CEBSS Research Network

Kochi University of Technology

-Research Center for Future Design

In order to design a sustainable society, it is essential to engage in decision-making that reflects the viewpoints and interests of future generations. However, it is difficult to make policy decisions that reflect the perspectives of such future generations in our society.

There are two main pillars in our society. One of them is the market system. It is an excellent device that realizes our desires in the short-run. However, it does not allocate resources with the interests of future generations in mind. Democracy is another pillar that is supposed to compensate the faults of the market, but it too is a mechanism that benefits the current generation without regard for future generations. Because future generations do not exist now, the current generation cannot hear their voices. Furthermore, since we are by nature myopic and optimistic, we cannot conduct decision making that sufficiently takes account of future generations. In this way, the current generation remorselessly deprives the resources that could have been utilized by future generations.

Coping with this important issue, we propose a new framework called “Future Design” including introducing “imaginary future generations” in our society. The Center is a transdisciplinary team composed of biologists, environmental scientists, economists, psychologists, political scientists, engineers, neuroscientists and so on designed to deal with this issue. We are engaging in theoretical and experimental work, as well as survey work to address this issue. Furthermore, we have begun to put our theories into practice at regional municipalities.

The Research Center for Future Design aims to design new sustainable societies that compensate for defects inherent in democratic and market institutions.