“DO not resuscitate”. That was newspaper columnist George Monbiot's answer to the question of post-Covid economic policy. Just let old fossil industries – aviation, petrochemicals, big pharma, mass tourism – die out like the dinosaurs.

That would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs going south, of course. But his solution to that is de-consumerism and de-growth. Buying things is bad, so people should just accept a lower standard of living. No foreign travel, no motorised transport. Who needs all this stuff?

Well, quite a lot of people, actually. Closing down the pharmaceuticals industry, an offshoot of the oil industry, would affect a lot of us who depend on its drugs. Doing without plastics, mining and international supply chains would leave us short of an iPhone or two and most of our clothing.

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Food is fuel-intensive – not just in terms of fertilisers and other chemicals on farms, but transporting food to consumers. Just consider how your weekly box of organic veg is delivered. Small scale farming is often energy intensive.

But I'm not just saying that things can go on as they were. Far from it. Every crisis is an opportunity, and emerging from Covid should be used to make a better life.

There is a broad consensus from the Fraser of Allander Institute to The Common Weal, that the economy has to be rebalanced away from carbon. It's a question of how we get from here to there.

Fortunately, the fossil fuel industry is already in steep decline largely because renewable energy is becoming so cheap. Norway's national oil fund has just shed all its investments in, er, oil and gas, which tells you something.

The internal combustion engine is essentially 19th century technology and should have gone the way of the steam engine by now. A new generation is growing up who can't afford or don't need car ownership. None of my adult children have learned to drive.

But these are what economists call secular trends. They are generational changes. What happens in Scotland in the meantime? How do we get the economy to emerge from its hibernation in good shape for the future? What should Nicola Sturgeon do?

Well, it won't be de-growth. The priority for the First Minister in the short term will be jobs, jobs, jobs. The return of mass unemployment to Scotland, currently disguised by the furlough scheme, is going to determine government policy for the foreseeable future.

And she's not going to be too worried about what those jobs are. There is no way Sturgeon is going to close down the oil and gas industry for example, however much she is told to “keep it in the ground” by her coalition partners.

It employs nearly 300,000 people, even after years of falling oil prices. Indeed, there is has been a stealth oil boom in the west of Shetland fields which is due to overtake production in the North Sea.

These are the kind of high-paid professional jobs that Scotland increasingly lacks, since the economy turned from manufacturing to low-pay services.

Not that low pay means a job is necessarily bad in itself. Many supposedly low skilled workers – like bin men, care assistants and shelf-stackers – kept us going through the Covid freeze at considerable risk to themselves.

However, everyone except de-growth dogmatists agrees that Scotland needs a high-pay, high-productivity economy. That is certainly the view of the independence-supporting Common Weal think tank. Its hope for post-Covid renewal is a new generation of small and medium-sized indigenous businesses exploiting new technology in areas like decarbonisation, transport, insulation, sustainable building, industrial design.

It calls for the Scottish Government to use its procurement policies – the money the Government pays to private companies for services and products – to promote this Scottish Mittelstand, as this intermediate sector is called in Germany. The Scottish Investment Bank should be given the right to mobilise investment from pension funds and institutional investors.

Like everyone, Common Weal wants a Green New Deal and wellbeing to be an object of economic policy. But it is pretty hard-headed when it comes to policies for achieving this. It even proposes giving Scots vouchers to use in hotels to boost the Scottish tourism industry.

Its recovery strategy sidelines panaceas like Universal Basic Income in favour of things the Scottish Government can actually do – like building houses. Investment in construction effectively pays for itself because it generates rental income or business rates.

This is a key insight often ignored when people ask the simplistic question: “How can we afford it”. In a crude sense, all productive investment – investment to meet a demand – is self-financing.

Common Weal has some rather eccentric-sounding ideas – such as turning Scotland into a centre for bamboo and hemp processing. But at least it has ideas and it is on the right track.

It is a tribute to Robin McAlpine's tiny crowd-funded website that it seems to be generating more constructive ideas about the Scottish economy right now than all our great universities put together. What are they all doing?

Of course, there is a limit to how much of this “resilience economics”, as it is called, could happen within the confines of the existing constitutional settlement. The Scottish Government can't do much in the way of deficit financing because it lacks control of its currency and its debt.

The Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is an asset to the Scottish Government. But the call for £500 million in extra borrowing powers is not going to butter many parsnips, even if the UK Government grants it.

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The Scottish Government needs greater control of the economic levers if it is to avoid the tax crunch that is already hitting Scotland's local authorities. This is going to be a huge issue very shortly.

The 2016 “fiscal framework” – or fiscal trap as some of us called it – leaves the Scottish Government with its hands tied behind its back. It is now dependent on rising tax revenues to finance Scotland's relatively generous services. But it lacks the powers to promote the economic growth necessary to generate those revenues.

The only really significant tool it possesses is control of income tax. But there is no way Nicola Sturgeon will slash income taxes to promote faster growth. Quite the reverse. She will very likely have to increase taxes further in Scotland just to pay for services.

The Scottish Government is in a tight space, economically. Nicola Sturgeon will be blamed for the return of mass unemployment and for any cuts in services that will follow because unemployed people don't pay income tax.

The Scottish Government may also find itself required to take ownership of many troubled companies in the near future, adding to its loss-making portfolio of Ferguson Marine and Prestwick Airport. What we need is productive state ownership, not basket cases.

She can only hope that the UK Government honours its promise to spend its way to recovery this time, and not repeat the disastrous austerity policies of 2010. Support for independence may be growing, but an early referendum is not going to dig Scotland out of the Covid black hole.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.