Perpetuating a myth

The myth of green jobs being a “savior” is same as the myth of the Phoenix: it always rises from the ashes. As I wrote here, it just isn’t so. As written here more recently, even the green industry in California is suffering setbacks. The NextTen authors take pains to note the following:

“Gross Domestic Product (GDP) produced per unit of energy (energy productivity) is 68 percent higher in California than the rest of the nation, which generates billions for the economy. Since 2005 statewide green jobs have grown at a rate ten times faster than total job growth. Green tech venture capital investment nearly doubled in one year, hitting an all-time high of $3.3 billion in 2008…”

Yes, green jobs did grow faster than total, but only because of two factors: they started out very small, and the definition of “green” keeps expanding. Further, California’s GDP is more energy efficient NOT because of mandatory light-bulb-changing programs and the like, but because the structure of our economy changed. We just don’t make things anymore, but have become predominantly a service oriented economy–that’s also why our economy has become more volatile. For that you can read here, and for more caution regarding the desire to spread California energy policy natiowide, here. Finally, many California energy policies simply (albeit not necessarily intentionally) reduce productivity (not the same as levels ofproduction) by requiring more capital or more labor (or both) for a given output. That does not lead to sustainability of jobs created nor of any economic growth.

California’s unemployment rate is higher than the rest of the nation and is approaching 10%; California’s budget deficit is legendary and about to cause constructive-bankruptcy; our rate of home foreclosure is way above the national average. Yet groups like NextTen want the nation to replicate California policy? Bad statistics…

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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