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Greening Auto Jobs

A Critical Analysis of the Green Job Solution

Caleb Goods

Greening Auto Jobs: A Critical Analysis of the Green Job Solution details current and problematic understandings of what constitutes a "green job." Adopting an approach grounded in critical political economy, this book presents a framework to scrutinize the green job solution and the theoretical framework which overwhelmingly informs contemporary green job creation efforts and ecological modernization. The text also explores the tensions that encircle the world of work and environmental action, often referred to as "jobs versus the environment," by detailing the conflicting commitments of political-economic actors to the idea of green job creation. These conflicts are outlined through an examination of the political-economic debate that has surrounded the Australian Government’s environmental plans from 2008 to 2012 and the conflicting positions of Australian trade unions on environmentally transitioning the world of work. Interviews with key political-economic actors provide in-depth and nuanced understandings of the varied perspectives of political and union leaders in Australia.

The second part of the book presents a detailed case study of the posited green job solution within the specific context of the Australian automotive manufacturing industry. The case study is also informed by interviews with key industry, union, and policymakers. The automotive industry is scrutinized not only because it has expressed going green as important to its long-term economic future, but because the Australian Government declared that its $6.2 billion "New Car Plan for a Greener Future" policy would create green jobs. Therefore, the book engages with the task of examining the three multinational vehicle producers operating in Australia—Ford, GM Holden, and Toyota—and how they have responded and engaged with the idea of green jobs, greening the manufacturing process, and the vehicles they produce in Australia.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 262Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8980-1 • Hardback • August 2014 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-9925-1 • Paperback • April 2017 • $46.99 • (£31.95)
978-0-7391-8981-8 • eBook • August 2014 • $43.99 • (£29.95)
Caleb Goods is a research fellow at the University of Western Australia Business School.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Appendixes
List of Abbreviations
Preface and Acknowledgments

Chapter One – Introduction: Why Green Jobs Matter

Chapter Two – What is a Green Job?
Green Job Definitions
The Theoretical Foundation of Green Jobs
A Critique of Ecological Modernization
Ways of Understanding the Capitalist System and the Green Shift
A Marxist Understanding of Green Jobs

Chapter Three – Green Jobs as an Environmental and Economic Battleground
Green Jobs in Australia, a Blurred Vision
Recent Green Job Manoeuvres 2007–2011
The Narrative of Jobs as a Battleground in Australia

Chapter Four – The Response of Some Key Australian Unions to Green Jobs
Unions and Just Transition
What Do Unions Do? Australian Unions and a Green Jobs Agenda
What Do International Unions Do?
Can Unions Do?

Chapter Five – The Automotive Industry: Setting the Scene
An Overview of the Current Global Automotive Industry Landscape
The Political Economy and Cultural Dominance of the Car: within the Global Context
Car Nation
The Labor Process: Automobile Production and Its Workers

Chapter Six – Crisis in the Global Automotive Industry and the Green Shift
The Political Economic Shift of Auto: From Environmental Opposition to
Ecological Modernization
The Green Possibilities of the Three Parent Companies
The State and Labor Unions Embrace a Green Shift

Chapter Seven – Green Cars, Green Jobs: The Australian Government’s Green Car Plan
Green Car Policy from Opposition
Green Car Policy in Government
Policy in Action
The Never-Ending Crisis

Chapter Eight – Analyzing the Green Shift: The Three Vehicle Manufacturers Operating in Australia
Understanding Green Jobs
Government Policy, Industry and the Environment
Green Shifts and Manoeuvres
Outside Australia’s Control

Chapter Nine – Conclusion
Key Findings
Implications and Future Research Possibilities
End Notes
Caleb Goods' Greening Auto Jobs: A Critical Analysis of the Green Job Solution provides a refreshing new approach to understanding and analyzing developments in the green economy. Unlike other books where the world of work and workers are typically absent, Goods places them at the forefront of discussions about ecological sustainability. This book is about much more than the 'greening' of auto jobs. It provides readers an engaging and critical insight into the conceptual, theoretical, and empirical challenges surrounding 'green' jobs and the 'greening' of capitalism. Goods' critical analysis forces everyone from multinational corporations, national governments, consumers, workers, and unions to take stock of their role and actions in the climate crisis. It is a must read for anyone concerned about the direction of contemporary solutions to global environmental crisis.
Darryn Snell, RMIT University

This is an important contribution to global debate about the creation of ‘green jobs’ and whether the automotive industry can be environmentally sustainable. The book contains a valuable case study of the Australian Labor government’s recent attempt to implement a ‘Green Car Policy’ during a period when the industry has been struggling to survive in many countries. Caleb Goods situates the Australian experience in the context of the international ‘battle’ over green job creation and draws important lessons for the global economy and environmental policies. This is a book which should be read by everyone with an interest in the future of work and our ecological future.
Russell Lansbury, University of Sydney

Fascinating and indispensable, Greening Auto Jobs describes the fate of manufacturing’s lead industry in Australia, as green hopes give way to the decimation of the industry and manufacturing as a whole. There are, in fact, two interlocked stories here. The first describes the vulnerability of a small, prosperous, manufacturing country to deindustrialization, caught between global restructuring of international supply chains by rootless multinational companies and the strategic paralysis of national government, unable to plan ahead creatively. The second story traces the efforts of Australian unions and companies to green-adapt the labor process in automobile production. The two stories are linked by the unexpected speed by which 20th century globalization has been unhinged by 21st century climate change. Caleb Goods’ graceful analysis of the interdependence of the stories and their vulnerability is a cautionary tale for developed, industrialized countries, both large and small.
Carla Lipsig-Mummé, University of York

How can we move—as this book shows we must—beyond the dead-end debate that pits jobs against the environment? Looking afresh at the concept of ‘green jobs,’ Caleb Goods examines recent initiatives in one decisive sector, the auto industry, to show that policy-makers and industry insiders all too commonly either misconceive the problems we face or simply wish them away. The arguments in this thoughtful and engaging book not only urge us to take environmental crisis seriously, but provide an innovative and powerful framework for rethinking paths to ecological sustainability.
Bradon Ellem, University of Sydney