An article in the Fairfax papers today asks how we proceed to make sure that regions don’t suffer too much as a result of the inevitable triumph of renewables and the consequent demise of coal. The article represents the views of the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA), which is funded a hundred or so firms including the usual virtue signallers: BHP, Rio, Qantas, AGL, IKEA, Shell and so on as well as charity agitators like World Vision and Care.
For Australia the article sees closures in the coal areas as inevitable as a result of technology and low carbon policies’ “disruption” (see how the social engineers hijack the contemporary version of Schumpeterian language to describe a process that has nothing to do with entrepreneurial developments).
GCNA’s answer is to follow the German blueprint and not the American one. The latter in the Appalachians, we are told, subsidised coal but its inevitable closure left an economic wilderness as its legacy. Germany in the Ruhr
‘ramped up its community and social infrastructure efforts. It built modern infrastructure, tertiary institutes, cultural and leisure industries. It played to the region’s logistical strengths, building up packaging and transport industries’ and, of course, ‘developed environmental jobs and eco-tourism’.
The article claims the $266 million package given for the Hazelwood closure is not nearly enough and wants to see coordination and far more spending.
Anyone following trade policy over the past 30 years will be aware, unlike the article’s author, of the colossal subsidies that Germany gave to shore up its increasingly uncompetitive coal mines. And the history of government promotion of particular areas is decidedly mixed – especially in Australia where the millions of dollars pumped into the Multifunctionpolis all got buried in a swamp near Adelaide.
Nowadays eco-tourism is the key to resurrecting any area being killed by government agriculture, mining and energy policies. The Victorian Government and its economic advisers even see it as the salvation of gold mining, on which they are attempting a pre-emptive strike by closing off land to economic and those recreational activities they deem as too intrusive. Invariably, eco-tourism’s promoters have some Roussauian agenda of returning us all to the idyllic noble savage.
But what of GCNA itself?
It offers 10 principles that its funders must accept. Like the British Labour Party constitution of yesterday, the first few of these are about being kind to children, old people and puppies. In the Labour Party’s case then came Clause Four, “the nationalisation of all the means of production and distribution”. For GCNA then comes the Precautionary Principal for the environment followed by other such carbon emissions and efficiency supressing commitments.
GCNA is yet another Sorosian mechanism that would transform the current economy to the green planned version and elevate the social elites to their rightful position in control of the commanding heights. Its funding is dominated by the stakeholder relations and social responsibility business representatives who now control the agitational resources of major firms. Their support offers good immediate PR but promotes the fundamentally anti-business, pro-government interventionist philosophy that is undermining the forces of competition and property rights on which modern economic growth has been founded.