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This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Abstract/ Summary

The question of intergenerational obligation can be framed in multiple ways. Here, we use the idea of bargains to think about how those of us in the present relate to both the past and the future. To understand this approach assumptions behind the idea of intergenerational bargains are posited, three potential ontologies for intergenerational thinking are explored, and principles that might be applied to intergenerational obligations are considered. Finally, an ethic for intergenerational obligation is proposed. The idea of intergenerational bargains reveals common frameworks among futures studies, ecological economics, and sustainability science.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Anderson, M.W. 2013. Intergenerational bargains: negotiating our debts to the past and our obligations to the future. Futures. 54:43-52.

Publisher Statement

© 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2013.10.002


post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.