Pierre Genest Lecture with Professor Neil Buchanan
“Democracy or the Environment: What if Younger Generations Have to Choose?”
Nearly everyone agrees that current generations have a solemn obligation to protect the interests of future generations. Even so, we are saddling future generations with two catastrophic problems: existential threats to democracy and the rule of law, and human-caused climate change. To the extent that there is no conflict in trying to resist and mitigate both of those disasters, we should of course pursue solutions in both areas. But what if it were only possible to address one problem, forcing us to allow the other to get worse? Which should we choose?
Professor Neil H. Buchanan joined University of Florida (UF) Law in 2019 as the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar Chair in Taxation and as the Director of Global Scholarly Initiatives. He frequently lectures and serves as a visiting scholar at universities around the world, most recently at the University of Cambridge, where he is also an External Trustee of the Cambridge Student Union. He is nationally and internationally known for his groundbreaking work on intergenerational justice, retirement security, constitutional issues in government budgeting, and a fundamental critique of orthodox economic theory. In recent years, Professor Buchanan has also become engaged with the question of whether the U.S. political system can survive as a functioning constitutional democracy. Professor Buchanan graduated from Vassar College and received his J.D. from the University of Michigan, A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Laws from Monash University in Australia. He clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.