Global Research, August 22, 2021
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These days there is no shortage of hype surrounding the “Green New Deal” (GND). The “Green New Deal” has become a major buzz-phrase that has ensnared many along the way.
Like so many top-down schemes, the GND is being promoted by many world leaders in unison. This alone should be worrisome. History shows that this is usually a red flag. Few pro-social things come out of movements that are not real grass-roots movements. These world leaders are the main representatives of the international financial oligarchy—a tiny ruling elite obsessed with maximizing private profit no matter the damage to society and the environment. These are the same forces responsible for tragedies such as high levels of inequality, poverty, unemployment, under-employment, inflation, debt, homelessness, hunger, racism, war, occupation, pollution, de-forestation, anxiety, despair, alienation, depression, and suicide worldwide.
The GND is being presented by the rich and their political and media representatives as something great for society and humanity; everyone is under pressure to “just embrace it.”
The GND uses the “New Deal” language of the 1930s and ostensibly addresses climate change, inequality, energy efficiency, job creation, labor rights, racial injustice, and other social aims. This includes a GND for public schools, healthcare, and housing as well.
The GND is supposed to improve conditions for humanity and help us all “build back better”—a major slogan of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is dominated by millionaires and billionaires. Alongside this disinformation, the WEF is also promoting disinformation about “reinventing capitalism” to fool the gullible. The GND is supposedly rooted in the principles of economic justice, puts the planet ahead of profits, and provides a “blueprint for change.” It is said that Green Projects will cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Europe has its own version of the GND. “Variations of the [“Green New Deal”] proposal have been around for years,” says the New York Times. The so-called Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was introduced more than 20 years ago, for example. In 2007, the imperialist journalist, Thomas Friedman, wrote the following in the New York Times:
If you have put a windmill in your yard or some solar panels on your roof, bless your heart. But we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid – moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables. And that is a huge industrial project – much bigger than anyone has told you. Finally, like the New Deal, if we undertake the green version, it has the potential to create a whole new clean power industry to spur our economy into the 21st century. (See this)
Pollution, inequality, and 50 other problems have worsened since this observation was made 14 years ago. The quote rejects economic science and fails to help workers, youth, students, women, and others make sense of the economy in a way that favors their interests.
GND Means More PPPs and Tragedies
“Green New Deal” goals are to be attained through “joint” public sector and private sector “investments.” The disinformation from the rich is that the public can’t achieve the lofty goals of the GND on its own and that “investors” from the so-called “efficient,” “entrepreneurial,” “innovative,” and “smart” private sector are needed to achieve these big goals. It is by working “together” that “we” will supposedly achieve what the GND sets out to do. “New Deals” are purportedly too big for either sector to pull off alone and thus some sort of “partnership” or “alliance” is “needed.”
In reality, private competing owners of capital are unwilling and often unable to pay for major infrastructure projects and want the government to guarantee them big investments and returns using the public purse. PPPs essentially guarantee risk-free profits for various monopolies and further diminish control of the economy by workers and the public. PPPs enable major owners of capital to seize more of the added-value produced by workers through “infrastructure projects” guaranteed by the state at public expense. This further enriches a handful of people, intensifies inequality, and leaves workers and the public with less wealth and less control over the economy.
This is not how “partners” work. This is how an unequal relationship works.Corona and the End of the Neoliberal Era?
Terms such as “alliance” or “partnership” are designed to fool the gullible and hide the enormous financial gain made by a handful of billionaires through PPPs that purport to advance the goals of the GND. In this, way the door is nonchalantly and pragmatically opened to imposing private alien claims on the wealth produced collectively by workers. The rich are given greater access to public funds and resources that belong to the public, all in the name of “partnership.” We are to believe that without a “Public-Private-Partnership” the GND will not become reality, meaning that the GND is possible only if the ultra-rich pocket more public wealth and resources. This is cynically called a “win-win.”
“Public-Private-Partnerships” promote the illusion that the public sector and the private sector can harmonize their philosophies, interests, aims, operations, activities, and results when in fact PPPs are antisocial, antiworker, and undercut a modern nation-building project.
The public and private sectors cannot be partners; they rest on different foundations, goals, world outlooks, operations, and legal frameworks; they are different categories and phenomena with different properties and characteristics. These differences are not trivial and cannot be reconciled or harmonized. Don’t believe neoliberals and privatizers whey they self-servingly claim that the two distinct spheres can “work together.”
Public and private are antonyms; they mean the opposite of each other; they are not synonymous. Public refers to everyone, non-competition, transparency, the common good, and society as whole (e.g., public parks, beaches, and roads). The public is pro-social and human-centered. It approaches life and relations with a big modern vision. Private refers to exclusivity, for a few, not for everyone, and usually involves rivalry and hierarchy. Private is also often associated with secrecy, not transparency, especially in business. The private sector pertains to relations between private citizens, whereas the public sector has to do with relations between individuals and the state. This distinction is critical. These spheres represent two profoundly different domains. The rights belonging to each sector are different.
Blurring the critical distinction between public and private should be avoided at all costs. It is irresponsible and self-serving to treat the public and private as being synonymous and easy to harmonize without big disadvantages for the public. The public does not benefit from blurring this distinction. The public suffers when the dissimilarity between public and private is obscured and not grasped in its depth.
PPPs conceal harsh irreconcilable class differences and interests in society. They reinforce a “no-class” outlook of society and, in doing so, distort reality at the ideological level, leaving many disoriented, unclear, and confused about their interests, which makes them vulnerable to disinformation from the rich and their media. In the world of PPPs, everyone is merely a “stakeholder.” There are no workers or owners of capital. There are no antagonistic irreconcilable social class interests. There are no classes and class struggle. There are no millionaires and billionaires on one side and workers on the other side who produce all the wealth of society.
Not surprisingly, PPPs form a big part of the antisocial “Great Reset” agenda of the world’s billionaires, which has been publicly articulated by the main leaders of the World Economic Forum such as Klaus Schwab. Many prime ministers, presidents, and prominent state leaders around the world continue to parrot the same tired slogans of the “Great Reset” agenda.
In practice, PPPs use the neoliberal state to funnel more public funds than ever to the private sector under the banner of “partnerships” and “making the world better for everyone.”
This funneling of more public funds to narrow private interests will not only solve no problems, it will intensify many problems that are already serious. The existing all-sided crisis will keep deepening under such a set-up.
As a main form of privatization, the “Green New Deal” will significantly intensify inequality, increase costs for everyone, reduce efficiency and quality, lessen accountability and transparency, increase corruption, and diminish the voice and wealth of workers and the public. It will not enhance democracy or improve the environment in any way because it will further concentrate greater economic and political power in even fewer hands, if that is even possible at this point in history. Funneling more public funds, assets, and authority to competing private interests in a highly monopolized economy is a disaster for the social and natural environment. It is the claims of workers, the public, and society that must be expanded and affirmed, not the narrow claims of competing owners of capital obsessed with maximizing their own profits at the expense of everyone and everything else.
The “Green New Deal” will not challenge the entrenched class privilege of the rich. It will not increase the power of workers or give them greater control of the wealth they produce. It will not make the economy more pro-social, balanced, diverse, and self-reliant. Pollution and de-forestation will still persist under the GND. Experience has repeatedly borne out that capital-centered environmental plans and activities ensure that things keep going from bad to worse.
A 2016 United Nations report highlights many ways that PPPs undermine the public interest and produce more problems. Global Policy Forum states that:
PPPs are used to conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies. Private sector corporations must maximize profits if they are to survive. This is fundamentally incompatible with protecting the environment and ensuring universal access to quality public services. (See this)
Public and private simply do not go together. The organization In The Public Interest offers many reports, articles, and documents that expose how PPPs harm the public interest and benefit major owners of capital at the public expense. Numerous other organizations around the world have also described and explained how PPPs make things worse for the public while enriching a handful of people.
In the context of a continually failing economy, competing owners of capital have no choice but to cloak their egocentric drive to maximize private profit by seizing public funds from the state as a “win-win” for everyone, as something great for the natural and social environment. The neoliberal state is increasingly being used to divert public funds and assets to major owners of capital as they compete with each other for domination of the economy in an increasingly unstable and dangerous environment. The old ways of profit-taking are no longer as lucrative as before, so the rich have to use PPPs to seize public funds for private financial gain under the banner of “working together” to “build back better.”
As always, the rich will not brook any opposition to their narrow private interests. They will not support anything that places a greater portion of the social wealth in the hands of those who actually produce the wealth of society: workers. They will continue to act like they have a natural right to the wealth produced collectively by workers.
Major owners of capital have no human-centered interest in improving the environment or social conditions. They pragmatically strive for what will best serve their narrow private interests and class privilege without any consideration for the well-being of all sectors of the economy as a whole. Modern nation-building cannot take place in such a context. The human-centered resolution of social, economic, and environmental problems requires confronting powerful private interests and their outdated economic system if humanity is to have a bright future.
To fix the economy and to reverse social and environmental problems requires a public authority worthy of the name. There is no reason why a real public authority cannot use the wealth and resources produced by workers to improve the social and natural environment for the nation. Planned public investment for the public and for modern nation-building is not possible under the direction and influence of competing owners of capital obsessed with maximizing private profit. Such forces are only looking out for their narrow interests, not the needs of a balanced self-reliant crisis-free economy that consistently and responsibly raises the material and cultural well-being of all.
There is no need to involve powerful private interests in social programs, social investments, or green projects. The rich are not only the cause of many problems the GND ostensibly seeks to remedy, they also have no valid and legitimate claim to any public funds, resources, and assets. The rich mainly seize and control the wealth produced by workers; they themselves do not produce the wealth of society.
The rich are an historically superfluous and exhausted force blocking social progress. Without the rich, their entourage, and their outdated political and economic system, the social product could be wielded by people themselves for the benefit of the natural and social environment. The impact of this shift and change on time and space would be monumental.
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Shawgi Tell, PhD, is author of the book “Charter School Report Card.” His main research interests include charter schools, neoliberal education policy, privatization and political economy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
17 July 2020The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Dr. Shawgi Tell, Global Research, 2021