Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice Award

The Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions (FRFG) offers an “Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice Award”, val­ued at €10,000. It is financed by the “Stiftung Apfel­baum” and award­ed every two years. The prize mon­ey can be divid­ed up amongst win­ning entrants as the jury sees fit. The jury itself may not enter the com­pe­ti­tion, but it is open to every­one else, and team appli­ca­tions are also pos­si­ble. The best arti­cles are pub­lished in an anthol­o­gy. The prize(s) are gen­er­al­ly award­ed at an awards cer­e­mo­ny dur­ing a con­gress in June/July of the clos­ing year. Aim of the com­pe­ti­tion Our soci­ety needs a con­struc­tive dis­cus­sion on sus­tain­able pol­i­tics that also takes inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice into account. By announc­ing this prize, the Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions aims to pro­mote this dis­cus­sion by pro­vid­ing a sci­en­tif­ic base for it. It should also cre­ate new per­spec­tives in the field of inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice for the con­sid­er­a­tion of today’s deci­sion mak­ers, by moti­vat­ing young schol­ars, stu­dents and any­one else who is inter­est­ed to get involved with sci­en­tif­ic or more non-aca­d­e­m­ic ques­tions in the field of inter­gen­er­a­tional justice.


Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice Award 2011/12: “The Ger­man debt brake”

Top­ic Overview

An effec­tive insti­tu­tion­al lim­it on the lev­el of nation­al debt was for many years a con­tro­ver­sial top­ic in the debate about sus­tain­able finan­cial pol­i­cy. The imple­men­ta­tion of a debt lim­it has also been one of the Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions’ core aims.

The finan­cial cri­sis’ explo­sive con­se­quences of new indebt­ed­ness final­ly led in Ger­many to a – for the major­i­ty accept­able – ‘debt brake’: The bun­destag and the bun­desrat decid­ed in spring 2009 mas­sive changes with regard to what lev­el of state indebt­ed­ness was con­sid­ered accept­able. It was a deci­sion which had the basic prin­ci­ple of a bal­anced bud­get as its core aim. Could the Ger­man debt brake expe­ri­ence serve as a mod­el for oth­er Euro­pean coun­tries? Is the Ger­man expe­ri­ence of any use to coun­tries such as the UK, which unlike Ger­many, have an uncod­i­fied constitution?

Out­side Ger­many the finan­cial cri­sis has also sparked debates about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of new reg­u­la­to­ry frame­works to avoid future finan­cial crises. Does the Ger­man debt brake pro­vide a basis for repli­ca­tion in oth­er Euro­pean states, and/or at the supra­na­tion­al level?

In Ger­many itself, a final eval­u­a­tion of the reform will not be pos­si­ble until the tem­po­rary reg­u­la­tions are cur­tailed and the first bud­gets are passed by bund and län­der. Nev­er­the­less, we want to con­duct a pre­lim­i­nary inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and sci­en­tif­ic exam­i­na­tion of the debt brake reform and make a first inter­im report.

The aim of the sub­mit­ted papers should be to exam­ine the new reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. The new law should be exam­ined in regard to its achieve­ment of a just finan­cial pol­i­cy. The Ger­man debt brake can be used as the start­ing point for fur­ther investigatio


2009/2010: Pos­si­bil­i­ties and lim­its of coop­er­a­tive prob­lem solu­tions in par­ty democ­ra­cies

The deci­sion mak­ing pro­ce­dures are of a high com­plex­i­ty in the polit­i­cal sys­tem of Ger­many. Even coali­tion part­ners of a mul­ti-par­ty gov­ern­ment are rep­re­sent­ing dif­fer­ent points of view accord­ing to their own polit­i­cal inter­ests when elec­tions are approach­ing. When the majori­ties in the Par­lia­ment and the Fed­er­al Assem­bly dif­fer, the oppo­si­tion becomes a veto play­er. The inter­twin­ing of fed­er­al and region­al com­pe­tences makes a par­ty polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed block­ade pos­si­ble. Often par­ties use the media, asso­ci­a­tions and unions to mobilise resis­tance against planned deci­sions. Finan­cial cuts and long-term deci­sions espe­cial­ly fall vic­tim to the par­ty com­pe­ti­tion. In the short term it does not appear ratio­nal to sup­port unpop­u­lar deci­sions but to sharp­en the party’s pro­file by rep­re­sent­ing the par­tic­u­lar inter­ests of vot­ers. These mech­a­nisms some­times impede a top­ic ori­ent­ed coop­er­a­tion. The lack of cost­ly reforms in the edu­ca­tion sec­tor as well as the giv­ing up on cli­mate pro­tec­tion aims in order to fur­ther back­ward indus­tries illus­trate that often long-term mea­sures are blocked by sin­gle par­ties. Espe­cial­ly future and suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tions are thus dis­crim­i­nat­ed through a lack of top­ic ori­ent­ed par­ty coop­er­a­tion. How can such a coop­er­a­tion of the par­ties be fur­thered, and how can the reflex­es to oppose be contained?


Top­ic: “Gen­er­a­tion ‘P’ – The unequal treat­ment of the old and the young in the workplace”

Gen­er­a­tion P’ can stand for ‘Pre­car­i­ous’, or the Ger­man word for interns, ‘Prak­tikan­ten’. The idea behind it remains the same what­ev­er it stands for: It describes a gen­er­a­tion that instead of get­ting fixed employ­ment after study­ing is forced to com­plete a num­ber of bad­ly paid intern­ships. Increas­ing­ly, interns are being exploit­ed as cheap labour because they are not cov­ered by the reg­u­la­to­ry hand of the pub­lic author­i­ties and are bad­ly informed about their rights. They have min­i­mal legal pro­tec­tion, and work long hours to try and prove them­selves to pos­si­ble future employ­ers, but they can be fired with very lit­tle notice and for no giv­en rea­son. A new pre­car­i­ous gen­er­a­tion has emerged.

On Fri­day, 4 July 2008, the awards cer­e­mo­ny took place in Berlin in the scope of a sym­po­sium . Five papers by young sci­en­tists have been award­ed with the prize, which is endowed with 10.000 € prize money.

The win­ning papers and more infor­ma­tion on their authors can be found on our Ger­man web­site.

These were the tasks for the award-win­ning researchers:

The ques­tion is focused around three subtopics. Can­di­dates should attempt ques­tion 1, either 2a, 2b or2c and ques­tion 3.

  1. Define “Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice” and “Just Wages” and address the rela­tion­ship between the two.
  2. a)    Analyse legal and col­lec­tive labour agree­ments regard­ing inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice in Germany
    b)    Describe how the world of work is chang­ing in gen­er­al, and what effects this has on dif­fer­ent generations,
    c)    Com­pare sit­u­a­tions fac­ing the younger gen­er­a­tion enter­ing the world of work in Ger­many and at least one oth­er country.
  3. Which solu­tions could be found on a social, cor­po­rate and indi­vid­ual level?