Lockdowns and Intergenerational Justice

In its response to Covid, the UK made a policy decision to sacrifice both the short-term and long-term well-being of young people – in order to shortly prolong the life of the elderly. The UK’s policy regarding the pandemic has discriminated against younger generations by imposing blanket lockdowns and strict social distancing rules on the entire population, regardless of whether certain age-groups are likely to be affected by Covid – and while ignoring the different impact that the policy had on different age-groups’ current and future well-being.
While lockdowns and social distancing rules discriminated against younger generations, isolating only the elderly and vulnerable was both necessary and not discriminatory. Such a policy complies with the moral duties that are imposed by the concept of intergenerational justice and can also be justified behind a Rawlsian ‘veil of ignorance’. Isolating the elderly and the vulnerable should have been, however, advisory rather than compulsory.