Green New Deals: What Shapes Green and Deal?

Levidow, Les (2022). Green New Deals: What Shapes Green and Deal? Capitalism Nature Socialism (Early access).



In the US and UK, Green New Deal (GND) agendas have gained significant support as means to reconcile environmental sustainability with a socially fairer economy. Their transformative vision has stimulated proposals such as more public goods, workers’ cooperatives, eco-localisation and caring activities. When seeking support from major political parties, however, GND agendas have undergone pressure to accept decarbonisation technofixes, as promoted by carbon-intensive industries in alliance with their trade unions. Such promises have provided an investment imperative for dubious low-carbon remedies, or an alibi to await their feasibility, or both at once. These agendas imagine the nation as a unitary economic space needing technoscientific advance for a global competitive advantage. Divergences within the labour movement express rival sociotechnical imaginaries of a low-carbon future. This conflictual process has shaped what counts as Green and Deal for a GND. Similar tensions will arise around any low-carbon transition, given the wider capitalist frameworks of Green Keynesianism and Green Growth. To go beyond them will depend on political struggles to disrupt the hegemonic cross-class alliance, to create different alliances and to gain state support for their agendas.

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