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Where is Your Green Job Now?


Here's a funny story from Spain.  So an economist walks into a bar.... and says that if the government tried to make a green economy that would fail.  And everyone thought that was silly.  And it turned out the economist was totally right.

See? It's funny because it's true.  And it's kind of what we've all been saying all along.

Investors Business Daily brings us this tale of imaginary jobs, wasted money, and bad economies:

A Spanish economics professor said attempts by his country to create a green economy would fail. Now a Spanish government report confirms his findings, blunting claims that the professor's report was biased.

The professor, Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of Juan Carlos University in Madrid, produced a 41-page study last year on the European experiment of going full bore on the conservation front. He found that "the Spanish/EU-style 'green jobs' agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs." [emphasis added]

For every green job created by the Spanish government, Alvarez found that 2.2 jobs were destroyed elsewhere in the economy because resources were directed politically and not rationally, as in a market economy.

I had been really wondering, for a long time now, how the green job math worked.  We have a lot of people who are unemployed right now, but the Administration sees green jobs for everyone in a glorious employed future.  However, at the same time we're trying to put traditional energy producers, like coal powered electric plants, out of business - that's a lot of lost jobs there.  If the people without work are given the green jobs, we're still left with a lot of people who still don't have jobs.

It's like the administration is trying to divide by zero: can't be done.  Workers, divided amongst zero jobs is impossible - and not what the government should be doing anyway.   Especially not at these prices when we're already drowning in debt:

Obama says the grants will create 17,000 cleantech jobs. Well, get out your calculator. $2.3 billion for 17,000 jobs equals $135,294 per job. (And that’s not including the eventual interest on this deficit spending). Those green jobs had better pay well over six figures to justify that expense.

Not to worry, the administration has a plan to solve this, too. It wants Congress to approve another $5 billion for “tens of thousands” more green jobs.

Alvarez's point above, that job destruction came about because "resources were directed politically and not rationally, as in a market economy" is of particular note.  FreedomWorks' chief economist, Dr. Brough, repeatedly talks about how government doesn't have the information that individuals, who are participating in the market, have to propery manage the economy or alocate resources.  Stepping out of the way and letting the market determine our energy needs and choices could go alot further toward achieving a sustainable job market than government meddling and spending.

But that's not all the bad news, the report continues:

"The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices," the professor told the press.

FreedomWorks consistently rails against the EPA and cap and trade because of just this: if it costs too much to do business here, those industries that can will leave.  Those that would have a harder time leaving, like small businesses will be stuck. And if they can't absorb these higher costs, will close.

From the way back machine, does a good job of explaining what is really going on with green jobs policies:

Unfortunately, those arguing for "green jobs" as a salvation of the economy have fallen into one of the most fundamental economic fallacies, which is known as the " broken window " fallacy.


You can see the truth by considering the extreme: would a city be better off if someone went around one night and smashed all the windows?  Think about all the work this would create for repairmen, the glass factory, the street-sweepers, insurance adjusters, and so on.  That's obviously ridiculous; sheer destruction is not good for the economy, quite the opposite.  Creating jobs just to fix something that broke is not helpful overall; breaking things adds to costs without providing any benefits.  Mother Nature tried something quite similar in New Orleans; the results speak for themselves.

That's exactly what the Democrats are proposing.  We are already generating electricity, say, and manufacturing clothes.  We are driving cars, and turning on lights, and doing all the other things that are part of modern society.  By requiring what we do now to be replaced with something new and more environmentally correct that accomplishes nothing more than what was there before, the government would not make society richer; in effect, it would be breaking everybody's windows to create jobs.

Given the evidence, it's hard to see why we're still determined to pin our hopes on the mythical green job.