Public Debt and Intergenerational Justice

In order to guarantee intergenerational justice to prevail, we as a society should “keep” a certain amount of accumulated debt and pass it on to future generations.

This sounds rather counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? In public debate debt of whatever kind, but public debt especially, is mostly seen as something bad and running counter the ideal of intergenerational justice. In a recent discussion I took part in, however, this counter-intuitive argument has been made by one of my colleagues (whom I esteem for his ethical and scientific intuitions). I initially had rejected it, but after thinking about it for a while, I came to the conclusion that he might be right. Let me explain why. Continue reading