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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Protecting Manufacturing From "Creative Destruction"

The missing ingredient in Martin Feil's analysis of outsourcing (The Age, 30/5/2006) is workers - all workers, that is. At the risk of being dismissed as a "globalist", I don't see the imperative to be concerned about low-skilled workers in a first-world country at the expense of low-skilled workers in much dire straits in the developing world. The unstated assumptions of protectionists - selfishness, nostalgia, populism, nationalism and mercantilism - are neither persuasive nor attractive to me and many other "globalists".

Constantly changing economic circumstances - including "creative destruction" of comparatively weak enterprises - are inevitable and desirable. While our governments should do more to minimise the fallout through investing in skills, retaining a "sheltered-factory" mindset for workers unsuited to jobs in the service economy is not the answer to our balance-of-trade problems.

Rather than subsidising the local manufacture of shoes and the like, we should be ensuring that political liberalisation and freedom goes hand-in-hand with economic growth in our offshore partners. The whole world benefits from a prosperous and free global community, including workers in advanced economies.



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