I believe that I have had an epiphany. As with most epiphanies, I have just started to understand some of the implications of climate change on economics, and now have a better understanding of a possible solution for many of the concerns. A solution that at least some others have been thinking about.
The following economic impacts will occur over the time frame of shifting the economy off carbon fuels:
There will be an increase in unemployment. This will be a minor portion of the economy and a continuation of employment reductions from technical changes. The employment changes will be of significant concern to the carbon fuel section of the economy, and sufficient to need consideration and solutions.
The amount of employment for development, operation, infrastructure and maintenance of green energy will be significantly less than for carbon fuels. On the reverse side, we will all be able to sustain a similar, but also better standard of living for less economic cost, because of the lower costs of green energy.
The traditional measure of world progress has been growth in Gross World Product, which is similar to Gross Domestic Product for an individual country.
Gross Product is defined as a standard basket of goods in a standard fixed currency such as “2011 international dollars: (a weighted basket of currencies). Just the definition makes you wonder about the value of this measurement. When you consider today’s technical revolution over time causes increases in the value of an item in the basket and drives down the price, the value of the measurement is meaningless or close to meaningless.
The changes in the energy industry with the switch from carbon to green energy will create an additional significant change for the carbon fuel industry.
However, unemployment remains a problem that needs to be addressed. People equate employment with progress and value of life. We need to find a way to separate employment from value of life. To do this we need to redefine, at a basic level, the value of life to a financially free value with a productive and an enjoyable lifestyle.
The answer is a “basic income” democratic social program where all citizens are guaranteed a basic income, where the only requirement for supplemental payments is if your income is below the guaranteed level.
This would free everybody to be able to choose a creative, productive and enjoyable lifestyle without a bondage sense of financial worry. People receiving basic income would not be defined as “unemployed.” Anyone on basic income seeking employment would be included in the “seeking employment” count. There would not be the same social need for the government to make exceptional efforts to reduce the count.
Bill Stollery is a retired construction manager living in Penticton. An aspiring author “How WE Can Save the World.”