Tuesday, 1 June 2004

New Economics - Jobs & The Environment

Friends of the Earth and the New Economics Foundation are looking at new ways of addressing economic issues. It is becoming increasingly clear that our current approach to economic development – trying to maximise growth ahead of everything else – is unsustainable and is not delivering what we want in terms of improved quality of life. We need to try to optimise growth, rather than maximise growth, and we need to ensure that growth is sustainable, does not damage the environment, and is targeted at the people who will benefit most – the poorest in society.

One specific issue is job creation. Jobs are often used as a catch-all argument to support developments, such as roads, supermarkets, or airports, that are environmentally damaging. But there are many questions that need to be asked about supposedly job-creating developments:

· What sort of jobs are being created? Are they low paid, short-term jobs?

· How many jobs will be lost in other local businesses? New supermarket developments typically force other local businesses to close, often resulting in  a net loss of jobs.

· Who controls the jobs? New developments are often owned by multinational corporations that have little interest in the well-being of local people.

· Friends of the Earth and the New Economics Foundation are looking for case studies of “job creating” developments that address these issues. Do you know of any local examples? If so, please let us know.