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Ecological-Industrial Complex

Environmental policies produces more inequality than neoliberal ones, says Malte Lehming in the Wall Street Journal. He works for Der Tagesspiegel, which has published the provocative German original (HT: Ava). He acknowledges German leadership in the green industry:

In 15 years, according to a government-sponsored study, green technology will overtake the automobile industry as Germany's core industry. A multi-billion-dollar market has developed, and Germany is the leader in many emerging branches, with a worldwide market share in green technology of around 16%. Some 1.5 million Germans already work in the green industry.

This progress, however, comes at the expense of the working classes:

The Greens like to portray themselves as fighting against the excesses of capitalism. Now it's clear that the ecological-industrial complex increases inequality more than neo-liberal policies ever could.

Meanwhile a very different situation in the United States, home of the so-called "military industrial complex." The midterm elections are bad for America's green industry and the future of the US economy in general, writes Carnegie Fellow John Judis in The New Republic. His article on the Lost Generation is among the most negative assessments of the Republican gains at Congress:

America's challenge over the next decade will be to develop new industries that can produce goods and services that can be sold on the world market. The United States has a head start in biotechnology and computer technology, but as the Obama administration recognized, much of the new demand will focus on the development of renewable energy and green technology. As the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans understand, these kinds of industries require government coordination and subsidies. But the new generation of Republicans rejects this kind of industrial policy. They even oppose Obama's obviously successful auto bailout.

Instead, when America finally recovers, it is likely to re-create the older economic structure that got the country in trouble in the first place: dependence on foreign oil to run cars; a bloated and unstable financial sector that primarily feeds upon itself and upon a credit-hungry public; boarded-up factories; and huge and growing trade deficits with Asia. These continuing trade deficits, combined with budget deficits, will finally reduce confidence in the dollar to the point where it ceases to be a viable international currency.

Strong stuff! Both articles!. Germans are screwed in the short run, Americans in the medium run? And in the long run we are all dead. Speaking of which: Is Obama a Keynesian?

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David on :

"Some 1.5 million Germans already work in the green industry." Does Lehming think these are all white collar jobs? Has he ever visited a plant that makes solar panels or wind turbines? These are mostly well-paying blue collar jobs. Lehming has a nice home in Murdoch's WSJ.

Zyme on :

"As the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans understand, these kinds of industries require government coordination and subsidies." Now this already turns me off. I wonder how technological progress was achieved in thousands of years without such a refined method such as subventions? If these achievements are so great, the market will sponsor them on its own. Oh but hang on, if we let the price-oriented consumer dictate our energy mix, more nuclear power plants might grow in the countryside. No, such a thing can not be allowed.

Pat Patterson on :

That's exactly the reasoning the Japanese used to poor million and billions of yen into developing ship building and cornering the steel and concrete markets. The South Koreans now make the ships, concrete comes from Brazil and Australia and the US is considered the best steel producer in the world. But the Japanese still have MITI which like all bureaucracis are like cockroaches and will out live us all.

Pamela on :

"As the Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans understand, these kinds of industries require government coordination and subsidies." Right. Do they also understand that that approach does not work? Did you see the report out of Universid Rey Don Carlos? It's devestating. "Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable enery sources" (This is a 53-page PDF file. It is sickening reading.) http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf Oh, and we don't even have to talk about subsides per se. Let's just talk about throwing taxpayer money down a rat hole. Solyndra, a solar panel company in Fremont California got $535 million to build a new plant, conning the gov't into believing it could employ about 3000 people. The plant got built. But guess what. The damn things are two expensive. So they closed the 2 original plants and will not be employing more than the original 1000. If they're lucky. The damn things are still too expensive. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_16517629?IADID Oh, and how are those carbon trading exchanges working out? Well, Al Gore's pet, CCX, just imploded. From the article linked below: "The CCX seemed to have a lock on success. Not only was a young Barack Obama a board member of the Joyce Foundation that funded the fledgling CCX, but over the years it attracted such big name climate investors as Goldman Sachs and Al Gores Generation Investment Management" [ ] CCXs panicked original investors bailed out this spring, unloading the dog and its across-the-pond cousin, the European Climate Exchange (ECX), for $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange-traded Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) an electronic futures and derivatives platform based in Atlanta and London. (Luckier than the CCX, the ECX continues to exist thanks to the mandatory carbon caps of the Kyoto Protocol.) The ECX may soon follow the CCX into oblivion, however the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. No new international treaty is anywhere in sight. http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/if-al-gores-chicago-climate-exchange-suffers-total-failure-does-the-msm-make-a-sound/ I could go on a really entertaining rant about ethanol subsidies, too. But I won't.

Pamela on :

"These continuing trade deficits, combined with budget deficits, will finally reduce confidence in the dollar to the point where it ceases to be a viable international currency." Oh, we won't be waiting for the deficits to stomp the dollar. Bernanke is doing that all by his li'l ole self by printing $600 billion to loan the gov't via treasury bonds. God knows the Chinese won't buy them. Keep your eye on the upcoming G20 meeting. Timmy TurboTax Cheat Geitner is about to get his ass handed to him.

Zyme on :

This meeting will indeed be fascinating. Geitner's verbal demands (attacks?) of China, Japan and Germany have successfully created a strong opposition to his stance. This is the interesting part in diplomacy: When there is no win-win situation anymore and interests differ critically.

Pamela on :

Zippidy doo dah, zippidy yay, my oh my what a wonderful day! --------- Between plugging in and unplugging at home, work or other places, Focus Electric owners are likely to recharge their vehicles two to four times each day (nearly 1,500 times a year) compared to once a week for gassing up (52 times a year). With a Focus Electric owner in contact with the connector so many times, Ford conducted an ergonomic study to help determine plug handle design, as well as charge port height and insertion angle. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/10/focus-20101008.html -------------------------- So, how much will electricity bills increase for those people charging their moral-vanity-on-wheels at home? If you drive your car to work, will your employer charge you $$$ for plugging that sucker into a socket? How much more coal will have to be burned to supply the electric grid? How much will it cost to replace that battery again? No, don't tell me the battery will last the life of the car. The battery IS the life of the car.

Joe Noory on :

You guys are policy zombies... maybe you can tell me what a "green job" is... beside being a political euphemism that nobody who actually works in industry believes. Otherwise, doesn't "green" fundamentally mean [i]"don't produce, don't consume, but if you do, don't export it any further that a human-powered push cart can take it?"[/i]

Pamela on :

maybe you can tell me what a "green job" is... It's a job that involves transferring taxpayer monies in huge sums to sectors intended to destroy industrial economies. Remember, Joe. The color of money is green.

Joe Noory on :

Step back and look at the weltanschauung of anyone who thinks they can sell the idea that this-or-that is teh way economy and civilization should do, and still declare it a functional economy: until they had to be told that civilization, and everybody else's lives were not there to run, they didn't even try to lie about the economic viability of their ideas. Now, they lie about the economic viability of their ideas, but are some elementary, primitive thinkers, that they believe a subsidy is a legitimate input in establishing whether or not some idea is financially sustainable. Very simply, they are mentally incapable, even when they CAN stay on one "campaign" for for than a few monsth at a time. Otherwise, their world view requires that any and all good things that humanity can do, must naturally start with sucking a huge amount of capital out of the DP part of GDP - the part not yet confiscated by those with no stake in the success of individuals living in the society that they think they dictate their terms on. You might notice that they are often people who, while employed somehow, are not integrated into any producting part of the economy... productive, that is, in the literal sense of being part of the supply or fabrication chain of goods and services produced that supply society's needs. In fact, under the sharp blade of green bunker-mentality thinking, they have to ligitimate clame to use ANY of the resources that do, because they don't contribute in any way to the efficient production of any of those resources. The unstated part of their dictums ultimately boil down to a primitive view that if you didn't work hard enough on the farm today, you don't eat. But that notion doesn't ever apply to themeselves or their stated outlook which imagines a command economy that silences it's population with generous give-aways.

Zyme on :

The military industrial complex might just have made the first step when it comes to returning to Germany: Our beloved defense minister today agreed to what caused a storm of criticism against our former president Koehler, after which the latter resigned. Our country must include its military when it comes to defending our economic interests he said. It will be interesting now to see whether or not Koehler has successfully broken yet another taboo of the old Bonn republic. Here you can take a look at him in action: http://www.spiegel.de/images/image-125285-galleryV9-xllg.jpg He recently even joined our troops at the front in Afghanistan, just to congratulate a soldier fighting on his birthday ;-) In earlier times a strong line of defense against militarism was our ministry for development aid. But given the way our minister there likes to dress himself when touring the Third World, I have my doubts whether that is still up to date: http://www.abendblatt.de/multimedia/archive/00465/niebel1007_HA_Polit_465773c.jpg

Zyme on :

The first picture is our defense minister of course, not Koehler :-)

Joe Noory on :

So what? The entire obsession with "green" identification the natural outcome of a fake crisis.

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