Myths about greens jobs

September 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The International Policy Network has published a paper exposing some myths about “green jobs”. The seven myths are:

Myth 1: Everyone understands what a “green job” is.

Fact 1: No standard definition of a “green job” exists.

Myth 2: Creating green jobs will boost productive employment.

Fact 2: Green jobs estimates in these oft-quoted studies include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic, and administrative positions that do not produce goods and services for consumption.

Myth 3: Green jobs forecasts are reliable.

Fact 3: The green jobs studies make estimates using poor economic models based on dubious assumptions.

Myth 4: Green jobs promote employment growth.

Fact 4: By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature actually encourage low paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by national governments or by the United Nations (UN). Government interference in the economy – such as restricting successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests – will generate
stagnation.

Myth 5: The world economy can be remade by reducing trade and relying on local production and reduced consumption without dramatically decreasing our standard of living.

Fact 5: History shows that individual nations cannot produce everything that citizens need or want. People and countries have talents that allow specialization in products and services that make them ever more efficient, lower-cost producers, thereby enriching all people.

Myth 6: Government mandates are a substitute for free markets.

Fact 6: Companies react more swiftly and efficiently to the demands of their customers/markets, than to cumbersome government mandates.

Myth 7: Wishing for technological progress is sufficient.

Fact 7: Some technologies preferred by the green jobs studies are not capable of efficiently reaching the scale necessary to meet today’s demands.

The study is not based specifically on the NZ “green jobs” policies, but I suspect much of it is relevant.

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