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Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy

Making and Keeping New Industries in the United States
David J. Hess

Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy is the first book to explore the broad implications of the convergence of industrial and environnmental policy in the United States. Under the banner of “green jobs,” clean energy industries and labor, environmental, and antipoverty organizations have forged “blue-green” alliances and achieved some policy victories, most notably at the state and local levels. In this book, David Hess explores the politics of green energy and green jobs, linking the prospect of a green transition to tectonic shifts in the global economy. He argues that the relative decline in U.S. economic power sets the stage for an ideological shift, away from neoliberalism and toward “developmentalism,” an ideology characterized by a more defensive posture with respect to trade and a more active industrial policy.

After describing federal green energy initiatives in the first two years of the Obama administration, Hess turns his attention to the state and local levels, examining demand-side and supply-side support for green industry and local small business. He analyzes the successes and failures of green coalitions and the partisan patterns of support for green energy reform. This new piecemeal green industrial policy, Hess argues, signals a fundamental challenge to anti-interventionist beliefs about the relationship between the government and the economy.

About the Author

David J. Hess is Professor of Sociology, Associate Director of the Institute for Energy and Environment, and Director of the Program on Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Vanderbilt University.. He is the author of Alternative Pathways in Science and Industry: Activism, Innovation, and the Environment in an Era of Globalization (MIT Press, 2007) and Localist Movements in a Global Economy: Sustainability, Justice, and Urban Development in the United States (MIT Press, 2009), and many other books.


“Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy effectively weaves together history, theory, policy, and case studies in a pragmatic, holistic, co-evolutionary analysis of the green-energy transition in the United States. David Hess successfully sheds much-needed light on ‘greening’ as a variegated discourse and set of conflicting practices. The book is a must read for those interested in gaining a deeper, globally-minded understanding of greening in the context of job growth, clean-energy production, corporate resistance, industry-labor-environment coalitions, socio-technical change, regional innovation, localism, developmentalism, and sustainability.”
—Keith Pezzoli, University of California, San Diego; author of Human Settlements and Planning for Ecological Sustainability

“David Hess offers a cogent analysis of the politics and economics of development in a world faced with growing environmental crisis. He identifies the trend towards what he calls ‘developmentalist liberalism’ and makes a convincing case that this is a promising approach for future U.S. economic policy. If there is any hope of avoiding the twin threats of ecological disaster and economic collapse, this book describes a path forward.”
—Brian K. Obach, author of Labor and the Environmental Movement: The Quest for Common Ground


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