GREEN, not yellow and blue…

Its welcome news that the new government is abandoning plans for a 3rd runway at Heathrow. But the fundamental issue is unaddressed.
The neoliberals gathered around the Cabinet table (They’re neoliberals to a man – even Huhne is basically a downtheline Orange-Booker) want nothing more than to restart economic growth. (Of course, their mad rush to cut cut cut may create a recession or even a (disastrous) Depression for a while, rather than, as Greens wish to do, stabilising the economy; but sooner or later, they will probably succeed in starting up the conveyor belt of ‘economic growth’ once more.)  Their economic desires run exactly counter to their environmental desires.
This is one of the key reasons why I quite the LibDems, and joined the Greens, a decade ago. This governing coalition has no more clue than Labour does about the fundamental constraint: that you can’t keep growing the cake, because the ingredients are running out, and the bins are all overflowing…
We can have prosperity without growth; but we cannot have environmental sanity with growth.

10 thoughts on “GREEN, not yellow and blue…”

  1. I have a worry about the current line you are taking, Rupert (along with the line being taken by Adrian and Caroline). What chains us to the treadmill of growth? … Debt.

    Successive governments have been spendthrift “today”, on the assumption of “growth tomorrow” which then becomes an imperative. What worries me is that this seems to be becoming Green Party policy. Yes, we should argue for raising taxes instead of cutting spending; but we should also be ahead of the field and not behind it in arguing that the government needs to live within its means.

    There IS a viable argument (I’m a bit uneasy with it, but that’s a long story) for our “New Deal” policy of Obamaesque investment in renewable technologies etc.. But to sustain this you have to separate out the New Deal investments and their returns from other public finances. The need to deal with the current deficiency in public revenue relative to expenditure surely remains, and we shouldn’t be postponing this until we get “back to growth”.

    Another problem: “Recession” is just the conventional term for “(a period of) low or zero growth”, so we can’t get away with advocating the second while blaming others for the first. Unemployment is the bogey-man, not recession. The merit of the New Deal is that, while we make the transition to lower growth (and fiscal balance), it can help us avoid the unacceptable misery of unemployment.

  2. Doesn’t the Greens’ costed manifesto rely on the same growth projections that the other parties also rely on?

    Without this growth, even your enormous tax hikes would not balance the budget.

    Perhaps we can have prosperity without growth, but good public services without growth doesn’t seem so easy. So perhaps this ‘prosperty without growth’ is a somewhat right-wing view of prosperity.

  3. Take 50 minutes to educate yourself Joe:

  4. I’ve been thinking about your comments, Ben. You are right that recession is not the real problem – unemployment (or rather, lack of a worthwhile and remunerated life, for many) is. I was using shorthand.
    The Green New Deal can pay for itself and more, over time, as it systematically reduces waste. Yes, we have to live within our means, ultimately; but a genuinely green Keynesianism is what is needed at a time of potential economic _collapse_ (Depression).
    Absolutely, we are NOT just talking about returning to growth.

  5. Anon, I know about fractional reserve banking, thankyou. How is that relevant?

    Rupert, surely the point of the original New Deal was to return the economy to growth. It’s an odd choice of words if you don’t intend it to do this.

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