5 September 2012
An example is a recent report from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation called Beautiful Green World: on the Myths of a Green Economy. In the following sentence it abandons the attempt to ensure that the green economy will be founded on social justice rather than the maximisation of profit:
'The green economy therefore does not mean that the protection of people and the environment substitutes the drive for profit. Rather, in the world of the green economy the generation of profit remains the necessary condition of all economic activity, and environmental protection is subordinated to it.'
I could not disagree more and I think it is a disastrous idea to concede this turf to the capitalists.
report from the Green Alliance: Green Economy: A UK Success Story. This attempts to argue for investment in the green economy to save the economy from recession and stimulate growth. It grows out of exactly the same competitive, growth-driven mentality that has created the ecological crisis. The message to policy-makers is that Britain can compete most effectively and make the most profits from prioritising the green economy. While it is immensely encouraging to see how the green sectors are flourishing in the midst of recession, this framing is not helpful.
It is a fine line between calling for investment in better-insulated homes and rail networks while rejecting the idea of green growth, but I find the concept of transitional investment helpful here. If money (and energy) invested now can ensure that we will be able to enjoy a good life with a lower investment of energy in the future then it can be justified. Just as we have had to hold onto the meaning of sustainability, as it has been disfigured into 'sustainable development' and even emptied of meaning other than something that lasts for a year or two, so we should not abandon the use of the phrase 'green economy' while rejecting any association with oxymorons such as 'green growth'.