The Stuttgart-based Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) award the biennial Demography Prize, endowed with €10,000 (ten thousand euros), to essayists who address political and demographic themes relevant to the field of intergenerational justice. The prize was initiated and is funded by the Stiftung Apfelbaum.
Through the prize, FRFG and IF aim to promote a discussion of intergenerational justice in society, and, by providing a scientific basis to the debate, establish new perspectives for decision-makers. The call for papers is intended to target young scholars of different disciplines.
For 2012/2013 entries, the awarding consortium calls for papers on the following topic:
“Youth Quotas – The Answer to Changes in Age Demographics?”
Submissions will be accepted until 1 July 2013. Late entries with a postmark of 1.07.2013 will also be accepted. Entries should range from 20 to 40 pages in length. All documents required for a submission, including the full call for papers and formal entry requirements, are obtainable by sending an email to Antony Mason at: email@example.com. Since we are organising a symposium in autumn 2013, we also kindly ask you to send a short biography (1 paragraph), since we are looking for possible speakers.
The Demography Prize is primarily aimed at young researchers (students, PhD students and postgraduates up to 35 years). You are always welcome to work in a team.
The following text will provide some first ideas for a submission:
Demographic change in many developed and developing countries means an ageing population. In the UK in 2050, government statisticians predict that there will be 2.5 times as many people aged 85 and over as there are today. The number of people aged between 16 and 64 is predicted to fall from 65 per cent to 59 per cent. Similar trends have been observed throughout Europe.
An ageing population has a number of significant intergenerational implications for voter power and political representation. Is it possible that youth will find it increasingly difficult to exercise power through the ballot box? Will our democracies become gerontocracies?
One way to counterbalance the trend and ensure the young do not become sidelined could be the introduction of youth quotas.
Although submissions can treat both, there is a difference between “youth quotas” and “youth representation in decision-making”. While the first stipulates that a certain percentage of young people must be included in a panel or body, the second generally prescribes one seat for young people. Above all, the latter applies to committees, panels and bodies in which all societal groups are represented.
A list of sectors in which the introduction of youth quotas might be envisaged could include:
- Parliaments and local government
- Party panels and bodies
- Advisory boards for businesses, media companies, trade unions
The introduction of youth quotas could have the consequence of reenergising internal party structures. Political parties could increase their attractiveness to young people, who may be more inclined to try to climb the party ranks if a quota system makes entry-level access more readily available. In the UK, young people are recruited through youth groups such as Conservative Future and Young Labour, but are more concrete participatory mechanisms required to increase youth participation in the main party structures themselves?
Many interdisciplinary questions are raised in the context of the youth quotas debate: for political scientists it may be interesting to examine whether democratic principles would be violated when young representatives are voted into a parliament, even if they are clearly less popular than their older opponents. And would quota regulation ensure that young people have sufficient power to influence political decision-making?
From a legal point of view, it should be considered whether the implementation of youth quotas is consistent with national and European legal principles. Are there any examples from, for example, the implementation of quotas for women and ethnic groups that demonstrate the potential legal challenges of implementing youth quotas?
With regards to philosophy, it might be interesting to investigate whether it is necessary for parliaments to reflect the demographic make-up of societies to be just. Is the implementation of youth quotas a fair method to ensure that young people are represented?
Finally, sociologists could examine youth quotas in the context of the controversial subject of “affirmative action”. This policy may address the problem statistically, but would young people in powerful societal positions be taken seriously? Could the promotion of youth quotas initiate an important societal change that benefits and empowers young people?
Many questions of justice are raised in the context of this debate: for example, is it necessary for a parliament to reflect the demographic make-up of society to be just?
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