In 2019 the US Congress representative Alexandria Occasio Cortez and US senator Edward Markey put forward a resolution called the Green New Deal. Borrowing the name from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, a massive state-led plan to save the economy from the 1929 crash, the Green New Deal proposes an even more ambitious state plan, this time to save the planet from climate change.
The aim of a net-zero carbon emissions economy within the next thirty years, the argument goes, can only be achieved by huge state intervention. The swift closing down of the oil and gas sectors of the economy will require the state to become the leader in investment planning, and even the guarantor of jobs for everyone.
But what assumptions about the economy, the nature of currency and the role of financial institutions do we need to rethink in undertaking such a project? And what are the ethical challenges in giving the state unprecedented power over our future?
Alex Douglas is lecturer in philosophy at the University of St Andrews, author of The Philosophy of Debt and co-director of The Future of Work and Income Research Network.
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Music by Pataphysical
Artwork by Nick Halliday