The FDRs of Green explain the gentle art of planet saving
Flunking economics the Green New Deal Group way
A "triple crunch" of financial crisis, climate change and soaring oil prices threatens the world with a new Great Depression so, 'drawing inspiration from FDR' the Green New Deal Group proposes "a modernised version" of the solution. FDR himself being unhappily unavailable, we have the newly-formed group and its eponymous report instead. And frankly, it goes downhill from there.
The group, which describes itself as a collection of "experts in finance, energy and the environment" consists of various greens and lefties, Friends of the Earth, Green Party, Guardian journos and the like. And it arguably falls at the first hurdle by taking as fact three highly debatable points: that we face a financial crunch, a climate change one and an energy crunch. For a cloud of doubt hangs over the crunchiness of all three.
Take that financial crunch: they say that the current wave of bankruptcies across the financial sector is all the fault of the liberalisation and deregulation of finance over the past few decades. They're actually right that it is, but the system is working just as advertised. Risks are indeed being spread: when German banks go bust because American house prices are falling, this is evidence that the risks of US house price declines have been spread to German banks. Quite why they think this is a bad idea isn't explained. Would it have been better if all banks in Florida had gone bust because the risk was concentrated there instead?
That there are financial problems, of course, yes, there are, but this is just one of the overshoots to which market based systems are prone.
The 500 year climate crunch
Similarly, we don't face a climate change crunch: we have a chronic problem, not one that is either immediate or catastrophic. It's extremely difficult to claim that Greenland melting in 2,500 AD is an immediate problem. As to the energy crunch and Peak Oil, well, markets themselves seem to be dealing with that rather well: oil at $130 a barrel will certainly reduce appetites for it, and if it becomes in yet shorter supply then prices will rise again and appetites will be further curbed. So too will other forms of energy generation flourish in the space now vacated.
But that is all being reasonable and rational - which really isn't what this report is about. What it is about is their desire to impose their version of how you should live upon you, regardless of your own wishes. Cheeringly though the report is based on such a concatenation of false arguments and at times willful stupidity that there's (well, at least I hope so) no chance of anyone taking it with the slightest bit of seriousness.
I suppose I branded these stories anti-environmentalism due to the slew of recent highly polemic articles in The Register claiming that climate change isn't a really a problem. So I guess that's more climate-skeptic than anti-environmentalism.
By all means have a go at The Guardian when you feel they've got things wrong, as they admittedly do sometimes, however the tone of the article was a bit more "they've said it and they're freakish lefties so it must be wrong"
Of course people should be able to write about and debate these issues, I guess I just find it surprising, and slightly random, for The Reg to be doing it.
I always enjoyed The Reg because it was skeptical about everything - now it seems to have an agenda more akin to Spiked than a predominantly IT/technology website.
I don't mean this to be a rant - I enjoy reading things I disagree with as much as things I do, just surprised to be reading them here.
As for my own opinion, I'm not entirely sure about the solutions, but I do doubt that the business-as-usual-perhaps-with-the-odd-tiny-tweak, which The Reg seems to be vigorously pushing now really is the answer to challenges we face.
FDR was like BASF.
He didn't make the Depression. He made the Depression Great. A lot of very convincing studies show that the policies he put into play were either blatant attempts at vote-buying or demagoguery that created more problems than it solved. Left to itself, the Depression would have burnt itself out in 2 or 3 years. When the US pushed all their capital out of the country, (taxes on undistributed profits, anyone?) there was no way the economy could rebuild itself.
I do not think that economics will solve all of these problems, but you can't throw your economy into shambles because of a dreaded problem. Maybe the shambles will be worse than the dreaded problem?
It is just too bad that nobody has learned that when you manipulate the economy, that your manipulations can cause more problems than you had before.
The fun part of all this is that it is a discussion of economics by people who are not qualified, in response to an enviromental problem that they are also not qualified. The current standard on GW seems to assume that volume and dogma are acceptable methods of scientific discourse.
@Breakfast and the Breakfastians
Clearly you lot never lived in the Soviet Union and benefited from the controlled, centrally planned economy channelled to meet a politically expedient goal of the moment.
Because then you would not have dismissed the free market principles as religious propaganda.