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?