Climate March Links: Industrial Policy!


A few items in advance of this weekend’s Climate March in NYC:

(1) Ron Baiman of the Chicago Political Economy Group sent us this:

I’m sometimes asked: What is industrial policy?

This article (“Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind”) by Justin Gillis of the New York Times shows what industrial policy is. If Germany, a country with little sun, and little wind-swept land mass can do it, we all can! In fact as the article notes, German (and Chinese) industrial policies are bringing prices down and making these planetary saving technologies economically viable for all of us.

Instead of fighting for a mythological and nonsensical “free market” we should be doing the same. Industrial policy is necessary to move the massive “collective action” transformations necessary forward. Even Elan Moss’ battery factory in Nevada is going to be funded with a substantial share of (extorted) state subsidies. It’s unfortunate that this kind of “shake down” (or defense appropriations) is how its done in the U.S.–not a good method that often results in unwarranted subsidies to private business. I have not analyzed the battery deal, but it does appear to at least have the potential to create some good jobs and high tech manufacturing in the U.S. after decades of outsourcing. See CPEG long-time advocacy for “green technology” industrial policy here, here, and here.

(2)  Burlington, VT:  Via, originally from DailyKos:  Vermont’s Largest City Now Using 100% Renewable Energy Sources. Reported also in Business Insiderthe Boston Globe, and the Washington Post. The DailyKos piece also talks about Germany’s achievements for energy independence, as does…

(3) Christian Parenti on Behind the News.  The second hour of the most recent (posted) episode of Doug Henwood’s excellent radio show Behind the News (click here, click play, and scroll to the second hour, or listen to the whole thing!) has an interview with Christian Parenti about his article on the Jacobin website, Reading Hamilton from the Left. The discussion of Jefferson and Hamilton (Parenti is arguing that Hamilton was far more progressive) is good, but the (later) part on Hamilton as kind of the father of develomentalism–government intervention in the capitalist economy–and Parenti’s point that Hamilton-esque policies are needed to address climate change–are really great, and relates to Ron’s piece (above) about industrial policy. (Reminded me of Jim Cypher’s piece in our March/April 2013 issue about Brazil’s “neodevelopmentalism”–though there the industrial policy isn’t being marshalled to combat climate change, quite the contrary.)

One of the most interesting bits is his point that one key way the gov’t could spur alternative energy is as a major consumer–if in compliance with the Clean Air Act the government started running all those fleets of government vehicles and all those government buildings on alternative energy, that would create a market for such energy and spur development of clean-energy technology–which is what Germany (and Spain, and Portugal) are doing. (Add to this that the U.S. government, and the U.S. military, is the world’s biggest polluter, as we documented in Bob Feldman’s great piece War on the Earth more than ten years ago, and there is plenty the government could do.)

(4) National Jobs for All Coalition flyers again:  In my last post I gave a link to the NJfAC great Green Jobs for All flyer. which also proposes government intervention to address climate–via government-created green jobs (addressing the jobs crisis at the same time). Here’s more encouragement for people to print these up and distribute them at the march.

Ok, that’s it for now. Enjoy the march, for those of you who are going!

–Chris Sturr