentives to actively  oppose policies that have asso-ciated costs that are thinly spread among the population as a whole, and thus place no significant burden on any one group or sector of society. Second, economic actors, like other members of society, may stand to benefit  from certain long-term policies such as those that aim to reduce budget deficits, increase education spending, provide public healthcare, or sustain government pension plans. In each case, rational economic actors may have incentives to actively support ? or at  least not  actively oppose ? these policies if they would help defer some of the costs of do-ing business, such as those related to training, providing medical insurance, or funding corporate pension plans. Of course, as Jacobs (2011) argues, any interest group ? such as a business or industry association ? might actively oppose long-term investments that impose direct costs on them if instead they can win policies that redistribute long-term resources in their favour. In ei-ther case, far from providing businesses with a reason to flee, policies that aim to benefit society over the long-term may be reasons not to flee jurisdictions, especially if the near-term costs of these policies are widely distributed or transferred to others. The argument that, on the whole, profit seeking businesses are short-sighted and will therefore tend to oppose long-term initiatives is too simplistic. Rational economic actors make cost-benefit analyses. If the near-term costs of a policy are higher than the prospective benefits, economic actors will have reason to actively op-pose those initiatives. If the near-term costs are low to negligible, rational economic actors might actively support long-term initiatives even if the prospective benefits are fairly diffuse and tem-porally remote. The second reason it is important  not to overstate the relevance of the powerful economic actors argument has to do with the fact that only certain types of businesses have the power to indirectly affect government policy by consciously shaping economic conditions. While it is true that any individual, group, or business can help support government campaigns and thereby  di-rectly affect (or attempt to influence) government policy, only the largest  economic actors can shape economic conditions more generally. This includes very large employers in diversified economies as well as moderately  sized employers in small economies. Yet even among those businesses or industries with the most economic clout, only a subset are mobile enough to make credible threats that they will flee unfavorable political conditions. Industries that do not require 47heavy  infrastructure investments, such as manufacturers of simple goods or knowledge-based technology firms, may be highly mobile. Companies that have made heavy infrastructure in-vestments and those that rely on existing human or natural resources are likely  to be less mobile. Similarly, although large retailers often wield considerable economic clout, they are not mobile because they cannot take their markets with them ? and leaving a jurisdiction would mean abandoning a market to their competitors. In general, although capital mobility  in a globalized market place can put considerable pressure on governments to create business-friendly environments, the ability of businesses to consciously  shape economic conditions should not be overstated and the autonomy of elected governments should not be understated. Given this, the powerful economic actors argument should not be conceived of as a general argument in defense of the democratic myopia thesis. Instead, this argument should be applied cautiously on a case-by-case basis. The argument is clearly  relevant to those policy initiatives that would concentrate near-term costs on dominant economic actors, especially those that are relatively mobile. The argument is less relevant to those policies that would distribute near-term costs more widely or impose costs on economic actors that are less mobile. The third reason that the powerful economic actors argument should not be conceived of as a general argument in defense of the democratic myopia thesis is that it describes a system that is, by most standards, not democratic enough. Indeed, Brown (2001), Dryzek (1995), Paehlke (1988) and others do not advance the argument as a general critique of the myopic ten-dencies of democracy; instead, they advance it as a critique of most existing democratic systems. A democracy in which some interests dominate others fails to adequately approximate two cen-tral democratic ideals: equality  of voice and equality of influence. If the cause of the democratic myopia problem is the dominance of one group, the corrective is to reduce the influence of that group and increase the influence of others. There are a range of policies, practices, and institutions that can help reduce the influence of powerful economic actors in the democratic arena. First, although the influence of money cannot be neutralized entirely, it can be controlled with stricter election financing laws. The ar-gument that powerful economic actors dominate democratic politics is often made with reference 48to the political system in the United States of America. But the United States is unique in many ways, and in particular with respect to the near absence of election financing laws. Most other developed democratic countries have adopted comparatively strict limits on corporate donations and election spending (e.g., Scarrow 2007). Election financing laws do not help reduce the po-litical influence of economic actors threatening capital flight, but they can help reduce the direct influence that wealthy individuals and groups have over the actions of elected officials during and after elections campaigns. Second, the powerful economic actors argument is focused on electoral politics, but there are, as we saw above, a range of other democratic practices and supplementary institutions that are not subject to the same economic and political imperatives that affect electoral politics. Resistance mechanisms, such as protests, boycotts, and strikes can be used to give voice to those who would otherwise be rendered voiceless in negotiations between dominant groups. As Lowi (1979) argues, pragmatic negotiations between powerful groups typically exclude moral argu-ments ? such as those having to do with the impact of current period decisions on future genera-tions. Resistance mechanisms such as protests are one means of interjecting moral arguments into democratic processes that would otherwise be dominated by pragmatic (and often short-sighted) negotiations between dominant actors. Similarly, citizens' initiatives and referendums are designed to provide individuals and groups with an alternative, extra-electoral, means of influencing public decision-making proc-esses. Although initiatives can be dominated by well financed groups, evidence has shown that this problem is less significant than it is often thought to be (e.g., Lupia and Matsusaka 2004). From a theoretical perspective, these mechanisms are of interest because they  are designed to take electoral calculations out  of the political equation, allowing citizens themselves to make de-cisions directly. As Smith (2001) argues, in certain circumstances initiatives and referendums can be used to advance long-term issues, such as environmental policies and regulations, by circum-venting governments that are (or are thought to be) captured by  specific interests, such as power-ful economic groups with dominant short-term objectives.  Supplementary  institutions such as minipublics (which are small deliberative forums used to discussed specific policy initiatives or proposals) can be used to help  organize otherwise unor-49ganized interests. This is important because constituencies for long-term issues are often difficult to organize around. Long-term issues typically  involve diffuse public benefits that are prospec-tive and thus intangible in the current period. In contrast, the same issues or policy  recommenda-tions will often affect specific groups in identifiable ways in the near-term. It is, as Mancur Ol-son (1965) argues, easier to organize smaller groups to act on their own behalf, than it  is to or-ganize larger groups to act on behalf of a diffuse public interest. Minipublics can help overcome these difficulties because they can be consciously crafted as representative assemblies that  can make credible claims to speak on behalf of the public interest, or on behalf of any  other diffuse and unorganized concerns. The challenge, of course, is to figure out how to integrate minipublics into the larger democratic system such that their recommendations will have some real impact on collective decision-making processes (see, e.g., Goodin and Dryzek 2006). Citizens' initiatives, referendums, and minipublics are discussed in more detail in Chapter 8. At this stage, I want to emphasize the following point: when it comes to explaining why exist-ing democratic systems are often myopic, the powerful economic actors argument forms only one part of a persuasive explanation. Powerful economic actors often have dominant short-term interests and they have the resources and organizational capacities to dominate certain demo-cratic procedures and decision-making processes. This is a problem. But the powerful economic actors argument should not be overgeneralized. First, although influential economic actors often have well defined short-term interests, most also have longer-term interests that will not in every case be inconsistent with the public interest. Given this, economic actors in some cases may  be willing to support policies that are perceived to be consistent with their longer-term interests, es-pecially if these policies do not concentrate near-term costs on their members. Second, economic actors, as a group, do not have a uniform influence on democratic processes. Specific actors or groups may be able to leverage considerable influence over certain democratic decisions, but no actor or set of actors will have economic or political clout in all is-sue areas or over all types of political actors. Only the largest  economic actors can shape eco-nomic conditions more generally, and only  certain types of political actors are likely to be influ-enced by the pressure applied by smaller economic actors. Those who are responsible for spe-cific geographic areas may be highly sensitive to the concerns of the economic actors who oper-50ate in their areas, but government leaders such as presidents or prime ministers are less likely to feel compelled to respond to pressure unless a particular economic actor has the capacity to af-fect economic conditions more generally. There is also a level of organization issue that  has to be considered. Governments may be able to respond to threats of capital flight by coordinating with each other to resist these threats. If there is sufficient organizational capacity  to initiate and main-tain intergovernmental agreements, such agreements would empower elected governments to resist the pressure applied by even the most powerful economic actors. As Bohman (2007) ar-gues, coordination pressures of this sort underscore the need for new theories and institutions of transnational democracy. The fact that  there is no global entity that can help  initiate and maintain intergovernmental agreements aimed at minimizing threats of capital flight says more about the need for transnational democratic institutions and less about the incapacity of democracies, more generally, to resist the political pressure of powerful economic actors. Although certain economic actors can (and do) influence elected governments, there are many scenarios in which elected governments may be able to act on long-term initiatives without fear of economic or electoral repercussions.  Third, although democracies will never be free of the influence of money, there are a range of democratic resources that  can help reduce the influence of powerful economic actors and enhance the voices and influence of others. Election financing laws, protest movements, citi-zens' initiatives, referendums, and other supplementary institutions such as minipublics, are ex-amples of democratic practices and institutions that can be leveraged to enhance the influence of those groups ? including the public as a whole ? that might otherwise be dominated by eco-nomic actors with well defined short-term interests and concerns. It is also worth pointing out that the theoretical assumptions that inform the myopic citi-zen argument and those that underlie the powerful economic actors argument are not compatible with each other. According to the myopic citizen argument democracies neglect the future be-cause they  are responsive to the interests and concerns of short-sighted citizens. According to the powerful economic actors argument, democratic systems are rendered myopic because they are not responsive enough to the concerns of ordinary citizens!512.4 The Complexity ArgumentAnother argument asserts that citizens ? whether they are myopic or not ? are simply  ill-equipped to deal with the complexity  that  pervades most long-term issues. The basic argument here is a Platonic one: most individuals do not know enough about the nature of complex long-term issues to make rational or wise decisions about what needs to be done today in order to avoid long-term problems or disasters. The most extreme proponents of this kind of thinking are the so-called 'eco-authoritarians'. This group includes scholars such as Hardin (1968), Heilbroner (1980), Ophuls and Boyan (1992) and more recently Shearman and Smith (2007). The eco-authoritarians argue that pressing long-term problems such as climate change, nuclear waste, and exponential population growth, can only  be addressed if democratic systems are replaced by technocratic, hierarchical administrative regimes that have both the power and the expertise to implement effective near-term solutions to long-term problems that are both technically and po-litically  complex. Although there are differences in their approaches, these authors generally see democracy  as a luxury  that can only be sustained when natural resources are relatively abundant and social relations are relatively stable. By contrast, they argue that crisis situations, such as re-source depletion and exponential population growth, will require authoritarian governments with far-reaching decisive powers, especially when any potential solutions require radical changes of behaviour over the near-term. As Heilbroner argues: It  is customary to recognize, but  to deplore, the authoritarian tendencies within civil society, espe-cially on the part  of those who, like myself, are the beneficiaries of the freedoms of minimally authority-ridden rule. Yet, candor compels me to suggest that the passage through the gantlet  ahead may be possible only under governments capable of rallying obedience far more effectively than would be possible in a democratic setting (Heilbroner 1980, 130).In Heilbroner's view, authoritarianism is not desirable, per se ? it is, instead, a matter of circum-stance. It  will be forced upon us by circumstances of our own making. Like Heilbroner, Ophuls and Boyan (1992) do not prefer authoritarianism; instead, they believe that individual liberty is a luxury of abundance. Where there is enough left for others, individuals can do as they please without adversely affecting others or future generations. But as natural resources are depleted and the industrial era comes to an end, Ophuls and Boyan believe that extreme resource scarci-ties will justify restrictions on consumption that are more severe (and more decisively enforced) 52than would be appropriate during times of comparative abundance. They worry that democracies are not capable of imposing sufficiently strict restrictions on themselves, primarily because indi-viduals are not well positioned to recognizing and understanding the severity  and complexity of certain long-term problems like climate change or the consequences of resource depletion. Thus the solution that Ophuls and Boyan propose is Platonic the following sense: they envision a soci-ety  that  is controlled and directed by wise (and ideally well-meaning) experts or technocrats who are insulated from the ill-informed opinions, wishes, whims, and short-term concerns of ordinary citizens. As they explain, an ecologically sustainable "steady-state" society mayrequire, if not  a class of ecological guardians, then at  least a class of ecological mandarins who possess the esoteric knowledge needed to run it  well. Whatever its level of material affluence, the steady-state society will not only be ostensibly more authoritarian and less democratic than the in-dustrial society of today...but it  may also be more oligarchic as well, with full participation in the political process restricted to those who possess the ecological and other competencies necessary to make prudent decisions" (Ophuls and Boyan 1992, 215).4It is worth pointing out that there is some overlap between this argument and the myopic citizen argument. Heilbroner (1980), Ophuls and Boyan (1992), and Shearman and Smith (2007) argue that democracy is ill-equipped to effectively deal with long-term problems because individuals tend to be primarily  concerned with their own short-term interests and concerns. What makes the two arguments conceptually distinct  is that while the citizen myopia argument emphasizes cogni-tive biases against the future, the complexity argument asserts that any system which is guided by opinions that are weighted equally  regardless of their content, sophistication, or validity, will be rendered short-sighted on long-term issues that  are beset by complexity. The danger is that in a democracy  the majority of those who will be making decisions will not fully  understand the complexities or urgency  of long-term problems, and will thus be unwilling to make ? or un-aware of the need to make ? the near-term sacrifices that are necessary to effectively  address long-term problems.534 Indeed, Ophuls and Boyan (1992) draw explicit connections between their ideas and Plato's, arguing that the "emerging large, highly developed, complex technological civilization operating at or very near the ecological mar-gin, appears to fit Plato's premises more and more closely, foreshadowing the necessity of rule by a class of Platonic guardians, the 'priesthood of responsible technologists' who alone know how to run the spaceship" (210). This theme is continued in Ophuls' (2011) more recent book Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology and in Shearman and Smith's (2007) book The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy (see, esp.,  chap. 9: 'Plato's Revenge').  The ideas of the eco-authoritarians have been thoroughly critiqued, criticized, and re-jected by ecologically-minded democratic theorists such as Dryzek (e.g., 1987), Eckersely (e.g., 1992), Held and Hervey (2009), Holden (2002), and Paehlke (1988). But  the Platonic arguments that the eco-authoritarians make are theoretically applicable to all issues that are beset  by techni-cal, political, and temporal complexity and not just to those issues that  deal with environmental problems. What is more, although authoritarianism has been widely  rejected as a viable political option, the idea that technocratic hierarchical administrative systems are best suited to deal with complex long-term problems is built  into many  existing institutions such as central banks, envi-ronmental protection agencies, parliamentary budget officers, and auditors general. The justifica-tion for these institutions is that  public policy on complex issues like monetary  supply, environ-mental protection, and government spending, should be supervised by  ? and in some cases led by ? technocrats who are, at least to some extent, insulated from the vicissitudes of the demo-cratic arena, the short-term whims of politicians, and the ignorance of individuals. There are, of course, a number of potential benefits to having centralized, technocratic administrative systems deal with complex long-term issues. First, when dealing with these issues technical expertise will be required and farsighted actions must be based on reasonably well grounded empirical findings if they are to be effective. In addition, as Dryzek (1987) points out, centralized systems are comparatively well-equipped to identify specific goals and to efficiently direct resources towards achieving those goals. That being said, there are a number of assump-tions that  are central to the complexity argument that can be questioned on both practical and theoretical grounds. The argument assumes: 1) that  it is possible for centralized authorities to maintain effective control over complex bureaucracies and large populations; 2) that experts have the knowledge that  is required to effectively  address complex long-term problems, and that these experts can be easily identified; 3) that technical knowledge is the only sort  of knowledge that is required to make competent long-term decisions; and 4) that hierarchical bureaucratic sys-tems can effectively respond to feedback, changing circumstances, and unforeseen contingen-cies.  With respect to the first of these assumptions, Heilbroner (1980), Ophuls and Boyan (1992), and others who adopt a similar approach, tend to leave the nature of leadership in both 54democratic and bureaucratic systems theoretically underdeveloped. They draw a contrast be-tween democratic systems, which in their accounts are controlled by ill-informed citizens, and administrative ones, which in their accounts are controlled by  knowledgeable technocrats. Both of these assumptions fall somewhat short of reality. Democratic systems are designed to be re-sponsive to the concerns of citizens, but they are not exclusively directed by the prevailing whims of the public. Effective democratic leaders, who are often quite knowledgeable on com-plex issues, can help  direct the public's attention towards (or away from) specific issues or con-cerns. More importantly, technical experts have roles to play within a democratic system that do not, in every instance, conflict with the democratic character of the system. Experts can provide technical input on complex issues, and politicians and citizens alike can make competent judge-ments of expert opinions without  being experts themselves (Moore 2011). These interactions make it possible for democratic decisions to be informed by the knowledge of experts without requiring all those who make decisions to have substantive expertise in each relevant field. With respect to the other side of the equation, it  cannot be assumed that the leadership in an administrative hierarchy will have effective control over the system, especially in systems that have many levels of bureaucracy and those that aim to manage large populations. As Dryzek (1987) points out, complex implementation chains, and conflicting interests between agencies and between other actors (including citizens), make non-compliance and system failure more likely as the size and complexity of the organization grows. In complex administrative systems, subordinates (including citizens) will always have opportunities to engage in (small or large) acts of defiance, non-compliance, subterfuge, or resistance.5 These dynamics make undemocratic hi-erarchical structures less effective at managing complex systems and large populations than is typically assumed by the eco-authoritarians and other advocates of technocratic governance. The problem is that most participants most of the time must be relied on to follow the rules on their own initiative because active enforcement and effective control is much less efficient than con-sent and coordination that is based on reasoned justification and understanding (e.g., Habermas 555 Although the right to engage in such acts is normally associated with a democratic system, the opportunity to en-gage in such acts is, of course, not limited to democratic systems. This is a point that Machiavelli strives to make in most of his writings but in particular in his Discourses on Livy. It is also a point that is well demonstrated by recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,  and other formerly authoritarian states that have been toppled by popular move-ments. 1996). Given this, complex systems, if they are to be effective and efficient, require mechanisms that channel concerns, interests, and expectations upward through the ranks of the system (from bottom to top), in addition to mechanisms that effectively  channel explanations and justifications down through the system (from top to bottom), in order to ensure that most of the time coercive enforcement is not required. Unlike hierarchical technocratic systems, democratic systems ? especially those that are robustly deliberative ? are designed to provide and preserve the chan-nels of communication that make consensual (and therefore efficient) social coordination possi-ble. The eco-authoritarians also assume that technical experts have all the knowledge that is required to effectively  address complex long-term issues, and that these experts can be easily identified. These circumstances do not always prevail. As scholars of Science & Technology Studies have demonstrated, formal technical expertise is often insufficient when it comes to mak-ing good public policy on technically  complex issues. The classic demonstration of this is Brian Wynne's (1989, 1996) account of the Cumbrian sheep farmers. In this case study, sheep farmers in the the north-west of England were subject to administrative restrictions on the movement and sale of their sheep because of concerns about contaminated soils thought to be caused by the ra-dioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Wynne demonstrates that, although the scientists had technical expertise, they did not possess the necessary  contextual knowledge to conduct effective experiments or to design appropriate public policies. The scientists, for exam-ple, did not have enough knowledge of local soil conditions. Their initial advice to farmers was that contaminants would simply  seep  into the soil allowing fresh uncontaminated grass to grow. This assumption later proved to be incorrect. Likewise, randomized experiments conducted by scientists which involved fencing in sheep were eventually abandoned because the sheep did not thrive in those conditions ? something that the farmers predicted and warned the scientists of beforehand. Wynne argues that at least in this case, the knowledge of lay  experts (i.e. the sheep farmers) would have helped improve the experiments and policy  recommendations of the techni-cal experts (i.e. the scientists). But  for both structural and cultural reasons, the bureaucracy was ill-equipped to recognize and incorporate the knowledge of local farmers into their decision-56making processes. As a result, the scientists' experiments failed and their policy recommenda-tions proved to be inappropriate. Hierarchical bureaucracies are not incapable of processing input from a range of different types of experts. This is not the problem. Instead, the problem lies in the fact  that there are no mechanisms within these systems that are designed to make use of non-formal expertise or input from individuals and groups that have not been identified as experts by the bureaucracies them-selves. Wynne's case study  demonstrates that channels of communication running in both direc-tions ? from bottom-to-top and from top-to-bottom ? are likely  required to effectively manage issues that are technically and temporally complex. Unlike hierarchical bureaucracies which are structurally  ill-equipped and often culturally resistant, democratic systems are designed to ensure that such channels of communication remain open.  The third assumption that is made by advocates of the complexity argument is that tech-nical expertise is the only type of expertise that is relevant and required to make sensible deci-sions on temporally complex issues. But this is not the case. In addition to being technically complex, issues such as climate change, nuclear energy, and budget deficits are also socially, ethically, and often culturally  complex. In order to effectively manage issues that are complex in all of these ways it is useful to address them not only at a technical level by  tapping relevant ex-pertise, but also on a political level by taking into account the concerns, interests, and expecta-tions of those who will be affected. This is more than a normative stipulation; it is a practical concern and a political imperative because, as argued above, it  cannot be assumed that those at the apex of a hierarchical administrative system will have effective control over the actions of participants within the system. Technically  wise solutions that are socially, culturally, or ethically unacceptable to those who are or will be affected, will not be politically viable over the long-term. Far from being part of the problem, democracy is a potentially effective means of obtaining genuine information about the concerns, interests, and expectations of those who will be af-fected. If policy stipulations, especially  those that involve behavioral restrictions or significant near-term costs, are to be conceived of as normatively legitimate, these policies and their justifi-cations should be forged, sustained, and continually reforged in on-going processes of collective 57decision-making that  are sensitive to the technical, social, ethical, cultural, and political dimen-sions of complex long-term issues. It is possible to obtain useful democratic input on issues that are beset by technical com-plexity, even though the average citizen cannot be expected to possess the relevant expertise. What is needed is for (some) individuals to learn enough to make competent judgements about how the technical dimensions of an issue are likely to intersect with their own concerns. On high-profile issues such as climate change, extensive public discussions and debates have helped familiarize many citizens with the technical dimensions of this issue. Few have become climate change experts but many now know enough to make competent judgements about how proposed solutions (such as gas taxes or carbon emissions regulations) are likely to intersect with their own social, cultural, or economic concerns (e.g., Krosnick et al. 2006). Insofar as this is the case, it will be possible to obtain meaningful democratic input on technically complex issues like cli-mate change. This input may not be useful from a technical perspective but from a political per-spective it  may  be indispensable. If, for example, there are persistent disagreements between what technical experts believe is necessary and what  citizens (or some groups of citizens) say they  want, democratic input makes it  possible to anticipate these concerns and to justify (or at-tempt to justify) decisions that might otherwise be seen as politically, socially, economically, or culturally unacceptable. It is also possible to obtain democratic input on technically complex issues that have not been widely discussed and debated in the public sphere. Minipublics, for example, have been used to obtain informed public input  on a range of issues that most citizens do not know a lot about (e.g., MacKenzie and O'Doherty  2011). Minipublics are useful in this capacity because they  provide 'uninitiated' individuals with the resources that are required to learn about the tech-nical aspects of a small number of specific issues. They also provide individuals with an oppor-tunity to deliberate the political, social, cultural, or ethical dimensions of those issues with others who might disagree. A number of case studies have shown that participants in minipublics are capable of competently deliberating the political aspects of technical issues such as public energy utilities (Fishkin 1995), electoral system reform (Blais et al. 2008; Fournier et al. 2011), the banking of human tissues for research purposes (Burgess and O'Doherty  2009), mandatory 58minimum sentencing laws (Gastil and Knobloch 2011), and the bioremediation of soil contami-nation (O'Doherty  et al. 2013). In each of these cases, minipublics were used to provide govern-ments, bureaucratic agencies, and other citizens with some insight into the political dimensions of technically  complex issues that had not been discussed extensively  in the public sphere. The democratic inputs that minipublics provide can, in turn, be used to help  craft public policies that more effectively anticipate relevant concerns, avoid potential political hotspots, and thereby help maintain the public trust over the long-term (MacKenzie and Warren 2012). The fourth assumption that is made by advocates of the complexity argument is that tech-nocratic systems are flexible enough to respond to feedback, changing circumstances, and un-foreseen contingencies. Such flexibility  is critically important because long-term issues that are beset by complexity are also beset by uncertainty. In response to these arguments, Dryzek (1987) argues that undemocratic administrative systems are not well positioned to respond to feedback, and this makes them less effective at responding to changing circumstances or unforeseen con-tingencies. He argues that, although free to respond in any  way to any contingency, those at the apex of a hierarchical system have few incentives to learn from their mistakes but strong incen-tives to deny failures when these occur. When it comes to complex long-term issues, failures and mistakes are not only possible they are probable, and they become more likely to occur as we look further into the future and as levels of complexity increase. Dryzek points out that  if failure is not an acceptable mode of learning, a system will be-come too rigid to effectively deal with contingencies and changing circumstances. Of course, the leadership in any system ? whether technocratic or democratic ? may be inclined to deny fail-ure, to avoid blame, or to transfer responsibility for bad decisions to others. The difference be-tween undemocratic hierarchies and democratic systems is that  in the former there are no formal mechanisms to force those in leadership positions to respond to feedback from within the system, to consider input from the affected, or to replace those who are unresponsive to changing cir-cumstances. Following Kenneth Boulding (1966), Dryzek (1987) points out that an undemocratic hierarchy "can be described as a series of wastepaper baskets in which most useful information ends up. The more levels in the hierarchy, the more likely it is that  individuals in its upper levels will be operating in a purely  imaginary  world" (102). By contrast, effective democracies have 59feedback and accountability  capacities built  into the formal structures of the system. As argued above, this design helps reduce the cognitive burdens placed on any one individual or group of experts; but it also helps ensure that democratic systems are capable of responding to mistakes, changing expectations, emerging concerns, unforeseen contingencies, and the evolution of the body politic itself. It might be objected that the features that make democracies good at responding to changes, contingencies, and mistakes are the same features that threaten to render democracies myopic. The mechanisms that are designed to make leaders responsive and to keep  them ac-countable ? regular elections, term limits, recall provisions, government transparency, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly  ? help  create the short political generations that make far-sighted action difficult and more uncertain. Furthermore, as we saw above, legitimate democratic decisions are always provisional and can thus be challenged or changed at any moment in time. These dynamics are real and should not be dismissed: democracies are designed to be responsive to the immediate concerns of current publics. What is less often emphasized is that effective democratic systems also have features that can help support policy consistency. In democratic systems where there are clear channels of communication and influence running in both direc-tions ? from top-to-bottom and from bottom-to-top ? political leaders have an obligation to provide normative justifications for the policy decisions that they make. This is a form of ac-countability that is most closely  associated with deliberative models of democracy. As Chambers explains, according to deliberative theory, a   legitimate political order is one that  could be justified to all those living under its laws. Thus, ac-countability is primarily understood in terms of ?giving an account? of something, that  is, publicly articulating, explaining, and most importantly justifying public policy. Consent  (and, of course, voting) does not  disappear. Rather, it is given a more complex and richer interpretation in the delib-erative model than in the aggregative model (Chambers 2003, 308).This mode of accountability  can help  promote policy  stability over the long-term because it re-quires each successive generation of political leaders to articulate, explain, and justify any  sig-nificant changes to the existing course of collective actions. It will be difficult for democratic leaders to change direction if: 1) there are effective channels of accountability; 2) existing poli-cies are seen as legitimate and have been collectively  sanctioned by those affected; and 3) those 60affected have already paid some of the costs associated with prospective long-term benefits. In these circumstances, communicative modes of accountability  should help encourage policy sta-bility both prospectively and retrospectively. Prospectively, democratic leaders will be encour-aged to think twice before making policy changes that  might not be acceptable to those who have, in the past, supported particular long-term initiatives. Retrospectively, democratic leaders who make changes that are not acceptable can be rejected and replaced by those who are willing to continue to pursue previously agreed upon long-term objectives. The ability of a democratic system to continue along a planned course of action that  a majority supports (and is perhaps al-ready  invested in) is a feature of democracy that is often disparaged by those who desire radical change, but it  is also a feature of democracy that should be celebrated by those who support far-sighted initiatives that require long-term policy consistency to succeed. Democratic systems are both supple and stable. They are supple because they  are designed to respond to mistakes, chang-ing expectations, emerging concerns, unforeseen contingencies, and the evolution of the body politic itself. At the same time, they  are stable because effective democracies prevent political leaders from making arbitrary  or self-serving changes of direction without the support of those who are (or will be) affected. Given these observations, it should now be clear that the platonic argument that complex long-term problems are best dealt  with by those who have both the technical knowledge to iden-tify  effective long-term solutions, and the political authority to impose their solutions on other-wise unwilling populations is theoretically underdeveloped. With respect to the need for well-grounded technical knowledge, effective democratic systems, unlike technocracies, are designed to process and incorporate diverse forms of knowledge and information from all parts of the sys-tem. With respect to the need for political authority, undemocratic forms of authority are often more brittle and ineffective than those forms of authority that are sanctioned and justified through on-going democratic or deliberative processes (Warren 1996). Similarly, long-term pol-icy  initiatives, especially those that involve significant near-term costs or specific behavioral constraints, are more likely to be viable over the long-term if they are both technically sound and normatively acceptable to those who are (or will be) affected. When compared to technocratic systems, democracies are thus not only more likely to produce solutions to complex long-term 61problems that are technically  viable, they  are also more likely to produce solutions that are po-litically viable over the long-term. 2.5 The Non-Presence of Future Persons ArgumentThe premise of this argument is the following: democracies are biased against the interests of the future because although they are designed to be responsive to the concerns of those affected, un-born individuals who will be affected by  our decisions cannot actively participate in our decision-making processes today. This is a problem that all decision-making systems must face, but it poses a special challenge for democracy. If democracy is based on the idea that the system will be responsive to the interests and concerns of all those affected, democracies are rendered illegitimate on their own terms because the 'silent  majority' of unborn individuals can never ex-ercise their fair share of influence over current period decisions. This argument is outlined by Tremmel in the following quote:If only [those] future individuals, who are born in the next 200 years, could vote on energy policies, this would create a huge majority which would facilitate a quick shift to renewable sources of en-ergy. If only these future individuals could vote on financial policy, public debt  would be signifi-cantly lower than today. This fundamental dilemma of democracy leads to a preference for the pre-sent and to oblivion with regard to the future (Tremmel 2006, 189).This is a powerful argument because it is based on an ontological fact: future generations that do not yet exist cannot be included in decision-making processes today. Furthermore, democracy's conventional solution to the problem of exclusion ? the expansion of the franchise ? is not an option in this case. As Thompson (2010) explains, "making democracy more inclusive ? ex-panding citizenship and enhancing representation ? would not help  future citizens. They  do not have a voice because they cannot be citizens now" (18). Given the fundamental nature of this problem, it is one of the more persuasive arguments for why democracies are likely to remain biased against the interests of the future. Those who will be affected in the short-term have con-siderable political influence but the vast numbers of those who will be affected in the future have none. Despite the fundamental nature of this problem, there are two reasons why the theoretical importance of the non-presence of future persons argument should not be overstated. First, the 62argument is relevant to only certain types of issues. Second, it relies on an aggregative model of democracy  that: a) places emphasis on majority rule to the exclusion of other legitimizing demo-cratic practices; and b) assumes that individuals have fixed short-term interests and therefore cannot (or will not) look past their own temporal horizons. With respect to the first  of these two reasons, the non-presence of future persons argu-ment is only relevant to those issues that  involve relations between non-overlapping generations of political actors; it is not relevant to those issues that primarily involve relations between con-temporaries from different generations. Although it can be difficult to classify  individual issues in this way, it is useful to make distinctions between issues that primarily involve relations be-tween non-overlapping generations and those that involve relations between overlapping genera-tions. As explained in the previous chapter, these two types of long-term issues involve very dif-ferent political dynamics. When it comes to long-term issues that involve relations between non-overlapping generations, those who will be affected in the future cannot be included in decision-making processes today. The situation is different when it comes to those issues that involve rela-tions between contemporaries from different generations. While democracy may be biased against the interests of those who do not yet exist, there is no fundamental reason why it cannot be made more inclusive and responsive to the interests of younger generations that will continue to be affected by today's decisions in 45, 50, or even 60 years. Many advocates of the non-presence of future persons argument fail to make this conceptual distinction. In the statement quoted above, Tremmel (2006) applies the non-presence of future per-sons argument to two different issues: energy  policy and budget deficits. The first can be thought of as an issue that primarily involves relations between non-overlapping generations if the most significant negative effects of our current energy policies are not likely to be manifest for more than 100 years ? or long after those who are currently making decisions have died. If, however, the negative impacts of our energy policies are likely to become manifest over the next few dec-ades, and thus significantly affect the future-selves of members of younger generations, the non-presence of future persons argument does not apply. In this case, some of those who will be af-fected in the future might indeed be able to influence collective decision-making processes today.63 Tremmel's other example, fiscal policy, is easier to classify: it is an issue that involves relations between overlapping generations. Deficits are, by  nature, cumulative: younger genera-tions will be affected by  accumulated debts more than members of older generations. But public debts are likely to be burdensome over the course of decades, not over the course of hundreds of years. It may be reasonable to assume that members of younger generations will be burdened by today's public debts for 30, 40, 50, or even 60 years. It is much harder to say whether those who will be living 100 or 200 years from now will be directly (and negatively) affected by today's profligate spending.6 In general, when political issues primarily involve relations between over-lapping generations, many (if not most) of those who will be affected in the future can be effec-tively included in decision-making processes today. Of course, Tremmel's primary concern is the following: all those who will be affected in the future make up an overall majority but they  do not make up a majority of those who exercise political influence today. If this is the case, he argues, democracies will tend to be short-sighted because those who are voting today will be free to ignore the concerns and interests of the future when making collective decisions. This is a persuasive argument from a normative perspective: it is not right that future majorities should be dominated by current majorities that represent only a minority of those who will be affected. From a practical perspective, what matters is whether the current majority itself is likely to be affected in the future by its own decisions, and therefore in-centivized (or not) to consider the effects of its decisions on the future. On issues that  involve relations between non-overlapping generations, current majorities will not be affected by their own decisions; on issues that involve relations between overlapping generations, most of those who will be affected in the future already  exist  today and might be more effectively included in decision-making processes. This is the difference.  Thus the first reason that the theoretical importance of the non-presence of future persons argument should not be overstated is that it is only applicable to certain types of long-term is-sues. It is clearly  applicable to those issues that involve relations between non-overlapping gen-646 Gosseries (2007), for example, points out that "most IMF [International Monetary Fund] loans must be repaid within five years and most World Bank loans are expected to be repaid within twenty years?" (109). Where this is the case, public debt can hardly be considered an intergenerational issue. Nevertheless, Gosseries also points out that many loans are taken out simply to pay the interest on debts incurred in the past, and few countries or jurisdictions pay off their debts within the course of one natural generation, much less one political generation.   erations of political actors, but it is less relevant to those issues that involve relations between overlapping generations or those issues that are likely  to significantly affect the future-selves of members of today's younger generations. The second reason that the theoretical importance of this argument should not be over-stated is that it presents a relatively restricted account of democratic theory  and practice. Tremmel's version of the argument posits an aggregative model of democracy in which the exist-ing views of the majority unproblematically determine collective outcomes. This is a fairly common view of democracy but it  is not an entirely adequate one. As explained earlier in this chapter, effective democratic systems are made up  of many overlapping parts, practices, institu-tions, and mechanisms. In effective democratic systems, minorities (such as younger people) will have opportunities to attempt to persuade the majority to take their concerns seriously. Minority voices can influence political agendas by  engaging in interest group politics, launching media campaigns, bringing forward court  challenges, forming political parties, or initiating protest movements. In complex democratic systems, minority concerns can influence collective decision-making processes. Of course, only those who are alive can participate in decision-making processes today ? Tremmel is right about that ? but the fact that the future cannot be actively included does not mean that their interests cannot be anticipated, considered, protected, and represented in various ways in our democratic processes. Democratic outcomes are not sim-ply aggregations of existing opinions, but Tremmel's version of the non-presence of future per-sons argument relies on a model of democracy in which only existing majorities effectively (and unproblematically) determine collective outcomes.    Relatedly, Tremmel's argument relies on a model of democracy in which political actors maintain fixed (and usually self-interested) positions and are thus unwilling to look past their own limited temporal horizons. The argument that democracy is structurally myopic because a majority  of those who will be affected in the future cannot vote, assumes that those who are vot-ing today are unconcerned with the effects of their decisions on the future. While this is undoubt-edly  true of some individuals this claim should not be generalized to all individuals all of the time. As pointed out above, while there is some evidence that  individuals have modestly  positive time preferences, there is not much evidence to support the claim that individuals are only  con-65cerned about their present-selves (see, e.g., Frederick et al. 2002; Jacobs and Matthews 2012). We also care about our own future wellbeing, and most of us possess lifetime-transcending inter-ests and concerns of one type or another (see, e.g., Partridge 1981; Thompson 2009). We care about our family and our friends, our country, our cultural heritage, our reputations, or about ideas or principles that we believe should persist into the future. These are just a few examples of lifetime-transcending interests. These and a range of others routinely affected the interests and motivations of present period political actors. Indeed, something like a theory of lifetime-transcending interests would seem to be required to explain why some individuals are willing to bear the short-term costs of long-term initiatives that they are personally  unlikely to benefit from in the future. If democratic processes can help shape the short-term interests and concerns of individu-als, these same processes and practices might also effectively encourage longer-term thinking under certain conditions. The remainder of this dissertation explores a number of conditions, mechanisms, practices, and institutions that can help encourage longer-term thinking and under-write farsighted collective actions in democratic systems. Briefly, I argue that effective demo-cratic systems can help situate individuals ? even those who very  much see themselves as indi-viduals ? into collective entities that will persist longer in time than any one of their individual parts. By giving individuals a meaningful role to play in making collective decisions, effective democracies also make it  possible for individuals to take ownership of collective commitments to the future, and to take some share of responsibility for the consequences of collective actions. Furthermore, any democratic practices that helps transform particularistic claims into generalized ones will also help  encourage longer-term thinking when the temporal complexities of long-term issues are made explicit. The claim that democratic practices can help  transform particularistic claims into generalized ones is not new, but the temporal dimensions of this process are not often recognized. I argue that any  democratic practice that helps participants understand the concerns of relevant 'others' will also help extend their perspectives to include the potential concerns of future-others when the temporal complexities of long-term issues are recognized and made ex-plicit. More specifically, democratic goods such as inclusion and deliberation, as well as mean-ingful practices of (and assumptions about) citizenship  or membership within the democratic 66polity, can help encourage present period actors to think about, and to take seriously, the impacts that their decisions will have on both the near and far future. Although the non-presence of future persons argument presents a fundamental dilemma ? that is, those who will be affected in the future cannot actively participate in decision-making processes today ? democracy itself can play a role in helping to make current  publics more sen-sitive to the potential needs and concerns of future publics. The idea that current majorities have fixed short-term interests and will tend to vote against the future when given the opportunity  to do so, is based on an aggregative, majoritarian model of democracy that ignores a lot  of what democracy  itself has to offer. Democracy is not just a system for registering views and prefer-ences, it is also a means of shaping preferences and changing expectations. Effective democratic systems can help extend the time horizons of individuals and thereby make political actors more sensitive to the potential impacts of today's decisions on future generations even though future generations cannot be included in decision-making processes today.ConclusionAre democratic systems short-sighted? Many scholars have argued that democracies are unable to effectively address long-term issues because of the political dynamics of short electoral cycles, the myopic views of individual voters, the influence of powerful economic actors with dominant short-term interests, the complexity  and uncertainty associated with long-term planning, and the fact that  those who will be affected in the future have no influence over today's decisions. This chapter argues that while each of these arguments is persuasive when applied to certain models of democracy or to specific types of long-term issues, these five arguments, separately or to-gether, cannot support the more general claim that democracies are by nature short-sighted. Although the five arguments examined in this chapter are often conflated, I have argued that each is conceptually distinct from the others and should be judged on its own terms. Far from working in conjunction with each other to support the democratic myopia thesis, many of these arguments work at cross-purposes to each other. The short electoral cycles argument as-sumes that elected politicians are the most influential political actors. The myopic citizen argu-ment assumes that voters have all the power. The powerful economic actors argument claims that 67citizens and politicians do not have the political clout that is needed to effectively challenge the short-term interests of those who dominate the economic sphere. In contrast, advocates of the complexity argument and the non-presence of future persons argument worry  that current publics have too much power, and that they are likely to make bad choices because they do not under-stand or appreciate the impacts that today's decisions will have on future generations. These dif-ferences cannot be reconciled and each of these arguments should therefore be treated as concep-tually distinct versions of the democratic myopia thesis. When these arguments are addressed separately, no single one can be used to make a per-suasive argument that democratic systems are by nature short-sighted. Each argument relies on a relatively narrow conception of what makes a system democratic. The short electoral cycles ar-gument emphasizes electoral dynamics and institutions to the exclusion of other democratic prac-tices such as interest group  politics, court systems, participatory institutions, and mass protest. The powerful economic actors argument emphasizes the influence that money has on election campaigns and politicians. Standard accounts of this argument downplay the efficacy of laws designed to mitigate the political influence of economic actors, as well as the relevance and vari-ety  of existing democratic practices and institutions that are not influenced by money in the same ways ? or to the same extent  ? as electoral processes. The myopic citizen argument, the com-plexity argument, and the non-presence of future persons argument each assume that the prefer-ences, expectations, and opinions of citizens are fixed, myopic, and unaffected by  the democratic process itself. In contrast, when democracy is viewed as a multifaceted system made up of various complementary  and contrasting practices and institutions, the prospects for long-term thinking and effective farsighted action do not look so bleak. From a systems-level perspective, while some democratic practices and institutions encourage short-term thinking and reward myopic behaviour, other practices and institutions encourage and reward longer-term thinking and far-sighted action. The reasons for myopia that derive from a lack of attention to the long-term con-sequences of present period actions may  be particularly  amenable to deliberative solutions. By helping to transform particularistic claims or perspectives into other-regarding ones, deliberative practices can help make the interests and concerns of future-others more salient when the tempo-68ral dimensions of long-term issues are made explicit. The challenge is to figure out how each of the parts of a democratic system might be fitted together to produce democratic outcomes that are not biased against the future. This dissertation takes up this challenge, and in doing so strives to turn the democratic myopia thesis on its head. Instead of focusing on those aspects of a demo-cratic system that nurture myopia and reward short-term actions, I explore some of the ways that democratic systems can help  form and sustain democratic polities that are capable of acting over the long-term.69Chapter 3Political Theories of Intergenerational Relations:Time and CollectivitiesIntroductionThe previous chapter dealt with the question of whether or not democratic systems are short-sighted. In that discussion, I drew a distinction between long-term issues that are likely to in-volve our future-selves and those that are not likely to involve our future-selves or the future-selves of those we know and care about today. Given that very long-term issues such as climate change or the storage of nuclear waste are not likely  to affect our future-selves, what motivations are there to act in future-oriented ways on these issues? Why should we pay near-term costs to benefit distant generations and individuals that we will not (and cannot) ever know? Some have argued that  these issues raise questions of ethics and that  we should therefore look to theories of intergenerational justice to justify and motivate farsighted action on very long-term issues. Theo-ries of intergenerational justice will be discussed in the next chapter. This chapter adopts a politi-cal theory approach to understanding intergenerational relations.  From the perspective of the political theorist, intergenerational issues raise difficult (but familiar) questions about the tension between the individual and the collectivity. This tension arises in the context of intergenerational relations because there is a relationship  between think-ing collectively  and acting temporally. Many political theorists who have dealt with issues of in-tergenerational relations have observed that it is difficult  to make sense of the individual in time without thinking about how the individual is situated in a collectivity (of one type or another) that will last (or has lasted) longer than any one of its individual members (see, e.g., Ball 2000; 70Miller 2007, chap. 6; Thompson 2002). These observations raise questions about the status of individuals within intergenerational collective entities. They also raise questions about whether political theories that treat the individual as the primary unit of analysis are capable of motivat-ing longer-term thinking or making sense of intertemporal relations. The tension between the in-dividual and the collectivity  has played itself out in two contrasting conceptions of the nature of relations between non-overlapping generations of political actors. I will call these two contrast-ing conceptions connectionism and disconnectionism. From a connectionist perspective, political relations and obligations between generations simply  befall us: these relations are not matters of consent, they are instead matters of circum-stance. Individuals are firmly situated in time: we are the products of our past and our identities (as individuals and as groups) can be made sense of only in relation to our connections to the past and to the future. From this perspective we are obliged to pay the debts of our forefathers because we are members of the same collective entity. We are motivated to think about the future because we recognize ourselves as committed (in one way  or another) to other members of the collectivity, including future members.  From a disconnectionist perspective, individuals are autonomous entities and thus sepa-rated (in certain respects) from their contemporaries and disconnected (in a profound sense) from other generations. According to this perspective, any  political relations that might exist between generations must be based on the consent of living individuals and thus forged and reforged (or not) at each moment of time. Intergenerational relations, associations, connections, or obligations do not simply befall us; instead, they must be actively maintained (or consciously abandoned) by each generation of political actors. From this point of view, each generation is composed of indi-viduals who are politically autonomous with respect to each other and with respect to their past. They  can do as they  want within their own inherited environments. They can maintain connec-tions to their past or they can break from the past and chart their own directions. From a discon-nectionist perspective, individuals are (and should be) free to think about the future or focus their attention on short-term concerns. From a disconnectionist position, the chief failing of the connectionist approach is the idea that there might  be an intergenerational partnership that is not based on the consent of the 71individuals who are ostensibly involved in the partnership. From a connectionist position, the chief failing of the disconnectionist approach is that it  threatens to rip the individual from his or her situated context. According to the disconnectionists, individuals are not historically grounded or situated: they are simply free floating in time. This conception of the individual undermines any motivation that we might have to think and act in future-oriented ways. This is a particular problem in the current period because we now know that  humanity  has the power to profoundly affect, or even destroy  the future: it is no longer good enough (philosophically, morally, or politi-cally) to bury our heads in our own immediate concerns. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the extent to which these two viewpoints ? connectionism and disconnectionism ? reflect contrasting, but nevertheless useful, contributions to a fuller understanding of the nature of political relations between generations. In general agreement with the disconnectionists, I argue that generations of individuals are (and should be) free to make their own decisions within their own inherited environments. In general agreement with the connectionists, I argue that there is a relationship between thinking collectively and act-ing temporally, and the individual ? if conceived of as independent from her generational em-beddedness ? will have few reasons to think past her own limited temporal horizons. In this chapter, and in subsequent chapters, I argue that democracy can help resolve the tension between connectionism and disconnectionism. Democracy can help situate morally  autonomous individu-als into meaningful intergenerational collective entities. Democratic entities not only  affect  the future through the decisions that they make, but they  are also actively shaped by  the individuals who make them up at any one moment in time. Democratic systems are purpose-built to provide individuals with some measure of control over the direction of the collectivity itself.  In this chapter, and in the next, I lay the philosophical groundwork for the claim that there is a relationship  between thinking collectively and acting temporally: that we cannot make sense of the individual in time without thinking about how the individual is situated in an inter-generational collective entity of one type or another. The first section of the chapter outlines the connectionist approach. The second section outlines the disconnectionist approach. The third sec-tion explores the tensions between these two approaches and argues that each provides one part of a fuller description of the nature of intergenerational relations. Near the end of the chapter, I briefly explain why I believe democracy can help meaningfully situate the individual in time. 723.1 ConnectionismEdmund Burke is the archetype of what I am calling a connectionist thinker. He gives us an ac-count of the nature of political relations between generations in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, which was first published in 1790. The urgent tone of the book underscores his con-cern that the revolution in France (which he rightly predicted would not achieve its own objec-tives) was in danger of spreading political instability to other European nations including Eng-land. Burke's primary concern was not that the revolution in France was against the 'natural order of things', nor did he believe that it  is always illegitimate for a society to rebel against its rulers. Burke was a supporter of the 1688 revolution in England and the 1776 revolution in America. Instead, Burke opposed the French revolution because he saw it as an attempt to rupture the in-tergenerational partnership that he believed was necessary to maintain a good society. The revo-lutionaries in France were trying to break from the past. They  attempted to build an entirely new society from scratch, a society with a different social order, a new political system, new free-doms for citizens, a secular state, a new calendar, and ? what worried Burke the most ? the consolidation of the three estates (the clergy, the aristocracy, and the common people) into the Estates-General. This new society would be built by one generation of leaders and it would be predicated on the consent of individuals. This was an affront to Burke's view of society as a complex, intergenerational collectivity with an essence and value that is larger ? and more per-manent ? than any one of its individual parts. Burke's views on these matters are expressed in the following quote:Our political system is placed in a just  correspondence and symmetry with the order of the world, and with the mode of existence decreed to a permanent body composed of transitory parts; wherein by the disposition of stupendous wisdom, moulding together the great  mysterious incorporation of the human race, the whole, at one time, is never old, or middle-aged, or young, but in a condition of unchangeable consistency, moves on through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, and progress (Burke 1790, 120).It is worth unpacking this quote because it contains a near complete account of what I am calling connectionism. Notice first that Burke employs the metaphor of the body or the body politic to illustrate the nature of relations between generations. This is a "permanent body" at the highest level of abstraction which at  the lowest level is made up of "transitory parts." This is the image 73of any  organic body ? an animal, a person, or a plant ? that has a holistic essence that is worth more than the sum of its parts. The body politic, in Burke's account, keeps living (forever) and its essence remains even as the shell of the body changes as individual cells die and regenerate. From this perspective, it  is impossible or meaningless to conceptualize individuals independently from the role that they have to play in the larger body politic ? just as it is impossible to concep-tualize the role of a cell outside of the body  that it (briefly) supports. The body  politic is a tempo-rally enduring "incorporation" of individuals that is, on the whole, ageless. This organic body strikes a curious (yet familiar) balance between consistency and immortality  on the one hand and, on the other hand, periodic cyclical rhythms of progress and decay. As a whole, the eternal body politic is a "great  mysterious" entity which cannot be fully  comprehended by  any one member or by any single generation of individuals. Notice second that Burke associates the existing political world with a Platonic account of justice as symmetry or balance. There is a place for everyone and justice consists of everyone being in (and recognizing) his or her own place. In Burke's account there is a sense of justice or correctness in the symmetry that is observed between generations: the symmetry that is exempli-fied when the current generation recognizes that it is in partnership  with the past and with the future. Burke, sees this as the "order of the world" but it is important to emphasize that he does not view this symmetry as natural or immutable. The symmetry  that is observed in relations be-tween the past, the present, and the future ? the just order of things ? can and might be under-mined by the hubris of humanity. Burke was worried about the possible implications of the French Revolution because he saw it as a threat to the foundations of a just, symmetrical inter-generational partnership  ? a partnership built on foundations that could be undermined and thus lost forever by the ill-advised actions of a single generation (see, e.g., Mosher 1991). Notice, as well, that the phrase "stupendous wisdom" has multiple related meanings. First and foremost, the wisdom of the ages is "stupendous" in the sense of being so great as to be ren-dered inaccessible to any single member or generation of the body politic. Individuals cannot assume to know the purpose or "mysterious" nature of this great intergenerational partnership from their own limited temporal perspectives. But this is not all that Burke means to convey by the use of this phrase. His argument is also a variant of the 'wisdom of the many' argument. In 74this case, "stupendous wisdom" is embodied in the structures of society that have been inherited from the past. These practices and institutions must be respected, if not preserved, because they represent the cumulative and distilled wisdom of many generations of political actors. The cur-rent period, no matter how astute, can never match the wisdom that has been developed over many generations and received from the past.  Burke's intergenerational version of the 'wisdom of the many' argument is more original than it might  at first appear. He is not merely  concerned with the accumulation of knowledge, practice, and tradition (although these are among his foremost concerns). He is also concerned with the lived experiences of past actors ? the full range of which can never be equalled by cur-rent generations because any single individual or generation will only  ever have access to expe-riential knowledge gained during their own lifetime. In contrast, the past is a reservoir of a much fuller range of human experiences. Burke's point is that the present represents not only the dis-tilled wisdom of the past with respect to things that appear to have value regardless of historical location, but that historical specifics ? and particular historical experiences ? provide insight and wisdom that cannot be obtained at other moments of time and will be lost if we forget  our past. Burke's concern is that when we disconnect ourselves from the past ? as the French at-tempted to do ? we lose touch with both types of wisdom: the universal or atemporal wisdom that is distilled from the past; and the wisdom gained in each specific epoch. As Burke (1790) points out: "Time is required to produce that union of minds which alone can produce all the good we aim at" (281). And he goes on to say  that the work of building a just society "requires the aid of more minds than one generation can furnish" (282). Thus the whole complex of "stu-pendous wisdom" is an object of reverence for these two reasons. First it  provides hints of the otherwise "mysterious" essence, purpose, and nature of the enduring body politic. Second, it provides us with more knowledge and wisdom about how to organize our own affairs than we could ever possibly obtain over the course of a single generation.  These observations help  put Burke's most famous description of the intergenerational partnership into context: 75Society is indeed a contract...a partnership in all art, a particular in every virtue, and in all perfec-tion. As the ends of such a partnership cannot  be obtained in many generations, it becomes a part-nership not only between those who are living, but  between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born (Burke 1790, 194-195). As with any partnership, there are obligations and responsibilities that come along with it. This is the critical point: by locating individuals in a collective entity that will persist longer in time than any one member, Burke gives individuals a reason to think past their own limited temporal hori-zons. Burke (1790) expresses this idea most clearly  in another famous statement: "People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors" (119). Less often quoted are the lines that immediately  follow this statement: "Besides?the idea of inheritance furnishes a sure spirit of conservation, and a sure principle of transmission; without at all exclud-ing a principle of improvement. It  leaves acquisition free; but it secures what it acquires" (119-120). In this statement Burke emphasizes what I take to be the critical insight of the connection-ist approach: if individuals are not connected to each other and thus connected to a collectivity  of some type that  can or might persist longer in time than any one member, they will not have an appreciation for what has been received from the past  and they will have few reasons to think and act in ways that are sensitive to the potential needs and concerns of the future. Burke, in this quote, is expressing this idea with reference to the conventional wisdom that must be applied if one wishes to preserve the family wealth: spend the interest but keep the capital intact! Burke, of course, is not the only  political theorist  to have emphasized the collective na-ture of intergenerational relations. The 16th Century Anglican priest and theologian Richard Hooker also emphasized the transcendental essence of an enduring body politic:Wherefore, as any Man's Deed past is good as long as himself continueth: so the Act of a Publick Society of men done Five hundred Years sithence, standeth as theirs, who presently are of the same Societies, because Corporations as Immortal: we were then alive in our Predecessors and they in their Successors live still (quoted in Laslett and Fishkin 1992, 15).In Hooker's account of connectionism, as in Burke's, individuals are situated in time by being connected to an enduring body politic and thus connected through time to their forebears and to posterity. This view of intergenerational generations can be used as a foundation to establish in-tergenerational obligations and responsibilities. If the body politic is a single enduring entity with a continuous identity, each generation must take responsibility  for the deeds of the whole just as 76an old man must take responsibility for the deeds of his youth. In Hooker's account, intergenera-tional obligations clearly  run backwards in time: the actions of the past stand as our own (at least in some sense) if they were taken by past members of our own collective entity. Burke makes an explicit  effort to also emphasize forward-looking obligations and responsibilities, but the terms of membership in both Burke's and Hooker's accounts of connectionism are the same. Member-ship in the great enduring body politic simply befalls us: we are born into it. This view of intergenerational relations is objectionable to those who believe that: 1) re-sponsibility must always rest with individuals; and 2) contracts or partnerships are only valid if they  are sanctioned by the consent of individuals. The problem with a connectionist approach is that it threatens to subsume the moral individual within the intergenerational collectivity. As Laslett argues:   Assuming an eternal moral person for the State, as Burke seems also to be doing, and investing it with moral claims that  have no