UCL Philosophy


Heikkinen: Why intergenerational sufficientarianism is not enough

16 June 2024

Karri Heikkinen: Why intergenerational sufficientarianism is not enough (2024), Politics, Philosophy & Economics

Many political philosophers accept a view called intergenerational sufficientarianism, according to which we should aim to make sure that future people have enough of whatever is the appropriate currency of distributive justice. However, despite its popularity, and the established literature on sufficientarianism in the contemporary context, precise statements of intergenerational sufficientarianism remain relatively rare. In this paper, I first survey the reasons that have been offered for accepting intergenerational sufficientarianism, and then formulate multiple precise interpretations of the view. I argue that there is in fact no precise formulation of intergenerational sufficientarianism that achieves all the benefits attributed to the view in the literature, and all plausible interpretations of the view also face serious further problems. Thus, intergenerational sufficientarianism is not as attractive a view as many have thought.