Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Giddens on a new kind of growth

Just stumbled on this piece written by Anthony Giddens in Huffington post as part of the launch of his new book on the politics of climate change:

"Jobs will be created not so much through renewable technologies themselves as through the lifestyle changes that coping with climate change and energy security will bring about. Sensibilities will change and with them tastes. The new economy that will emerge will be even more radically post-industrial than the one we have now. It will be up to entrepreneurs to spot the economic opportunities that will come about with expansion -- much in the same way as ways were found to revitalize dockland areas where shipping industry has evaporated away.

Pondering what form recovery from recession should take should cause us to think seriously about the nature of economic growth itself, at least in the rich countries. It has been known for a long while that, above a certain level of prosperity, growth does not necessarily lead to greater personal and social welfare. Now is the time to introduce more rounded measures of welfare alongside GDP and give them real political resonance. Now is the time for a sustained and positive critique of consumerism that can be made to count politically. Now is the time to work out how to ensure that recovery does not mean a reversion to the loads-of-money society.

The period of Thatcherite deregulation is over. The state is back. We will need active industrial policy and planning, in respect to economic institutions but for climate change and energy policy as well".