Can Youth Quotas help avoid Future Disasters?

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Ivo Wallimann-Helmer


In this paper, I argue for the following conclusions. First, quotas are not normative goals in themselves, but only a means to achieve non-discriminatory selection procedures. Second, in a democracy quotas are most plausibly used as a means to fill offices in those bodies which have a major impact on how well interests or discourses are translated into policy. Third, quotas for the young can be justified since, due to demographic development, their discourses tend to be marginalised. Fourth, youth quotas cannot be a means to ensure long-term policy-making, but they can enhance the legitimacy of longterm impacts from policy decisions taken today.

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Author Biography

Ivo Wallimann-Helmer, University of Zurich

Ivo Wallimann- Helmer is Director of the Advanced Studies Programme in Applied Ethics and Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Zurich University Research Priority Program for Ethics. He is currently working on a research project concerning demographics and climate change. Ivo Wallimann-Helmer studied philosophy and German philology in Zurich and Berlin. His PhD thesis examined the concept of “equality of opportunity”. In his research he focuses on political philosophy, normative ethics as well as environmental and medical ethics.