If you’d like to know, in a nutshell, why anyone with an ounce of sense should reject the Green New Deal here’s the reason as laid out by a proponent of the idea:
The Green New Deal is about a new economic model – The model of capitalist development based on what Marx called “accumulation for accumulation’s sake” – the pursuit of profit as the bottom line – on a planet with finite resources is doomed to crisis and collapse. The financial system which has built up around the needs of serving capital accumulation with infinite credit, and the role of the neoliberal state as the protectorate of that financial system, are therefore also incongruous with a sustainable economic system. Green New Deal economics is heterogenous in that there are a number of different approaches, but the common denominator of all of them is a break with the current paradigm of growth and capital accumulation as the bottom line.
It’s rehashed Marxism. It’s also objectively wrong in its analysis – economic growth isn’t dependent upon the supply of physical resources therefore the obvious finity of physical resources isn’t a binding constraint upon economic growth. But note what the Green New Deal isn’t about. A solution to climate change, Instead, that’s the excuse to upend the world order.
Well, great, you want to upend the world order. But how about the rest of us being asked as to whether we want that?
It’s also mindnumbingly stupid at times:
Be socialist – not capitalist
Capitalist enterprises and the markets they operate in are structurally incapable of delivering the Green New Deal. They simply are not set-up for the sort of long-term, large-scale, cross-sector action that is needed to decarbonise the economy. Just as the moon-landing and Britain’s war economy in fighting the Nazis could have only been done on the basis of massive, co-ordinated state planning, so it is for the Green New Deal.
To put it in a more practical way, think about this. In the UK we have the highest proportion of non-renewable heating in Europe; more than 90 per cent of heating is through natural gas. Heating along with transport is where most emissions are now coming from. In the space of a decade the UK needs to replace tens of millions of gas boilers with zero-carbon options. House-by-house solutions like air source heat pumps simply can not be efficiently done at that scale, speed and with adequate reliability. The only way to do this is enormously expensive, requires a mammoth co-ordination of resources and labour to the task, and means carrying out infrastructure instalments largely on a district, rather than house-by-house, basis. Capitalist markets can’t solve our heating emissions problem in a decade. Only socialism can. Full stop.
We’ve had several attempts – in Oz and the UK – at those massive coordinated plans.
But much more than theory or haggling over technical details, we have excellent empirical evidence that a Green New Deal just does not work. It’s been tried, twice, on different sides of the world and it didn’t work either time.The first time it was Australia. The global recession hits, so as a nice bit of Keynesian pump-priming they figured: Why not insulate the houses of the nation and thereby protect, or even limit, climate change? This plan from the central government meant that every bodger, crook, and incompetent got grants and tax money to ruin houses. They even had a Royal Commission to tell us all what a disaster it was. It is not a usual belief that either Britain or the U.S. have fewer chancers than Australia.
Despite this report, the British government decided to do the same thing. A central plan, with targets, disbursing rivers of tax money, to insulate the houses of the nation. This was then done so badly that there are fears that as many as a million houses have been ruined, and certainly thousands have been turned into entirely useful mushroom farms and not useful dwellings.
The Green New Deal is the latest excuse to impose socialism. And it’s going to use the socialism which doesn’t work as the mechanism as well. Two good reasons to oppose the Green New Deal then, right?