So, green jobs are a bad thing, are they?
Right-wing blogger (that’s the politest I can be) Tim Worstall writes in the online version of the magazine for millionaires, Forbes, that the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) have got it all wrong about green jobs. In the strange world of Worstall, it’s a bad thing that green industries could produce 48 million jobs in the 12 countries* studied by the ITUC. Because jobs cost money, see, so they’re “a cost, not a benefit”.
It’s often difficult to identify unconscious self-parody (after all, what he says may explain the thinking behind policies like the EU fiscal pact and the UK government’s austerity policies), but what Tim says is that jobs are definitely a cost to employers because they have to pay the wages (er, don’t they get the profits out too, so actually most jobs are net benefits even to employers? Moving on…) But jobs are also a cost to the people who do them, because otherwise they could be living it up and relaxing (Tim does grudgingly accept that this might be difficult without a wage coming in, but remember, this is Worstall’s world we’re in now).
Arguments that unemployment costs us all because it requires public services to be provided with less tax revenue, and unemployment and other state benefits being paid out are, I suspect, unlikely to cut much ice with Tim, because I suspect he sees tax, public services and benefits as bad things too.
So let’s tiptoe quietly away from Worstall’s world, back to the real one where it would be a good thing if 48 million jobs were created from greening our economies, because it would help save the planet, produce remunerative (and, hopefully, fulfilling too) work for millions of people and an income for them and their families, as well as the tax revenues needed to start rebuilding welfare states. Some people may even make a profit out of it too. Although I’d advise against using those profits to buy a subscription to Forbes until they get a better class of writer….
* The countries are Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Brazil, Dominican Republic, USA, South Africa, Ghana, Tunisia, Indonesia, Nepal, Australia.