Greenwashing industrial policy

16/11/2011 § 5 Comments

The Pure Advantage business group had some publicity through stuff.co.nz yesterday, and also had a piece on their website from the NZ Herald. It is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start.

The language of this media release is atrocious. The sloppy thinking, the non-sequiturs, the begging the question. The leaders of the group are supposed to be scientists, and this is what they produce? I don’t have time or energy for a Fisking, so I’ll leave it at that.

The nub of the issue is the utter illogic of the argument:

a) we have a comparative advantage in environmentally-intensive products and services

b) the markets for such goods are growing and will be enormous

c) we cannot rely on private industry to see the opportunity and use our comparative advantage.

Wait, wait, wait. So this organisation has spotted a golden business opportunity with potentially huge exports, publicised it on the interwebs, and expects that entrepreneurs won’t be bothered. In fact, even though NZ is the right place to produce these goods — we have the comparative advantage — these enterpreneurs just can’t be fussed with it.

What’s the solution? More money for science! And not just any science — the science that particularly interests the scientists behind the organisation.

In order to get support for this point of view, they have had to go overseas to find willing economists. I guess that’s a point in the favour of my domestic colleagues.

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