Julian Morris is the Executive Director of International Policy Network, a London-based global think-tank which runs campaigns seeking to educate the public about the importance of markets and market institutions in the context of global policies relating to development, trade, health, accountability and the environment. Today the IPN has published Seven Myths About Green Jobs.
On August 19, Nick Clegg discussed the government's planned "Green Deal", announcing the launch of a low carbon business support programme which the Government hopes will lead to the creation of 10,000 new jobs and 1,000 firms. Maybe it will – but how many jobs will be lost, or not created? And what will all these “green” jobs cost our children?
In Seven Myths about Green Jobs - a new report written by Andrew P. Morriss, William T. Bogart, Andrew Dorchak and Roger E. Meiners and released by IPN today - the authors find that “green” investments by governments are often counterproductive, wasting resources, reducing productivity and harming future generations.
Like most governments in the developed world, Britain's Con-Lib coalition has seized on the seductive idea that subsidising green technology will pay for itself. It plans to pour taxpayers' money into a whole range of initiatives such as the "Green Deal", claiming that the high costs will be offset by long-term benefits to the economy and the environment. Not surprisingly, this turns out to be wishful thinking. Our report reveals the hidden costs that have to be ignored for such "win-win" scenarios to seem plausible.
Take one example from a United Nations study on green jobs, which calls for fruit to be picked by hand rather than machine. The Luddite premise behind such thinking is that machines are taking jobs away from people. What actually happens is that machines enable people to do jobs more efficiently. Yes, some human skills become redundant – but others are created. How many computer operators were there in the nineteenth century? And when was the last time you washed your clothes using a mangle?