This is a important piece posted at the New York Times. It hints at why subsidies for “green industries” are so attractive to politicians and to the public and why the potential for these industries to create scads of good jobs for unskilled workers in countries like Canada and the United States is probably limited in the long-term.
America has had many high-tech breakthroughs over the last half-century, but those innovations rarely provided abundant employment for the less educated workers who need jobs most. The Devens closing reminds us that even when ideas are “made in America,” production is almost always cheaper in China.
Failed public investments, like the money spent in Devens, reflect the fact that public officials are rarely skilled venture capitalists and that governments pursue many objectives that lead them away from solid investments. It’s easy to see why any governor would be excited about a green-energy manufacturing plant in a less prosperous area of his or her state. But the same forces that made Devens political catnip meant that it was unlikely to be a long-term success.
Read the whole thing here.