Why the far-future matters to democracy today

Rasmus Karlsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


As the complexity of social and political interaction becomes increasingly over-whelming it is only natural that the pragmatic, technocratic, and expert-driven character of contemporary policy-making is even further consolidated. Though making use of existing knowledge this approach may lead to a deprivation of the democratic debate as the time horizons are shortened and the number of significantly different policies is restrained by the framework within which decisions are to be made. This article analyses the tension between a more holistic or even 'utopian' attitude to policy-making and the trial-and-error piecemeal approach which today seems to be prevailing in the industrial countries. It is argued that a theoretical distinction made by Leszek Kolakowski may help us overcome that tension. The distinction is then applied to the classical stage-heuristic for policy-making leading to a discussion about how the power of far-future visions can be brought into the nexus of democratic deliberation. The article also examines how different time-frames may cause diverging practical policy-recommendations. Finally, the paradoxical merit of negative visions, as in the dystopian literary genre, is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1103
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Why the far-future matters to democracy today'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this