The Greens and the Myth of “Green” Capitalism

By Nick Pendergrast


green capitalism


We recently did a podcast episode where we explained how we’re voting this election. We got some feedback questioning why we’re voting for far-left parties like the Socialist Alliance ahead of the Greens in the Senate. This has a lot to do with the limitations of “green” capitalism.


We are anti-capitalists, so feel we have more in common with an anti-capitalist party like the Socialist Alliance than pro-capitalist parties like the Greens (even though we’re not state socialists). More specifically though, while we like and respect the Greens and think they have a lot of positive, progressive policies, we also acknowledge that they support (and are one of the biggest proponents of) the idea of “green” growth and “green” capitalism. They do not fundamentally challenge Turnbull’s “jobs and growth” mantra but simply tweak it to “green jobs and green growth”.


green jobs


We have done a whole episode challenging this idea of “green” capitalism, featuring sociologist Dr Caleb Goods, who did his PhD on the topic of “green” jobs and “green” capitalism generally. I thought a graph from his book Greening Auto Jobs: A Critical Analysis of the Green Jobs Solution, which we discussed on that episode and is displayed below, is particular telling. It shows that fossil fuel emissions have only ever gone down in times of economic downturn and up in times of economic growth. So for those concerned about the environment, it makes sense to challenge this idea of growth, which is an inherent part of capitalism.


growth graph


While we hope that the Greens get more votes than the two major parties, we are preferencing parties like the Socialist Alliance ahead of the Greens, to encourage the Greens to challenge growth. On episode 136, we discuss preferential voting and why it makes sense to preference parties taking the climate emergency more seriously than the Greens, for example by challenging growth. This can send a message to the Greens – just as the Greens encourage people to vote for them to send a message to Labor.



prefential voting


I hope that more people voting for parties like the Socialist Alliance who challenge economic growth will encourage the Greens to embrace the idea of degrowth. I believe that to take the climate emergency seriously, a move towards a degrowth economy is essential.

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