Accused of Ignorance

History of the Green New Deal begins in 2007. The linked article contains names of individuals and groups who endorse it. They all stand accused of ignorance. They all stand accused of advocating socialism, central national planning, national industrial policy and a general authoritarian and totalitarian approach to economic decisions. They all stand accused of being anti-capitalism, anti-freedom and anti-rights. They stand accused of inflating threats and crises. They all stand accused of wanting the power to control everyone, every home, every family and every industry.

Their program if adopted will lead inexorably over the years to ever-stronger and more centralized measures to control the human beings under their control. There are two reasons for this. One is that initial failures are necessary outcomes of such non-market policies. Predictably, the failures and shortcomings that come to light will lead to calls for more adjustments and controls to rectify them. Second is that advocates of these programs are drawn to power over their fellow humans, which is evident by their advocacy of such broad programs in the first place. Not only are they ignorant of how progress is actually achieved, which is why they can believe that their anti-market programs will succeed in making a better world, but also they have the will to dominate their fellow humans. The advocates of New Deals think they know a lot more than everyone else. They lack all humility. They do not think twice about seeking to gain the power to impose their wills on others through new laws.

What are their tools? Taxes, subsidies, penalties, regulations, takings, laws, prisons, fines, capital controls, inflation, government-led “investment”, make work, “development” projects, “research” boondoggles, contracts to favorites, financial incentives directed to favorites, compulsion of all kinds. Political means are not economic means. Politicians are not business entrepreneurs.

Other kinds of criticisms of the Green New Deal can be found here. One category says “no comprehensive cost analysis exists.” What this should say is that no central or national or political cost analysis is even possible.

No national plan of energy production and use can possibly be rational. It’s an economic impossibility for such a plan, even if it ran to several thousand pages as such laws are likely to do, to arrive at goals, returns and costs that assure profitable projects that end up making people happier. The planners can never have the requisite knowledge. That’s spread far and wide and no central planners ever know what it is or where it is. Making people happier by supplying their wants is done through market discovery spurred by profit-seeking decisions. Washington gets fed and fed efficiently and it’s not because anyone on Capitol Hill planned it and commanded it. It’s because of capitalism, and that includes freely made decisions that are made to seek profit. Planners are politically-motivated. They are subject to non-market incentives that do not lead to making goods that make us people happier.

Alterations in energy markets occur through the plans and speculations of the “market”, which means millions of individuals who are making individual decisions based upon their wants, what they aim to produce and consume, their knowledge of current prices and costs, their knowledge of alternative means of production, their existing capital, and their estimates of what the future holds.

The originator of the Green New Deal, Thomas L. Friedman, had the wrong concept:

“…we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid — moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables. And that is a huge industrial project — much bigger than anyone has told you. Finally, like the New Deal, if we undertake the green version, it has the potential to create a whole new clean power industry to spur our economy into the 21st century. [Emphasis added.]

He has two errors in his thinking about energy changes. He thinks wrongly that they can be accomplished by a NEW DEAL that WE undertake COLLECTIVELY through FORCE of laws and GOVERNMENT. They can’t be, however. Government cannot possibly make us more prosperous and happier by imposing upon us its ideas of energy production, distribution and use. It doesn’t have the incentives that occur in free markets and it doesn’t have the knowledge.

Friedman’s second error is in thinking that such “huge” changes as he desires can only be accomplished by government. He disregards the nature of free markets altogether in thinking that it’s one big “industrial project” that means one “whole new clean power industry” and that a New Deal is necessary. It isn’t.

The Green New Dealers stand accused of ignorance. In no better standing are those moderates who will sign on to parts of the program.


1:30 pm on January 6, 2019