Tuesday, November 12, 6:30pm
New College Professor Mark Paul will help us understand the policies that are part of The Green New Deal.
The great problem of the 21st century is climate change. It is a problem not for the future but for today: The global community must achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of a warming world. Action on this issue in the US, however, has been stunted by a lack of political will: For half of a century, American politics and policymaking have been guided by a set of economic assumptions that effectively rule out vigorous action by the public sector in response to problems such as climate change. Economists and policymakers have assumed that addressing the climate crisis must involve further sacrifices by those already falling behind—that the only way to reduce carbon emissions is through policies that would drastically lower living standards and economic growth. So climate change has remained, in our political discourse, one problem among others: Small, low-cost steps are taken, but a more comprehensive solution is dismissed as not worth the cost. In this talk, Professor Mark Paul will argue that this framing is wrong. We do not need to choose between a robust response to climate change and meeting people’s material needs today. Under a public-investment-led program a rapid move to a carbon-neutral economy would not imply a fall in living standards for working Americans. On the contrary, in an economy facing persistent demand constraints and weak labor markets, public spending on de-carbonization will raise wages and living standards. The mobilization around a Green New Deal is one of the most exciting developments in US politics in many years. It has created space to move beyond the narrow discussions of environmental policy of the past generation, and to instead discuss a massive mobilization of our collective resources that would benefit the planet, the economy, and everyday people’s lives.
Mark Paul is a political economist working in the areas of inequality, environmental economics, and applied microeconomics. His research is focused on understanding the causes and consequences of inequality and assessing and designing remedies to address it.
Professor Paul is also involved in economic policy in the United States and is currently a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, The Atlantic, Vox, The American Prospect, The Nation, The Hill, and Jacobin, among other publications. Prior to coming to New College he was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.