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Flunking economics the Green New Deal Group way

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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.

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