Happy Earth Day from Write on Nevada
Today, April 22, is Earth Day. Take a few deep breaths to relax and enjoy the day. Oh, wait.
Let's read about green jobs instead. There's a great new paper out by the Social Science Research Network called Green Jobs Myth. From the abstract:
A rapidly growing literature promises that a massive program of government mandates, subsidies, and forced technological interventions will reward the nation with an economy brimming with green jobs. Not only will these jobs improve the environment, but they will be high paying, interesting, and provide collective rights. This literature is built on mythologies about economics, forecasting, and technology.The whole paper can be downloaded here.
Myth: Everyone understands what a green job is.
Reality: No standard definition of a green job exists.
Myth: Creating green jobs will boost productive employment.
Reality: Green jobs estimates include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic, and administrative positions that do not produce goods and services for consumption.
Myth: Green jobs forecasts are reliable.
Reality: The green jobs studies made estimates using poor economic models based on dubious assumptions.
Myth: Green jobs promote employment growth.
Reality: By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature encourage low-paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by Congress or by the United Nations. Government interference - such as restricting successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests - will generate stagnation.
Let's hope our politicians learn the facts about "green jobs" before they decide they're important and that taxpayers should pay to subsidize them.
On Earth Day, what could be more fitting?
For a more personal account of Earth Day, this blog post by Diane Medved is really interesting.
Recycling, conservation, care for the environment, ecology are well and good. These are terms I've known since middle school. I've separated my newspapers and bottles and cans and wet garbage for decades, though last year our town told us to just dump all the recyclables into the same bin. I can't even bring myself to do it. I happen to be married to a fellow who famously swerves off the road and leaps out of the car to retrieve every stray Starbucks cup or Kleenex.
I reuse tin foil. I wear hand-me-ups. I eat expired food as long as it doesn't smell bad. Waste, in our home, is sin. If it's yellow, we do let it mellow, and some of our guests can, to our chagrin, verify this.
But there's a difference between prudence and thrift and this putrid Green Machine, this hype that throws itself in my face and sticks, dripping down my consciousness like a pitched lemon meringue pie.
Those twisted fluorescent light bulbs I bought? The color hurts my eyes, half of them don't work, and they become toxic waste when they die. Those "green" detergents and cleaning potions are a lot more expensive than white vinegar, Dutch cleanser, baking soda and water.