Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

From greed to green

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Speaking at the ILO, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has warned (original press release here; full speech here) that the green shoots of economic revival, as welcome as they are, don’t make for a recovery and that an economy bumping along on the bottom without creating jobs hasn’t really recovered at all.

Several commentators, led last week by the respected National Institute for Economic and Social Research, have argued that the UK has started to emerge from recession, with economic growth in both April and May. National Statistics data published on the same date also suggested that industrial production was on the rise. Nevertheless, with unemployment set to continue to rise, any technical end to recession has still some way to go before its impact on ordinary people is over.

In warning of the dangers of jumping too quickly to conclusions that the recession is over, which perspective he interestingly shares today with the CBI, Barber is, however, more concerned that the re-thinking of the economic fundamentals, entailing a move to a greener economy, for which the TUC has called throughout, is being jeopardised. Barber is concerned most of all – and, here he would no doubt depart from the CBI – that too hasty a talk that the recession is over obviates the need for a re-examination of how we do business and the basis on which we organise our economic affairs.  In the process, we may lose the opportunity to green the UK economy should we believe that a quick return to economic growth means that the model was not, after all, broken.

Building a green economy from the rubble of the greed economy is not only a wonderfully neat slogan, it’s also something that we need to implement in practice if the lessons of the past are to be learned and the future to be preserved. Barber is right to be concerned if that opportunity passes us by before such alternatives have been properly debated and examined – another reason to regret the drawn-out exposés of the past few weeks and the time wasted by the political elites on them.


Written by Calvin

15/06/2009 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Economic trends

Tagged with ,

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