Saturday, June 27, 2009

The "Green Jobs" Canard - Devolving America

Green job advocates all make a fundamental error when they view the creation of jobs as the benefit arising from their green plans. Jobs are a cost. The services a job provides are the benefit. Green job advocates believe that greener technology for power generation, transport or food production will require more labor per unit of output than non-green or conventional methods. The fact that more workers will have to be hired to produce less energy is a cost not a benefit as they claim. Decreased labor productivity is the make-work path to poverty.

Green job subsidization will do nothing to help the United States recover from the current recession. It will only lower living standards by promoting inefficient technologies and artificially keeping labor and capital in construction and related industries that were the most over inflated during the bubble. These are the very industries that need to contract.

Beacon Hill Institute, Green Collar" Job Creation, A Critical Analysis, June 2009


The BHI, a think tank at Suffolk University in Boston, just released its analysis of "green jobs." Therein, they analyze three influential studies, a UN study, a study by the The Center for American Progress, and a study by the The U.S. Conference of Mayors, all of which promote the creation of "green jobs" and a fundamental alteration to the energy sector. The BHI authors find the logic of these studies fundamentally flawed and the assumptions underlying them unsupported. This from their press release:

“Contrary to the claims made in these studies, we found that the green job initiatives reviewed in each actually causes greater harm than good to the American economy and will cause growth to slow,” reported Paul Bachman, Director of Research at the Beacon Hill Institute, one of the report’s authors. . .

The executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute and co-author, David G. Tuerck, . . . [notes] that “these studies are based on arbitrary assumptions and use faulty methodologies to create an unreliable forecast for the future of green jobs.

“It appears these numbers are based more on wishful thinking than the appropriate economic models, and that must be taken into consideration when the government is trying to turn the economy around based on political studies and the wrong numbers,” Tuerck said. . . .

The authors concluded by noting that further economic analysis is needed before governments move forward on green job initiatives. “All three green jobs studies we reviewed are riddled with economic errors, incorrect methods, and dubious assumptions. Economic policy should not be based on such faulty analysis. Serious economic studies of costs and benefits are desperately needed before the adoption of any green jobs proposal.”

You can find their report here. A final snippet from the report on the UN's push for a world-wide green economy is worth a read:

The U.N.’s report [Green Jobs: Towards Sustainable Work in a Low-Carbon World] contains the most serious economic errors of the three reports we review. It argues for radical changes in industrial and agricultural policy that would have disastrous economic consequences and would likely result in widespread impoverishment and mass starvation. It mistakenly claims that increased labor productivity results in unemployment. As a result it advocates moving to less productive modes of transport, farming, and energy production. Taking people out of taxies and putting them into rickshaws, forcing people to use more labor to produce fewer crops, and doing more work to produce the same amount of energy would plunge society back to pre-modern standards of living. Humanity has advanced as productivity has increased. As the labor force has expanded so have the number of jobs to be done. The U.N. report amounts to a call for a return to the stone-age.

So, don't you feel better now about yesterday's vote to take us down this road.

(H/T EU Referendum)

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