If it is true, as I have suggested, that Alexandria “Sandy” Ocasio-Cortez considers environmentalist agitation to be a mere means to socializing the nation, then her Green New Deal comes to be seen in a new light.
Sandy appears to condemn most modern methods of production as environmentally incorrect.
Now while disequilibrating entrepreneurship keeps changing the economy, in any short term, a large part of the economy evenly rotates: the same stuff gets produced, sold, and consumed day in and day out. We have under free markets a creative advance, change-amidst-permanence.
New winners and losers emerge every day, along with new and often improved products and techniques. But the economic status quo both cradles, reins in, and disciplines the bringers of novelty.
The methods of production used in most firms are highly sophisticated, utilizing numerous kinds and large amounts of physical capital and complementary labor working according to complex algorithms.
Sandy proposes to abandon all these un-EC technologies (6.A). If the regulations outlaw most existing production processes, then the capital goods and workers’ skills involved in them will be rendered worthless. Equipment will sit there rusting, huge numbers of skilled workers will become unemployed, store shelves will empty, the companies’ stocks will plummet, and many businesses will close.
The new structure of production, such as will be required to “upgrade every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety” (6.A.iii), does not exist and will have to be created from ground up, i.e., from the state of abject poverty — from Crusoe’s economy in the beginning of the story, since the law will have prohibited the use of existing un-EC capital wealth. (The old capital stock is both scarce and partly specific. It will be impossible to up and retrofit most of it for building new goods.) It may take a century for the standard of living of Americans to recover.
It is preposterous to imagine that the federal government can start some sort of a giant enterprise devoted to providing “efficiency, comfort, and safety” for all. But I guess when asked how she will manage this feat, Sandy will just point to the Post Office as her model.
Perhaps Sandy foresees these little complications. If a firm closes for having been regulated out of existence, the government will helpfully step in to buy it. An unemployed technician will find a new job with the feds as a bureaucrat, especially given “a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one.” (6.B.i) Inflation will further transfer purchasing power from the people and private sector to the state.
The private economy will be systematically sabotaged and blown up under environmental pretexts and nationalized thereupon. Sandy’s end goal of socialism is unworkable and destructive; the human suffering during the transition from a semi-free to slave economy is going to be unimaginable; but Sandy and Bernie have got it all figured out.
I always thought that American interventionism was a farce as compared with the tragedy of Soviet socialism; but perhaps another tragedy awaits us after all in the good old US of A.