The true Green agenda

Caroline Lucas says:

But we must replace this with targeted investment in the energy efficiency and renewable energy infrastructure we so urgently need to enable us to make a swift transition to a steady-state, zero carbon economy.

\”steady state economy\”.

No growth. Ever. The current level of material wealth enjoyed is all that we Brits will ever be allowed to have. Doesn\’t matter how much better technology gets, or productivity, Caroline Lucas insists that we must not have growth at all: for that\’s what \”steady state\” means.

This entire 250 year experiment in living standards increasing generation by generation is to be dumped, junked, because a PhD in Elizabethan poetry thinks it\’s icky.

Now you might argue that this isn\’t what she means by \”steady state\”….but that\’s what it does mean. You might also argue that such a steady state economy would be a good idea, in which case I would tell you to go fuck yourself right rigid, my speaking on behalf of all the generations to come after us of course.

You might even say that such a steady state economy is the only possible sustainable outcome in which case I would point out that you are sadly misinformed. For the scientific consensus is that the economy will grow between 5 and 11 times in this coming century. That scientific consensus telling us that as long as we can reduce CO2 output (which we clearly and obviously can, as the scientific consensus also tells us) everything is going to be just hunky dory.

What is it about Greens that they refuse to read or understand the scientific consensus? The IPCC reports themselves?

20 thoughts on “The true Green agenda”

  1. I’ve been arguing over my way until blue in the face that there must be continued growth or in the case of Britain, a return to growth – what did it dip in the last quarter?

    Radically reduce taxation on companies, rein in councils and their obnoxious rentals, cut all spending on non-positive things such as chasing smokers and wheelie bin crims, stop the government having “bright ideas”, reinstitute a climate where the start up company is welcome and supported and shoot the politicians.

    That would be a start.

  2. They believe that growth is an artificial thing engineered by governments. They believe that we are wealthy enough- indeed that we should be less wealthy- and it is the government’s job to redistribute the wealth equally. They believe that the desire for more stuff is simply false consciousness engineered by capitalists. They believe that poor people are happier than rich people. They believe that the desire to have more than- to quote a certain Mr Murphy- “enough” is morally depraved and morally corrupting. They believe they can judge what “needs” people have and can satisfy those “needs” and “wants” are an irrational desire for things which are not only not needed but are actively harmful. They oppose abundant food, abundant other goods and services, and leisure itself- idleness is a deadly sin. The person who finds an easier way to do something so they can put their feet up and watch telly for a bit instead of backbreaking toil is a lazy shirker. As George Monbiot said, environmentalism is “the first popular campain for austerity”- “popular” in this instance meaning a priveleged elite browbeating the masses into acquiesence with their moral fervour. They actively and openly seek a society in which an elite of philosopher kings administrate a poverty-stricken (and much reduced in numbers) peasant proleteriat.

    The are not just ignorant, not just stupid. They are evil.

  3. In a static economy, if the population grows faster than increases in producer efficiencies can cope with we will get poorer.

    As a natural consequence of their intentions one of them must surely be population control.

    What I would have thought Caroline Lucas meant is not the above, but an economy that gets enough of it’s resources via renewable/sustainable means that economic growth does no further harm. To the Greens if it is zero carbon it does ‘no harm’ whether it is growing or not.

    In the real world this will just end up being masses of taxation to fund carbon offsetting programmes.

  4. In a static economy, if the population grows faster than increases in producer efficiencies can cope with we will get poorer.

    Er, what makes you think that would happen? The new population decide to use digging sticks instead of ploughs? Hand weaving instead of machine weaving? Sails instead of steam ships? Your assertion doesn’t seem to make any sense at all.

  5. It does not really matter if we do not nothing about CO2 this century. The cost will be a year or two of growth by 2100. People will still be, more or less, 5 to 11 times better off.

    That is of course not to say we should do nothing, but rather measure our response appropriately.

  6. Tim

    Where’s the evidence of concensus we can grow 11 times, contain CO2 and do this whilst running out of oil?

    There is none – it’s your fantasy

    Caroline is actually stating what is true – growth does not make people happier when they have achieved a certain standard of living (which 20% have) so we need to redistribute from those who have done that to those who have not and even you basic grasp of economics will then tell you this results in a net addition to welfare

    Your version is just contributing to disaster

    Richard

  7. Where’s the evidence of concensus we can grow 11 times, contain CO2 and do this whilst running out of oil?

    Growth is an increase in productive efficiency, not an increase in resource utilisation.

    Caroline is actually stating what is true – growth does not make people happier when they have achieved a certain standard of living (which 20% have)

    It is not a matter of “happiness”. Happiness has a limit. It is a transient emotion. Once a person has their desires satisfied, indeed they can’t get much happier. The purpose of growth is not to make people happier (though as more people get their desires fulfilled, they happen to get happier as well).

    Growth occurs because everybody strives for a better deal in life. Everybody seeks to profit- be it employer or worker. In what way they seek to profit depends on their own personal taste. They may prefer more possessions, or more free time, or a perfect rose garden, or the chance to travel, or a happy, healthy family. All these things are profit.

    In their search for desire fulfillment, people naturally make choices which they believe will increase their profit. In so doing, they impose a force on other with whom they interact, as they perform trades. This naturally forces an increase in efficiency. The business does not want to cut prices, but its customers force that upon it. The worker does not want to work harder, but the boss forces him to. Every trader is trying to get the best deal. This forces increases in efficiency.

    The increase in efficiency caused by all this individual action creates “slack”. For instance, a more efficient business may cut staff by improving its efficiency. These redundant staff are now freed up to go and make some other good or service. If they don’t, they’re unemployed and die of starvation. But since they themselves wish to profit, they go and make something else to trade with other people instead.

    Voila, the economy has now grown. Growth is not programmed in by governments or planners, it is what naturally happens when people trade freely.

    The natural consequence of this is that an economy which is not growing has something wrong in it, because it means that peoples’ natural desire for more and better stuff- in their individual actions- is being frustrated in some way. A lack of economic growth is an indicator that something is amiss, just as lack of growth in a plant or a child is an indicator that something is amiss. We do not plan- nor does the government- for our children to grow. We expect it as natural, and thus if they do not grow we presume that something is wrong.

    It also follows inevitably that if you seek to end growth, you are seeking to end all free choice. Nobody must be allowed to prefer a cheaper product, or better product for the same price. No manager may be allowed to improve the efficiency of his business. No worker may increase his productivity. No inventor may invent a new machine, product or material, since any of these might inadvertently improve somebody else’s efficiency and- horror of horrors- create some economic growth. You must trap the economy, and all human society, in amber, utterly unchanging.

    You may be happy with how things are Richard, because you’ve got enough stuff and feel jolly comfortable. Well, I haven’t got anywhere near enough stuff- I sadly do not have your comfortable subsidised lifestyle- and billions of people across the world have shitloads less than me. Many of them face starving to death.

    These people need economic growth. They need to get off their subsistence farms and become more productive, and reap the rewards in abundant food, refridgerators and X-Box Lives or whatever those things are called. Your life may seem to you like it doesn’t need to grow, but those other billions very much need some growth in their lives.

    You seem to have no comprehension of what you are actually proposing. Yours is the kind of creeping evil dressed in fine words. It is easy to eulogise the peasant life- simple folk who have “enough”- but I would bet a silk pajama you would not care to live it for five whole minutes. You portray “libertarians” as “thugs”. Yet it is libertarians who seek a world where everyone is- at least- comfortable in their lives.

    (And since you have previously interpolated Christianity into your philosophy, I will add a little quote

    But Judas sought a world where no-one starved or begged for bread,
    The poor are always with us, Jesus said”.

    (I’m with Judas on that one).

    Happiness? Happiness is a nebulous concept. Perhaps a new sofa doesn’t measure much on the happiness scale to you, but it does to somebody else. We all seek our small happinesses that make life bearable. For those billions in the poor world, happiness would be having a sofa at all, or a fridge stocked with food. They will only get those things when they are properly free to be productive in a free economy. We all know that cannot happen under “sustainable” development and imposed zero growth. We know full well that by their own admission, the environmentalist left have no intention of allowing the darkies to have sofas or refrigerators. These are for wealthy white folks like you, aren’t they Richard? It’s not sustainable for the peasant herd to have such fripperies. Righty?

    You take the moral high ground Richard, but you do not care. You care not for other people, neither the poor in the west or the starving in the Poor World. You would impose a degrading, desperate life on billions which you would not live yourself- preferring to sit in a cosy study typing ignorant religious tracts which please you and your friends. You revel in your denial of basic economic facts because it does not fit your dogma.

    Read a book on economics, Mr. Murphy. And for God’s sake buy a dictionary. We all perpetrate the occasional typo, but please at least make an effort to look as if you are trying to be legible.

    There is somebody out there, right now, in some far away land, dying because of your ignorant creed, Murphy. Somebody who could have lived a healthy, even happy, life who never got the chance because of the illiterate economic voodoo foisted on them by the ignorant demagogues of progressivism. If we are thugs for wanting to avoid that, then I cannot imagine what word is sufficient to describe you who revel in it.

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  9. It’s simple to make everyone happy. Just attach a heroin pump to everyone.

    Since very few people do this, I guess the demand for happiness is lower than our wannabe overlord expects.

  10. What is it about Greens that they refuse to read or understand the scientific consensus? The IPCC reports themselves?

    Well… Apart from the fact that the IPCC reports are unique in the annals of science in that the summary is written by political appointees before the main body of the report, which has to be adjusted to match, it’s basically that the Greens don’t really do “science”.

    The average “green” is passionate, but scientifically illiterate. Hence the success of (IIRC) “Penn & Teller” – who sent a researcher to a big green rally – in getting large numbers of signatures on a petition to ban the “dangerous chemical” DiHydrogenMonoxide [1] on the basis that it is used in both the chemical and nuclear industries, a relatively small quantity can kill you, it’s implicated in “global warming”, it’s become part of the general ecology in that it doesn’t matter how much you wash fruit or vegetables there’s always a residue of it left, etc etc.

    [1] for any greens reading this, DHM is better known as H2O, or water.

  11. Ian

    You’re completely wrong

    I care – about exactly the issues about which you say I am indifferent

    I would love to increase the well being of the poorest in the world

    I would love to increase the well being of the poorest in the UK

    But I also want a world in which my children can live – and quite reasonably fear there may not be one if your greed is satisfied

    I have no idea of your circumstance and you clearly have no idea of mine – or you could not suggest I am subsidised (heaven knows who by)

    I can say a great many in the UK – me no doubt included – have more than enough. I suspect that applies to you too. You may have advertising induced wants. But do you really have needs? I don’t know in your case – I do know that is true of most people. And so yes I openly support higher levels of taxation, the imposition of taxes on luxury goods, restrictions on advertising, and more to restrict consumption because this is a finite world that we are destroying – although you seem to deny it. And I do that precisely because consumer greed in the West (deliberately inflated by the ‘free trade’ you promote – which cannot be ‘free’ as there is no access for most to it) is destroying the opportunity for most – precisely those I care about and want to benefit from reallocation of surplus income and wealth

    Have I read economics? Yes, I have joint honours in it.

    can I spell? yes, usually. But sometimes in haste proof reading errors happen – whoopee – get a life if that’s a problem for you

    But don’t say we can grow forever you seek to deny the laws of physics if you do – and only conventional economists with very little command of maths or science, let alone logic and ethics seem to do that. I guess you’re amongst their number.

    It’s not a happy place for you to be – because it is abundantly clear that your prescription is a disaster

    And – as you well know – it’s aim is to reward those who have – not those who have not – so your claim of concern for the poor cannot be sustained by your adherence to a creed (and that is what your economics is) that very clearly subscribes to rewards for those who already have

    So, I’ll add hypocrisy to the charge list if you like – because without the level playing field that redistributuon on a massive scale will create your proposed ‘free trade’ cannot produce the outcome you claim you desire

    Richard

    Tim adds: Re your joint honours in economics. I seem to recall you saying on your economics blog that you onlypaid attention for two terms and then concentrated on the accounting. Ah well, if you’d stayed with it a little longer you would have learnt the fault in this assertion:

    “But don’t say we can grow forever you seek to deny the laws of physics if you do – and only conventional economists with very little command of maths or science, let alone logic and ethics seem to do that.”

    You don’t seem to understand what GDP measures. It’s the value added in an economy. It is NOT, absolutely NOT, the amount of raw material consumed. It is therefore absolutely possible to continually increase GDP as long as we keep finding new methods of adding value (ie, technology advances) EVEN IF we limit the resource usage in that economy.

    Itmight be worth you checking the writings of Herman Daly, the green economist (or ecological economist as he likes to term himself). He mumbles a bit about this point but it is indeed still there. Economic growth is the process of adding value and there’s no obvious physical or logical limit to that.

  12. I can say a great many in the UK – me no doubt included – have more than enough. I suspect that applies to you too.

    Well. I’d like to go the pub occasionally but cannot afford to. I do not know where I will find the money for the shortly due council tax. I own no property. A motor car is hopelessly beyond my means. I am entirely without disposable income. I cannot afford to go on holiday. Ever. I am currently considering the purchase of a new pair of trainers, since I have had these- my only pair of shoes- for eight years. I recently superglued the soles back on my slippers. My diet consists of one meal and one snack per day.

    How are we doing here? I suspect you have a little more than me. I wonder which of my desires are advertising induced? Do I only want shoes because a nasty capitalist tricked me into not going barefoot?

    I wonder which of the things you have which I do not have (and which I apparently survive without) you consider you were fooled into purchasing by advertising- or does your more comfortable lifestyle all fit into the “needs” category? I find that persons such as yourselves, who generally live in nice houses they own, filled with all manner of trinkets, never seem to be able to name something of theirs which they should get rid of because they were fooled into buying it by capitalism.

    But that’s just me and my boundless greed, no doubt.

    But don’t say we can grow forever you seek to deny the laws of physics if you do – and only conventional economists with very little command of maths or science, let alone logic and ethics seem to do that.

    The only people who claim that capitalism requires “infinite growth” are people such as yourself who use it as a straw man argument. Continual growth is not the same as infinite growth. Neither is there any reason to think we will grow indefinitely. The economy will continue to grow while there are efficiency improvements to be made, and then it stops growing. What we reasonably expect is that there is a lot of growth left to be done.

    I spent some effort in my last comment explaining why growth occurs- it is not planned in, it is a natural consequence of improvements made by individuals- and it should be obvious from that that the growth and improvements go hand in glove- when no further efficiency gains can be made, no further growth occurs nor is required.

    If and when businesses and individuals run out of efficiency gains, they also stop freeing up resources to be used elsewhere- and creating growth. The whole thing is self consistent and self limiting.

    But as it is, there are vast amounts of unused resources in the world- both natural resources and, particularly, labour. There is thus a great deal of growth left in the system. That growth is the only way to create the wealth to lift people out of poverty. The key thing to remember here is that wealth is proportionate to production- that is value creation.

    It is no use redistributing wealth. Wealth is a consequence of production. You need to redistribute, if anything, production. But redistribution is then the wrong policy, because it becomes obvious that the trick is to allow poor people to be more productive. You cannot do that trapping them in subsistence farming without energy sources.

    There are many things in our economy which are wrong. There is a great deal of waste and privelege at the top which steals from productive sectors to fund the follies of the elite. There is corporate patronage that keeps the small businessman down. When one considers that around half of our economy- here in a “rich” country is being taken from the people producing it to spend on the whims of those in power, one realises what a bad state we are in.

    But your answers just make these problems worse. You would steal more and more from the productive, to distribute among your friends. You would subsidise low production at the expense of productivity. Your policies lock poverty into the system. The enviro-left plan to prevent the Poor World developing at all is depraved.

    You cannot create wealth by shifting around what already exists… but then you quite openly do not wish to create wealth. You are openly in favour of keeping the poor poor, because they only have these selfish “wants” instead of your puritanically defined “needs”.

    Well, live the life Richard. Give away what you have- your home, your assets, your income- until you’re in a position where the next council tax bill is something you don’t know how you’re going to pay, and you have to tell your friends you can’t see them for a drink because you can’t afford it.

    See how you like it.

  13. Ian

    Quite absurd

    If your situation is as you describe then my aim is to help people in your situation

    And yes – redistribution is an answer to that – through higher taxes

    Now

    Even if I would pay more

    Richard

  14. If your situation is as you describe then my aim is to help people in your situation

    I don’t want your help. I want people like you to stop wrecking the economy so I get a chance to improve my situation.

    And yes – redistribution is an answer to that – through higher taxes

    No, no it isn’t. Nobody ever gets rich on redistrubitive handouts. The economy just doesn’t work that way.

    Every time your interefering causes another economic train wreck, it is the people at the bottom of the economy who get mashed up. They lose their jobs. Their small businesses fail. The government money goes to their friends in the “too big to fail” category. The current economic mess that has me clinging onto my tiny business for dear life is a direct consequence of state economic intervention- manipulation of the money supply and housing markets. It need never have happened. And what gets blamed?

    “Capitalism”.

    There is one basic truth which is inescapable. An economy consists of persons trading stuff with one another. That is what creates value and thus wealth. Everything else is dead weight.

    Now it may be that a society decides that it wants some of that dead weight- for instance a health service, or care for the disabled, or welfare. And that is all well and good. But it is a lie- a pure lie- to deny that that is economically damaging and to pretend instead it produces economic benefit. It doesn’t. It may well have other merits, but until you accept that these things- these public services you adore- are not the economy, they are a drag on the economy, then you will never get anywhere in understanding how people are going to clamber out of poverty. They have to do it by producing stuff and trading it with other producers.

    That is all there is.

  15. “I have no idea of your circumstance and you clearly have no idea of mine – or you could not suggest I am subsidised (heaven knows who by)”

    We are the same age so have had parallel lives. So my guess is that you bought a house sometime in the 70’s or early 80’s, in which case you will have benefited from MIRAS. A subsidy for the middle class if ever there was one.

    You say you have children. This means you will have benefited from child benifits whether you (well actually your wife) needed them or not.

    So yes, you are subsidised, unless you paid it back, often by those who earn the minimum wage and still pay tax.

  16. My comment on subsidy was referring to the fact that Mr. Murphy is imbedded in the progressive money-go-round via the TJN etc, that great glorious swirling whirlpool of foundation, corporate and state cash that washes every pound note until it’s shiny and clean.

  17. jameshigham:

    You waste a lot of breath. Just shoot the damn politicians–the rest of the program will follow naturally.

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