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Bookmark and ShareAndy Wimbush is nef‘s Communications Assistant and blogmaster.

obamanewdealThe Green New Deal Round-Up has an unsurprisingly American flavour this week, as pundits weigh up the economic and green credentials of the President-Elect, Barack Obama.

Van Jones – author of The Green Collar Economy – has seen hope in Obama for a while, predicting

You’re going to see something very interesting happen in American politics. We’ll call it the rise of the green Keynesians, the idea that the government is going to have to play a role in the economy, we’re going to have even more deficit spending to kind of stimulate the economy, to move us through.

Susan Watts did a short segment on Newsnight last Thursday, looking at Obama’s likely response to the climate change. There, in big letters across the screen, were the words: GREEN NEW DEAL. Watts points out how different Obama is to Bush on these matters, and how tackling climate change might also repair the economy.

newsnightThere’s a brief mention of a GND in Time Magazine’s overview of the challenges which Obama faces. In the Independent, Johann Hari implores the President-Elect to ‘Paint your New Deal green‘. While over at the Huffington Post, Naomi Klein is sceptical that an Obama Green New Deal is even possible unless he calls a hault to ‘the Bush Administration’s final heist’, the ‘robbery in progress’, commonly known as the bail-out of the banks.

In the Times, Camilla Cavendish reflects upon the death of State of Fear author and climate change denialist Michael Crichton, noting ‘what an extraordinary intellectual shift there has been since 2004’. Urging President Obama to pursue a green new deal, she adds ‘this is the wrong time to hunker down in the old economy’. Anyone else for a new way of doing things?

And speaking of hunkering down, those old curmudgeons at the Economist are dismissive of all this green new deal chat. Their argument? That subsidies and government investment programmes are sometimes ill-advised (well, duh) and that the market really will get around to sorting out climate change (erm, no).

nef‘s executive director, Stewart Wallis, once pointed out that one of the reasons that Chicago School economics caught on was because it went under catchy and uplifting names: you hear the words free markets, unfettered capitalism and neoliberalism and you think, ‘Freedom. Liberty. Those things sound great!’ But now, with the Green New Deal, environmentalists and new economists might have finally found a meme which stirs up public enthusiasm. In Tucson, Arizona, they can hardly wait to get started

Bookmark and ShareJuliet Michaelson is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.


The Obama victory is seen to represent the hope of achieving the seemingly unattainable: clearly an important symbol for organisations like nef whose primary objective is nothing less than changing the world. While part of the wonder of the moment comes from basking in the thought that “Only a few years ago, no one could have imagined that this was really possible”, there is an interesting sense in which this isn’t entirely true.

One of the most concrete ways in which America does imagine possible futures for itself is through that most American of art forms – high quality television drama. Two of the most popular American drama series that emerged early in the Bush era provide images of an African-American presidential candidate who overcomes adversity to win the presidency (24), and of an avowedly intellectual and highly-educated president whose intelligence is of more importance than his popular touch (The West Wing).

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nef employees blog in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the new economics foundation.