This is just plain stupid

Of course, it’s supposed to be, but that’s really no excuse.

Al Gore’s green job bonanza – can we afford it? | The Register

So consider what happens when we ‘create’ millions of jobs. Yes, certainly, millions of people then have jobs. That’s wonderful for them of course, although quite why everyone insists that it is a good idea that these are ‘high paying”’ jobs rather escapes: that rather means that whoever is buying their products (i.e., us) is paying more than if they were low paying jobs. But much more important is what is unseen here. What would those people be doing if they weren’t doing these newly created jobs? Something else, certainly, we’ve not just sown dragon’s teeth to create these new workers now, have we? And what was it that they were doing previously?

Things are a little different if all those who take these jobs were previously in involuntary unemployment, but mass unemployment isn’t something that’s all that prevalent in either the US or the UK. Certainly not amongst the skilled workers who would be needed to design, build and install the new glorious renewable energy systems, at least. So all of our new found workforce would have in fact come from doing something else. It doesn’t really matter what else either, not to make the basic point. For we lose whatever else it was that they were doing at the same time as we gain our bright shiny new energy system.

First, note the sleight-of-hand in going from “not all of the people taking jobs making renewable energy would previously have been unemployed” to “all of the people taking jobs making renewable energy would have been previously employed elsewhere.” That’s barely the kind of crock you can call a logical fallacy.

Second, the blithe dismissal of the 8% or so of the US workforce that’s unemployed or underemployed as not worth figuring into the calculations. That’s 10 million people, which is to say several times the number of jobs expected to be created in the green energy biz. Somewhere in there I’m sure we can find a few tens of thousands of engineers, few hundred thousand manufacturing workers, a million or two skilled laborers. Nah, not important.

Third, the mind-bogglingly stupid implicit assumption that every job in the non-green economy is one that absolutely needs doing, else civilization crumbles. All the people figuring out how to kill people in other countries or convince them to daub muck on their underarms really aren’t crucial to the course of civilization. And the ones figuring out how to extract just a little more oil or coal from the ground might be actively inimical to it. So yes, creating jobs in a field that will increase the likelihood that we don’t make a complete self-immolating mess of the planet is good, even — or especially — if it siphons people out of fields that don’t increase that likelihood. Heck, imagine what would happen if it reduced the supply of jerkwads sitting on their asses writing stupid polemics.


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