Fri, Jan 11, 2019 - Page 9 News List

From yellow vests to
the Green New Deal

The movement behind the Green New Deal offers a promising alternative to the wave of populism, nativism and protofascism that is sweeping the globe

By Joseph E. Stiglitz

Economists have debated how effective the New Deal was — its spending was probably too low and not sustained enough to generate the kind of recovery the economy needed. Nonetheless, it left a lasting legacy by transforming the country at a crucial time.

So, too, for a Green New Deal: It could provide public transportation, linking people with jobs, and retrofit the economy to meet the challenge of climate change. At the same time, these investments themselves would create jobs.

It has long been recognized that decarbonization, if done correctly, would be a great job creator, as the economy prepares itself for a world with renewable energy.

Of course, some jobs — for example, those of the 53,000 coal miners in the US — would be lost, and programs are needed to retrain such workers for other jobs, but to return to the refrain, sequencing and pacing matter.

It would make more sense to begin with creating new jobs before the old jobs are destroyed, to ensure that the profits of the oil and coal companies are taxed and the hidden subsidies they receive eliminated, before asking those who are barely getting by to pony up more.

The Green New Deal sends a positive message of what government can do, for this generation of citizens and the next.

It could deliver today what those who are suffering today need most — good jobs. It could also deliver the protections from climate change that are needed for the future.

The Green New Deal would have to be broadened, and this is especially true in countries such as the US, where many ordinary citizens lack access to good education, adequate healthcare or decent housing.

The grassroots movement behind the Green New Deal offers a ray of hope to the badly battered establishment: They should embrace it, flesh it out, and make it part of the progressive agenda.

Something positive is needed to save us from the ugly wave of populism, nativism and protofascism that is sweeping the world.

Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is a professor at Columbia University and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute. His most recent book is Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump.

Copyright: Project Syndicate

This story has been viewed 1606 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top