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dc.contributor.authorDe Lucca, Jean-Paul-
dc.identifier.citationDe Lucca, J. P. (2008). The ‘time-horizon’ : institutionalising intergenerational justice and solidarity in the fight against poverty. The Fight Against Poverty, Malta. 253-266.en_GB
dc.description.abstractWhen the problem of poverty in the Appalachia region reached the highest echelons of power in the United States in the 1960s, the standard of living of the people in this region, in one of the richest countries of the world, was comparable to that in most ‘third world’ countries. Notwithstanding region-specific poverty policies, the situation has not changed much since then. Local communities live in isolation, and the rich natural resources of the area are not owned or used for the benefit of the locals or their development. It was only in recent years that the limited access to ‘their’ own resources moved the locals to consider the more sustainable use of these resources as a means of solving the problem of poverty which has for centuries afflicted the region. It has been argued that the failure of ‘conventional policies’ over the years led to the development of a series of new initiatives aimed at augmenting sustainable community capacity ‘from the ground up’. The situation in Appalachia may seem remote to many readers living in industrialised and technologically-advanced communities, but like many other similar cases across the globe, it gives us certain insights which I would like to use in order to loosely frame the thoughts put forward in this paper. The itinerary I would like to follow starts by considering the concept of sustainability as setting the requirements needed for development within an integrative framework which takes into account economic, social and environmental factors. All three spheres have a direct impact on the rise or reduction of poverty levels (whether relative or absolute - a distinction which is not crucial in the present discussion). Economic decline, social exclusion and environmental degradation can be causes and effects of poverty, while, inversely, economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation can contribute to improved livelihoods. Sustainability is precisely the kind of behaviour which sees the latter set of initiatives as a response to the former ills. Apart from widening the intersection between its three pillars, the concept of sustainability is inherently future-oriented, in that it aims to integrate the needs and aspirations of present as well as future generations. It was mainly due to this evolving concept that the discourse of intergenerational justice and solidarity has developed in recent years. Just as it challenges those policies which isolate social, economic and environmental issues from one another, the integrative notion of sustainability seeks to introduce a ‘time-horizon’ in present-day policy decisions to cover as long a stretch of time as possible. This goes against the all-too-common trap of ‘short-termism’ in the formulation of ‘conventional’ policies. This pitfall is arguably the greatest threat to intergenerational justice, as it fails to recognise future needs or, worse still, recognises them and fails (refuses) to address them. Introducing a ‘time-horizon’ in policy would significantly help to address problems beyond the immediate concerns they raise. More specifically to the case of poverty, this would help us see beyond the alleviation of poverty for those who are currently afflicted by it and develop policies aimed also at improving the quality of life for future generations. The argument in favour of a ‘time-horizon’ is based on ethical principles of justice, equity and solidarity as an underpinning to the formulation of policies, strategies, structures and political action in general. The manner in which such principles are understood and implemented will unavoidably characterise the discourse of “why?” and “how?” the “fight against poverty” is conducted. It is precisely at the policy level that the impetus to take intergenerational solidarity seriously can be put forward through the introduction of long-term approaches. It is also at this level that one can hope to start moving towards the institutionalisation of intergenerational justice. This movement needs a solid commitment ‘from the ground up’ to take off. Like any other movement which has significantly resulted in the recognition of society’s responsibility towards a particular segment of its members, intergenerational justice relies heavily on the ability of grassroots for its promotion. In a setting where many state institutions (e.g. governments) tend to adopt short-term approaches in practice, Civil Society - collectively taken as representing various groups of members of a community - can play a critical role in ensuring that state policies are sustainable in the long-term. As the role of Civil Society is gradually evolving (not without struggle) to include its representatives in different levels of policy formulation and decision-making, the demands of intergenerational justice and solidarity can find in Civil Society a suitable advocate and promoter. One of the major requirements for the implementation of sustainable development is the growth of more participative forms of democracy. Within this changing context, the role of Civil Society in the ‘wider’ fight against poverty should not be overlooked. The itinerary concludes with some thoughts on the Maltese situation in relation to the promotion of intergenerational equity and its institutionalisation.en_GB
dc.publisherUniversity of Malta. Institute for European Studiesen_GB
dc.subjectPoverty -- European Union countriesen_GB
dc.subjectPoverty -- Economic aspectsen_GB
dc.titleThe ‘time-horizon’ : institutionalising intergenerational justice and solidarity in the fight against povertyen_GB
dc.rights.holderThe copyright of this work belongs to the author(s)/publisher. The rights of this work are as defined by the appropriate Copyright Legislation or as modified by any successive legislation. Users may access this work and can make use of the information contained in accordance with the Copyright Legislation provided that the author must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the prior permission of the copyright holder.en_GB
dc.bibliographicCitation.conferencenameThe Fight Against Povertyen_GB
dc.bibliographicCitation.conferenceplaceMalta, 24/09/2008en_GB
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