This is a December 2019 interview with Paul Krugman. It discusses issues from health care to energy. One main global economic challenge is energy and environmental security, and Krugman suggested it as a good place to start, for the next Democrat president. Did he know the next Democrat president would, most likely, start now?
It is an issue that concerns everyone. As governments have understood that the Earth’s future may need regulatory help, environmental concern has become one more reason that governments intervene in trade. Consumers become increasingly more concerned about their progenys’ futures, and companies that use resources, from fish and trees to oil, are concerned about business outlook. Energy economists think of energy in many forms, from energy we eat to fuel our bodies, to the gasoline which fuels our cars. Energy and environmentalism are challenges that have to be tackled from a global perspective, because we are interconnected in global trade and global ecology.
How should countries fund environmentalism? I, respectfully, do not agree with Pelosi’s PAYGO or Krugman’s deficit spending because they are unsustainable, uncreative, and lazy answers. Furthermore, in 2020, I am not sure if even low-grade millionaires can bear its cost, never mind any lower socio-economic class. The financing answer is agreed on by Krugman and Trump: Make it a business, to provide incentive and jobs. Economics, in my humble opinion, is mainly human behavior, so I think incentive alignment is key.
President Trump made many actions to improve the environment, including American participation in the One Trillion Trees Initiative. Although electric cars and other eco-friendly energy sources aren’t quite ‘there,’ an industry of replanting trees can be. Maybe there are similar, or dissimilar, creative and sustainable ways to implement other environmentalist efforts to the benefit of the economy, which might be a welcome and refreshing relief in the face of a low-employment COVID economy.
Currently, America is most likely saying goodbye to its 45th President. I agree with Krugman about starting the next Democrat leadership with an environmentalist direction supported by both parties. There does not seem to be a ‘loser,’ an ‘environmentalist business’ has incentives built into it, it would help the global economy, and it has a long future ahead of it.
For reader interest, the following is a link to a short article about 1 Trillion Trees. It provides a wider perspective to the Initiative, and by extension, environmental issues in general. At the bottom, there’s a video discussion by Jane Goodall, a UN Messenger of Peace, World Future Council honorary member, and my personal hero.