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October 22, 2009

Winding back the clock

At present we are watching the Australian Government try to turn the clock back at least 19 - 25 years in order to reconstitute union conditions and powers that they lost about a quarter of a century ago.

Unionism is the one big issue that Australia cannot put behind itself.

The USA has trouble getting beyond the slavery issue, even though the UK (The center of that movement) has moved on sometime ago.China has trouble getting beyond the "Japan" issue, yet France has moved well beyond the "German" issue.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, the real problem is that tomorrow will look nothing like today. And is even less likely to look like yesterday.

After bouncing around the globe for a while I have seen some of the nations we are competing with. They are staffed with very smart, extremely hard working professionals who know as much as most people working in similar roles in this country... except they are far cheaper.

Not only are they cheaper, but they are exporting that high quality low cost internationally. The Middle East runs on the back of very competent low cost labor out of the sub continent and the Philippines. So too does Hong Kong and other Asian nations.

When we were fortress Australia we could implement extraordinary measures to make it harder to fire someone, we could live with rolling industrial unrest and we could afford to pay workers a living and decent wage.

Today... we just cannot.

If it cannot be done reliably for low cost then it will get done elsewhere. That is what happened when our manufacturing sector moved off shore and it is behind the transfer of white and blue collar jobs to the sub continent and outsource hubs.

The result? Work that used to support a lower middle class lifestyle now supports either a hand to mouth existence or even slave like conditions. And there is very little to no political will anywhere in the world to change this... no where.

All this misses the most important point.

We shouldn't be trying to protect workers in industries like these.

We need to be wondering why we are still in industries like these and how we can get out of them as quickly as possible.

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