Tuesday 15 December 2009

A Green New Deal - dead end or pathway beyond capitalism?

from LINKS – International Journal of Socialist Renewal [Originally published in Turbulence, 8 December 2009] A Green New Deal is on everybody’s lips at the moment. US President Barack Obama has endorsed a very general version of it, the United Nations are keen, as are numerous Green parties around the world. In the words of the Green New Deal Group, an influential grouping of heterodox economists, Greens and debt-relief campaigners, such a ‘deal’ promises to solve the ‘triple crunch’ of energy, climate and economic crises. Frieder Otto Wolf, an eco-socialist and early member of the German Green Party, argues that the challenge for the global movements is to hijack the Green New Deal, rather than reject it. Tadzio Mueller, an editor of Turbulence and involved in the Climate Justice Action network, begs to differ. He looks instead to an emerging movement for ‘climate justice’. Turbulence sat the two of them down for a chat, and kicked off the debate by suggesting that a Green New Deal might actually offer a weak-looking global left a great opportunity. The conversation is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission. Tadzio Mueller: Before we start looking at the crisis of the (global) left, and whether or not a Green New Deal[1] might be an opportunity for its rejuvenation, I think there is a more important question to be answered first. Namely: to what extent is such a project a great opportunity for the rejuvenation of global capitalism? Profit rates (with the possible exception of those of bailed-out banks) are at rock bottom. And there is currently nothing – no sector (like cars), no technology (like IT), no process (like ‘globalisation’) – that is promising to push them back up again in the near future. Capital, in other words, is in crisis, and, as Nicolas Stern, author of a report on the costs and opportunities of climate change for the British government, argues, it needs ‘a good driver of growth to come out of this period, and it is not just a simple matter of pumping up demand’.

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