Calling all young academics and researchers in the fields of politics, philosophy, law and social science: write a 20–40 page essay on constitutions and intergenerational justice and a large share of the €10,000 (yes, ten thousand euros) could be yours! (The prize is usually split 2−4 ways.)
The Intergenerational Foundation (IF) has been helping the Stuttgart-based Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) to promote two biennial academic prizes since 2011: the Intergenerational Justice Prize and the Demography Prize. Both have a total prize pot of €10,000, generously funded by the Stiftung Apfelbaum, and shared among the winners.
The topic of the 2015/16 Intergenerational Justice Prize is: “Constitutions as millstones? Are regular national constitutional conventions the solution to give successive generations the flexibility they need?”
Constitutions pose a real dilemma for intergenerational justice. By their very nature they are created for the long-term – intended to last for many generations. But what legacy do they hand on to passing generations? If they are too inflexible, and the possibility of change is very limited, then future generations can be locked into an outmoded framework for action that no longer suits their circumstances. The result can be explosive.
If, on the other hand, constitutions are too flexible, then future politicians and policy-makers will be free to change – and corrupt – the founders’ vision to serve their own interests.
So how can constitutions be written to protect the rights and/or interests of future generations without at the same time becoming a barrier to future generations exercising full political sovereignty?
One solution can be a “permanent constitutional convention” that reassesses the current constitution at fixed intervals. But is that the only answer?
The Intergenerational Justice Prize is primarily aimed at young academics (undergraduates, graduates and PhD students), but is open to all who take a similarly academic approach to their writing. The submission of group projects is also welcome.
Size limit of submissions: 20–40 pages (6,000 to 12,000 words)
Deadline for submissions: 1 June 2016