What Is Our Obligation to Future Generations Regarding the Size of Their Population?
On the basis of the importance of species survival, we do have a responsibility to provide for some future people… whatever size brings about the greatest happiness… would seem to be the most moral option. Furthermore, because membership in one generation vis–vis any other accidental, whatever responsibilities we owe to present people are parallel to the responsibilities we owe to future people. According to the principle of essential similarity among all members of the human species, these responsibilities include at least the fulfillment of basic human rights, the most fundamental of which is the right to exist. In other words, we owe to future people the opportunity to meet their basic needs for a decent life. This obligation is spelled out more fully in the following paragraphs as we examine the other three issues. The issues concerning the kinds and quantities of nonrenewable resources and the quality and diversity of the gene pool to be transmitted to future generations are