Chicago Green Jobs

Green Menace! “Seven Myths” is Ideology, Not Scholarship
March 25, 2009, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Green Job Research

What’s the difference between red communists and green job proponents? If you’re the authors of the “Seven Myths About Green Jobs” report, the answer is… nothing!

The report is larded through with dramatic warnings about “centralized planning” and “reordering society,” but just in case the reader missed the hints the authors included this pair of priceless quotes:

“Despite their new packaging, these calls for creating a new society through central planning are as old as human history. The failure of the twentieth century’s utopian experiments suggests caution in undertaking such widespread transformations of society.”

“Our review convinces us that the real purpose of the green jobs initiative is not to create jobs but to remake society.”

Green menace! Keep in mind that “Seven Myths” purports to be a critique of the methodology of green jobs reports by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the American Solar Energy Society, the Center for American Progress, and the United Nations Environment Programme. I mean, everyone knows that the U.S. Conference of Mayors has been itching to seize all private property and place it under state control for years now. But that’s no excuse for the authors to jump on the green bandwagon as a cover for rehashing their pet issues.

The truth is that no one is arguing that creating green jobs is an end in itself. President Obama was elected on a platform that promised to transition American energy sources away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. All levels of government are  now engaged in figuring out how to make this transition in a way that maximizes benefits to all stakeholders. Because any transition on this scale creates new industries and new jobs, businesses and other organizations are doing their own research and trying to get a seat at the table. These four organizations are contributing their ideas about how this transition might generate jobs to the debate, and how various policy options might impact who gets those jobs (hint: Americans, please!).

The authors of the “Seven Myths” report take the position that the market alone will transform our energy system:

“By analyzing the problems with the green jobs literature’s claims, we hope to persuade readers that the fundamental question is not whether to spend $20 billion or $400 billion of taxpayers’ money on solar or wind power but who should decide how resources should be allocated: people in the marketplace or planners and politicians in Washington, D.C.”

Any serious discussion of policy requires that participants have the intellectual flexibility to understand that solutions don’t have to be either 100% market-based or 100% government-based. By refusing to offer constructive ideas about solving the problem at hand and choosing to drown their handful of valid points in a sea of hysterical fear-mongering, the authors have shown themselves to be ideologues who who have nothing to contribute to the adults at the table.


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