Here is Cass Sunstein in his new book, Worst-Case Scenarios, talking about how we should take into account the well-being of future generations:
If human history is any guide, the future will be much richer than the present; and it makes no sense to say that the relatively impoverished present should transfer its resources to the far wealthier future. And if the present generation sacrifices itself by foregoing economic growth, it is likely to hurt the future too, because long-term economic growth is likely to produce citizens who live healthier, longer, and better lives.
My only footnote is that every generation does transfer resources to the far wealthier future. We do it out of love, mostly and from time to time, some other motivations. But we make all kinds of sacrifices for our children to make their lives better than our own and we do it willingly.
My podcast with Sunstein on the book should be up on November 19th at EconTalk. Feel free to read the book in advance and send me questions you’d like me to ask him.