Advanced Technology Paths to Intergenerational Justice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Traditionally, the green narrative has rejected “big science” in favour of small-scale solutions, local knowledge, and the development of “soft” or “intermediate” technologies. In a similar vein, concern for future generations is often used to propose dramatic reductions in energy- and material flows, as well as the adoption of a more frugal lifestyle thought to be “sustainable”. Contrary to this paradigmatic viewpoint, I argue that not only would such green visions be inherently unsustainable but the transition phase would in itself require enormous sacrifices and most likely lead to the violation of basic human rights. Instead, by assessing our own historical situation through the ethical lens of hypothetical contractualism, it is suggested that the interest of future generations is best served by rapid global political integration and an aggressive research agenda aimed at achieving climate stability through the innovation of new energy sources (such as nuclear fusion). It is further argued that we presently are living through a unique “window of opportunity” in which idealism and technological optimism are both urgently needed.


  • Rasmus Karlsson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • intergenerational justice, contractualism, sustainable development, innovation, technology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging Environmental Justice
EditorsDennis Pavlich
ISBN (Print)978-90-420-2937-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch