AbstractThere are many dimensions of intergenerational justice, and demography matters for many of these. Traditionally, global population growth has been seen as an important danger in terms of worsening living conditions for future generations through exhaustion of natural resources, and other environmental impacts. More recently, the discussions about global climate change have given these concerns a new urgency (O'Neill et al. 2001). While the concern about unsustainable population growth at a global level, and in particular for countries in Africa and West Asia, which still expect very rapid population growth in the future, remains valid and requires all the necessary attention, a new concern has appeared in the context of very low fertility rates in some countries in Europe, and also increasingly in Eastern Asia. As described in this volume, the rapid population ageing that results from low fertility combined with increasing life expectancy raises a host of new challenges for intergenerational justice. Unfortunately, some people tend to focus only on the challenges associated with rapid growth, while others focus on those resulting from rapid ageing, each downplaying the other. But it is important to understand that both rapid growth and rapid ageing can bring about serious challenges, in some cases for different societies, and in other cases even in the same country. The most prominent example of this is China, where further growth due to momentum, and rapid ageing need to be addressed simultaneously. There are many examples in life where opposing extremes bring problems.
Lutz W <http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/view/iiasa/190.html> & Skirbekk V <http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/view/iiasa/1575.html> (2008). Low fertility in Europe in a global demographic context. In: Demographic Change and Intergenerational Justice. Eds. Tremmel, J.C., Berlin: : The Implementation of Long-Term Thinking in the Political Decision Making Process Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-540-77083-1 DOI:10.1007/978-3-540-77084-8 <https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-77084-8>.