Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Australia's most useful export - Jobs (No, really!)

Dr. Clam said...

I say you should put your money where your principles are and move your business offshore- export those jobs to somewhere where they will make the difference between life and death!
Where your mother was born is still too chaotic, but I think where my mother was born is pretty reasonable since the end of the Maoist insurgency and the cholera epidemic...

You are absolutely right on both counts, except you bring up some ironies. Firstly, we don't actually have the money to move offshore in the way that I would like to. Another irony is that it is actually a "desirable" effect of the policy to export jobs, and our local competitors are making a difference in Indonesia and Fiji that we aren't. Yet another irony is that we have moved up the value chain so much that we need highly skilled sewers and contractors that can give us very fast turnaround and predictable quality even on unfamiliar garments. It would make more sense for us to import skilled workers from neighbouring (poorer) countries, as we would like them close to keep track of batch by batch production. Import tarriffs and immigration legislation are combining to distort the economy of this industry in a way which puts our destiny largely in the hands of external forces - much as the palestinians :). For instance it is not the issue of cost which makes "outworkers" desirable, but the overall flexibility (two ways at that) which it entails. The reason unions have railed against their use is because they can't really benefit from, or usually join, a union.

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