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כנס השקת הפרוייקט: 19.12.12
שמרו את התאריך: כנס השקת פרוייקט כלכלת המחר יתקיים ביום ד', ה-19.12.12, בין השעות 17:00-19:00 בבית סוקולוב, רחוב קפלן 4, תל אביב. מהרו להירשם - מספר המקומות מוגבל
 
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Introduction

 

The recent international financial crisis created a new reality in the economic policies of many countries around the world.  The need for aggressive government intervention – and its initial success at stymieing economic decline -- raised questions about the predominant “laissez faire”, free-market assumptions.  For the first time in many decades, there is a growing recognition among political and civil service decision makers and the general public that the rapacious, maximal growth economic policies that have dominated most governments’ orientation may not be sustainable. 

 

This changed dynamic offers an opportunity to seriously promote a range of “green” economic ideas that have been considered at best to be theoretical academic visions, as concrete alternative national policies.  If governments need to “bail out” the economic system, then surely they have a responsibility to see that their investments not only contribute to economic growth but also support additional societal objectives – amongst which are environmental and social sustainability. 

 

This opportunity is strengthened by the new exigencies and expectations for innovation in reducing the carbon intensity of the world’s manufacturing, building and agricultural sectors. It would seem that the potential for attaining meaningful advances and promoting new approaches to sustainability in macro- and micro-economic and social policies has never been greater.

 

Yet, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, government and parliamentary decision makers must be challenged by an ambitious, detailed, technically rigorous and attractive alternative strategy. This can only happen if these solutions are broadly known and recognized by the public.  Given the predominant, capitalist model in Israel, it is important that the Israelis become aware of a green economic alternative, which on the one hand is not a return to the Socialism of the past – but is fundamentally different, from the present default capitalism that predominantes present political discourse.

 

Several public interest initiatives have emerged around the Western world in order to respond to this perceived need and place an alternative “green” economic program on the table for public discussion.  These programs have been produced by civil society and have received the collective title of the “Green New Deal”.  Among the more conspicuous of these initiatives are:

 

        Towards a Transatlantic Green New Deal – a collaboration between the Heinrich Boll Foundation and Washington’s World Watch Institute: This plan offers a strategy for sustainability in the realms of energy, transportation, building and basic materials.  The vision calls for the use of economic instruments along with the cancellation of subsidies for the many industries that contribute to environmental and social ills.

 

       The New Apollo Program defines itself as a coalition of labor, community, business and environmental leaders in the U.S. Responding to the mounting concern regarding unemployment, the plan translates a new economic strategy, relying heavily on a transformation of the American energy sector, into new jobs and economic expansion.

 

       The New Economic Foundation is a British think-tank which frames the economic crisis in the broader context of social and environmental justice and creating an economy that will at once produce challenging work, but will allow the public to work less. It also seeks to design an economy that will be more generous in assisting developing countries.   Among NEF’s major proposals is a very high inheritance tax (67%) which will support many of their proposals including an individual endowment to every citizen at the age of 21 to ensure equal opportunity..

 

        Israel’s 2028 Plan, funded by the U.S. Israel Technology Commission, was a major, attempt to address what was perceived as a series of unhealthy economic indicators for Israel.  This included a sense of dwindling educational achievement, growing gaps between “haves and “have-nots”, a large and growing non-working segment as well as steady environmental deterioration.

 

These and other initiatives have received varying degrees of attention and support and offer a fascinating menu of ideas and proposals for a local “Green New Deal”.  The vast majority of the Israeli public, including civil society and academy students, however, has hardly been introduced to the new suite of ideas, and practically no sector sees any of the proposed economic strategies as salient locally. 

 

This is not surprising.  Indeed, standing alone, none of the existing models for a “Green New Deal” are “tailor made” for Israel’s idiosyncratic reality. Without substantial translation into the local language and socio-economic conditions, none offer a practical and compelling program that can be promoted among Israeli government ministries, parliamentarians, civil society or with the public in general.

 

The proposed project’s primary objective is to design such a “New Green Deal” for Israel based on international experience and models and prepare an educational package that will allow the new ideas and proposals to be presented effectively to a range of constituencies in public forums, classes and conferences.  The proposal, submitted by the Israel Palestine Center for Research and INformation, brings together Israeli academia, NGOs and political parties to explore the potential of a “New Green Deal” for the country.

 

After researching, conferring with stakeholders and drafting the Israeli Green Deal Program, the second stage of this project involves the dissemination of its primary elements through myriad educational venues and forums.   The program offers an opportunity to educate the Israeli public about a new, ethical, "green" way of thinking about economics and prosperity.  But this must be launched in a language and in a manner which is compelling to the diverse Israeli public - students, business leaders, civil society activists, religious and secular, Arabs and Jews – all who have a stake in this kind of economic reform – but most of whom do not know this yet. 

 

As Israel’s economy did not suffer the same kind of collapse as did many Western countries, there is less a sense of crisis than in other countries and massive government investment in restarting Israel’s economic engines has been avoided.  This makes the educational challenge associated with this proposal even greater. Yet, there are many reasons that join together to create conditions amenable to the promotion of an Israeli Green New Deal:

  • With Israel’s application to the OECD, international pressure is beginning to mount for the country to become more accountable with regards to climate change;
  • Internal pressures is also mounting to address the expanding economic gaps in an increasingly polarized society;
  • A promising, but insufficiently supported clean-tech, water-technology and eco-tourism industries offer an excellent start-up infrastructure which can offer the foundation for economic growth and jobs in general and a “green economic” transformation in particular.

 

But, in order to take advantage of these circumstances, first, a detailed and inspiring blue-print, with quantifiable objectives and benefits must be drafted and disseminated.  The general public and the aforementioned stakeholders need to be engaged and a range of media utilized to educate them about the potential that applying different aspects of a Green New Deal components has for Israel.

 

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