A key challenge is that many of the jobs that have high levels of GHG emissions per employee are highly-paid unionized jobs. This must be addressed with “just transition” plans that support workers as they change to sustainable careers. In contrast, many service sector jobs may have a small carbon footprint, but are low paying and provide little job satisfaction. For a green industrial revolution to truly fulfill its potential, green jobs must be synonymous with decent work.Another is "the principle that prices should tell the truth about costs." In principle, I like that principle. But what does it mean in practice?
The principle that prices should tell the truth about costs of production (e.g. that environmental costs should be factored in) is fundamental to the shift to a sustainable economy.A third puzzle has to do with "vested interests" who allegedly are embedded in government decision-making. Are these the same vested interests Veblen talked about in The Vested Interests and the Common Man ("A vested interest is a marketable right to get something for nothing.")?
The Canadian government needs to take a leading role in coordinating climate, industrial and labour market policies that are integrated, coherent and consistent. While much of the emphasis of climate action has been at the individual level, in fact many of the broad changes that dramatically reduce emissions are structural in nature, and thus requires collective action. To pull off an industrial revolution in the span of decades will require careful planning and clarity of the ultimate objective of eliminating fossil fuels in the Canadian economy. The single largest barrier to achieving this is not technology, but the embeddedness of vested interests from Canada’s resource extraction sector in government decision-making.It seems to me that while the report calls upon the Canadian government to pursue integrated, coherent and consistent climate, industrial and labour market pollicies, it declines to integrate its own labour market and climate prescriptions. To be blunt, the report calls for workers to be compensated according to moral criteria of justice and decency while everything else is priced according to Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates.
The Sandwichman is all in favour of justice and decency, but for the sake of coherence it would be nice to know what the "true cost" of justice and decency is in terms of their carbon footprints. It would be more than nice; it would be indispensable to the proverbial true-cost pricing scheme. Meanwhile, over at Crooked Timber they've been discussing Red Plenty by Francis Spufford. The inside jacket cover says:
Strange as it may seem, the grey, oppressive USSR was founded on a fairytale. It was built on the twentieth-century magic called 'the planned economy', which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that the lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late 1950s, the magic seemed to be working.The thing about this "Green Industrial Revolution" is that it "will require careful planning and clarity of the ultimate objective" relying, at its very core, on a "comprehensive national industrial strategy, including green jobs and capital plans" and on calculated prices that, in theory, fully embed social costs but in practice rely on assumptions and judgments of economists that “go well beyond the usual boundaries of science or economics.”
So, given the superficial similarities between "Red Plenty" and the "Green Industrial Revolution" (or Green Plenty) it is fair to ask what are the differences? Well, for one thing, the Bolsheviks were in power in the USSR and, secondly, the Soviet fairytale was congruent with an avowed Marxist-Leninist ideology regarding the "forces and relations of production." In contrast to the CCCP, the CCPA is not in power and is not (overtly, at least) Marxist or Veblenian.