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Injustice League lectures ends with critique of older generation

By Helen Fu
On April 27, 2014

Many students and members of the philosophy department faculty attended the last of the Injustice League lectures on Friday, given by Doctor Loren Lomasky, a professor of political philosophy at the University of Virginia. Doctor Lomasky earned his Ph.D at the University of Connecticut, and came back to give a lecture titled "Generational Injustice: How to Milk the Young."
"We are extremely privileged to have Doctor Lomasky here with us today," Professor Daniel Silvermint, the event's organizer, told the audience before welcoming Lomasky to the podium.
"I'm glad to see that the philosophy department at UConn is doing so well," Lomasky said. "You guys have built yourself up like a weightlifter on steroids."
Lomasky introduced his topic by pointing out that since the 1930s, burdens have been placed increasingly on the young in order to benefit the old, putting each successive generation at a disadvantage.
"In philosophy, there are often debates on justice and the problems of justice," Lomasky said. "I believe that this is the single recalcitrant issue today, but unfortunately there has been very little debate in this area."
He outlined some of the troubles facing America today, such as the continuing fallout from the Great Recession and whole cities like Detroit declaring bankruptcy, pointing out that the younger generation is suffering more from these difficulties. This introduction was followed by a short foray into the philosophical idea of reciprocity and justice, and how modern entitlement programs like Social Security were built from the idea of diachronic reciprocity, or paying it forward. The idea is that one generation pays taxes in order to support the previous generation, with the expectation that they in turn will be supported by the next generation.
While this system certainly has benefits, the problem, as Lomasky stated, is that due to various changes in the standard of living, the retiring population in the U.S. is growing at a faster rate than the work force. This means that the supply of resources the previous generation built up is no longer enough to support retirees, and the younger generation must work harder and pay more in order to uphold the current way of life. Lomasky said the elderly are vulnerable, but they have had decades to prepare for these vulnerabilities and should be held accountable.
Lomasky also pointed to the increase in spending in recent years that corresponds to a decrease in taxation, meaning that the national deficit has risen at a rapid rate. This, too, will be left to the young to solve, all the while employment rates for 16 to 25-year-olds have dropped steadily. Lomasky concluded his presentation with a grim prediction of the future: There is virtually no way to get out of these problems, and to make matters worse the young seem to have no interest in addressing these grievances.
"We live in a world of injustice without howls," Lomasky said in his concluding remarks.

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