So, here, O Good People of Earth, is the manifesto of New Consensus – the braintrust behind the Green New Deal. Commentary follows:
THE WORLD NEEDS A NEW WORLDVIEW
A truly beautiful world is possible—one without poverty or pollution, and with prosperity and dignity for everyone. Humanity has everything it needs to build that world in a single generation: billions of creative, hard working people, technology that already can allow us to make a comfortable living safely and sustainably, and unlimited energy from the sun that we can now harness to power that technology.
The obstacles to getting there are political, not technical. Entrenched, backward-looking political elites fight to keep the world as it is. An equally-powerful blocker is their reigning consensus—called neoliberalism or “the Washington Consensus”—that drives their thinking on economics, government, technology, labor and business. Over a period when multiple existential threats to life as we know it have emerged into plain view, the Washington Consensus has deliberately sought to paralyze societies to prevent them from acting collectively.
Finally a new consensus is rising. It is driven by a new generation of thinkers and leaders who recognize that governments and other public institutions have played a critical role every time a national economy has renewed and reinvented itself—not only by setting rules, but also by setting goals; not only by building infrastructure, but also by investing in new industries; not only by protecting rights, but also by materially correcting historic injustices.
New consensus thinkers are exploring how government and other public institutions can lead the transition to a green economy, close wealth and income gaps between groups, spearhead innovation and research, kick-start new high wage industries, and more.
We are a global, distributed network of academics, creators, activists, leaders and entrepreneurs working to make the new consensus the standard operating system for national economies around the world.
Nice ring, no?
[First, let’s give credit to the Green Party & Jill Stein, who hatched #GND meme.]
A sweepingly grand vision into which almost everything can be bundled… all the aims and claims of the post-60s Left… And a path to long-term power by guaranteeing jobs, justice and security for the masses? “What’s not to like?”
Short of paper-length unpacking — tough, cuz it’s all in-motion, below is stuff that sounds kinda good, on the surface, in theory, with some initial constructive criticism:
- Getting (mostly) off of fossil fuels. Renewables AT SCALE will have their own waste footprint & other enviro impacts (rare metals mines 100x & regional cobalt-nickel-magnesium proxy wars? Extreme lithium extraction…) that remain invisible for the moment. Only the Deniers are talking about it. But, still, prob better than coal, oil and anything fr*cked.)
- Infrastructure electrification (nice, but — need Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) hardening at key nodes & ability reboot the grid core, please – insurance against future EMP wars (nukes are so messy & oldschool) & solar Coronal
Mass ErectionsEjections (CMEs); networked microgrids managed by CCAs might get us most of the way there, as long as they too have shielding around core controls – we don’t really know how bad CMEs can get — hey future R&D funding streams for astrophysicists!)
- Massively boosted R&D funding. Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), long-term storage, graphene-this-that-&-the-other, hydrogen storage, perovskite PV, hemp-batteries! Yeah, but don’t leave out cold fusion & small thorium reactor pilots for baseload – 50% seems doable, but there is still ZERO evidence that renewables+storage can go over 70-80% — “a massive experiment” (& a few sunny lucky days in Germany, or year-round in Costa Rica don’t count, sorry!) – all on the assumption, of course, that true ZPT/aether/antigrav tech will not be made public for decades to come, for whatever reasons we can only speculate in some other thread. Plus, Net Energy Research – desperately needs a bit more vetting. Plus, Hazel Henderson’s qualitative econ-metrics?
- Plus, …Public works programs for building efficiency and restoration of soil and damaged ecosystems (HEMP for fabrics w no pesticides! HEMP to extract heavy metals from brownfields! HEMP instead of trees for TP, junkmail & packaging! HEMP for the honeybees! Myco-remediation scale-up!), incentives for small family organic farms, swales & berms to catch water restore the hydrological cycle, moderate local temps, and prevent surface erosion — that would be super-rad and receive few objections;
- … all tied to shoring up the social safety net and righting ancient crimes of the honky patriarchy … (re jobs-impact of AI > UBI, we like the alternative idea, to make survival infrastructure cheap to free, rather than UBI dole)
But the big question – “How to Pay for It All?”
Sure, tax their ass, capital gains, estate tax, whatever. But if that ain’t enuff: Pay for it with a TRANSACTION TAX on every single derivative – the “notional” global debt balloon is something like $400 Trillion, last we heard. All those bazillion nanosecond algo bids, tax each and everyone… Dial down the Global Casino, thereby? Also, delete subsidies for the oil & gas industry, except those for low income users in cold states with their funky old diesel gensets & heaters. Also, let the Fed give zero interest rate loans to “Green Infrastructure Public Banks — they had no qualms about giving it out to the big investment banks, did they? & anyone lucky enough to be close to their “Window.” Also, if that’s not enough, re-hypothecate all that hidden gold from WWII – why not, for the umpteenth time!
<Bias_Reveal>…So, as a lower-case @narchistically-slanted hominid-microbial mobile-water packet, we reluctantly recognize the probability is that Evil Big Govt will be there in one form or the other for the foreseeable future [plus, truth be told, this writer stands to benefit personally, via daygig]…</Bias_Reveal>
… as someone once said, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”
Short of a complete overthrow of the current financial / oligarchic / milindustrialsurveillancestate, a well-designed and rolled out Green New Deal could be about the best “we” (whoever that is — in superhero-ese, the Planet?) can get, politically, near term — again , depending on how it is worked up: the scientific underpinnings of the various pieces of the platform, the political viability of the various pieces, the economic assumptions it complies with — or challenges. But it’s a complex bucket of initiatives and mechanisms, and the background politics are not yet totally clear.
For example: will AOC&Co, Justice Democrats, New Consensus support vigorous open debate on the true unknowns, uncertainties and challenges of climate, energy tech and energy-economics? Or will they tow the PC Party-Line, demanding lockstep conformity, picking “tech winners” and awarding research bucks to all the enviro/social justice NGOs & their credentialed ‘boffins’? True, most of the progressive left will go with most of the package. But how much of the now 1/3-sized independent vote will it enroll?
It will take 2-3 years to see the real stripes of the new crowd in Congress. Obama was a perfect Corporate Manager/Front-Man for the National Security State. This crew? …patience…. questions ahead…
& YO – just so you know: we are hyper-left / fluorescent-green doubters of the “CAGW Mono-Narrative,” which, we are 97.5% certain, functions — unconsciously for most, intentionally for a few — as a collective deflection or mis-direction. [Stay tuned for Planet Hot or Not? the exhaustive critique which will forever exile this site to Cultural No-Mans-Land 🙂 ]
— Rud.E. NegaWatt,
Executive Policy Committee,
Pink & Purple Polka-Dot Pirate Parrot Party