Greening Keynes? Productivist lineages of the Green New Deal

Change log

jats:pClimate change has propelled the Green New Deal to prominence as a strategy for greening the economy. This article interrogates the Green New Deal’s coherence and suitability as a response to ecological crisis. Retracing the intellectual lineages of New Deal-era economic thought, the article reveals a common Keynesian inheritance of productivist preoccupations with full employment, rising income and productivity, that links Green New Deal proposals with their New Deal progenitors. This Keynesian inheritance generates internal inconsistencies within Green New Deal proposals, undermining their coherence and suitability as visions of green transition. Green New Deal proponents seek a political economy that respects ecological limits but they rationalize and legitimate their visions of green transition through a Keynesian commitment to a virtuous circle of rising investment, full employment, increasing income, and economic growth. This Keynesian inheritance is both premised on the denial of ecological limits and tarnished by its historical association with environmental destruction. Outlining an alternative approach, the article revisits the methodological historicism of New Deal-era economic thinking as a guide for redefining strategies of green transition. Drawing on Keynes’s reflections on the historical impermanence of the ‘economic problem’ and mapping contemporary institutional dynamics, the article proposes a more consistent, transformative, and radical rupture from incumbent macro-economic imaginaries</jats:p>


Peer reviewed: True

4408 Political Science, 44 Human Society
Journal Title
The Anthropocene Review
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SAGE Publications