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State Finance PDF Print E-mail

Besides environmental protection, the topic which most obviously produces a clash of interests between today’s and future generations is national debt: the present generation can saddle successive generations, which have no opportunity to answer back, with the costs for their consumption. Politicians can try to buy their reelection with ‘voting gifts’ without thinking about the next generation. There should already be agreement on the issue that no generation should live beyond their means; but not every type of national debt produces unjustness for future generations.


The FRFG has already occupied itself with the topic “National Debt and Intergenerational Justice” in its books, magazines and articles:

The book “Ihr habt dieses Land nur von uns geborgt ” (“You have only borrowed this country from us”, only in German) contains the article:

Der Fluch der späten Geburt Zukunft der Staatsfinanzen (The curse of a late birth  the future of national finances) by Thorsten Becker

In the Handbuch Generationengerechtigkeit (Handbook of Intergenerational Justice) [Link zu Publikationen > Bücher bzw dieses Buch], Andreas Becker describes the development of national debt in Germany, its consequences for future generations and possible solutions:

Generationengerechte Finanzpolitik (Fair fiscal policy for all generations)
by Andreas Becker

The English Handbook of Intergenerational Justice includes the following article: 

Institutional determinants of public debt: a political economy perspective
by Prof. Dr. Robert von Weizsäcker and Dr. Bernd Süssmuth

It describes the “political budget cycle”, that is the extend to which politicians’ attitudes towards debts are being led by the dates of their elections and their own selfish considerations.

Unfortunately, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court has on 9 June 2007 declared the Federation’s intergenerationally unjust debt policy as generally conform with the constitution. The court has dismissed the case that had been filed against 2004’s supplementary budget by Union and FDP. (more)

Good arguments for institutional barriers against national debt can be found in the FRFG’s study 1/2005:

Boettcher, Florian / Tremmel, Jörg (2005): Generationengerechtigkeit in der Finanzverfassung . SRzGStudien Nr. 1/2005. 50 pages. ISBN 3000159916

The FRFG has also addressed the topic in an issue of the magazine IntergenerationalJustice!