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brian moffatt

Great rant. Seems things in Oz are pretty much the same as things here in Canada. My distaste of politics is probably greater than yours, but I'm afraid it's now time to pay attention.

I trained as a tool and die maker when I was younger and had to pack it in. Long story, both personal and social. But the one thing I remember about 'the time' about twenty years ago, was this: industry, industrial jobs, manufacturing companies were coming to be seen as 'dirty'.

There was an ad run in our national newspaper suggesting that the 'old tools' of the indutrial era be donated to third world countries. I have no idea who paid for the ad, but you can see where I'm headed, or where we've headed. That the products made with these machines are now coming back to 'haunt us' is clear. What I found most disturbing - and I heard this from friends, colleagues when I entered the communications sector - was the idea that we were emerging from an era of lousy dirty jobs, to an era of clean good jobs. It struck me then as a romance, and it strikes me now more so. We now have a cubicle culture that is death beyond any factory job I ever knew.

I now find myself back in manufacturing, much lower on the rung than the skilled position I had trained for, and the shop where I am employed has just hired the summer students. It's both interesting and sad to listen to them speak about their futures (as a condition of summer employment they must be enrolled in post secondary education, therefore, work in the shop will not be for them.) A couple are training for the 'communication sector'. These are the new dead end jobs that still somehow manage to hold some lustre. I'll keep my mouth shut, though, don't want to spoil their dreams of self-realization and fulfillment.

There are though, as you hint, social and political forces that are shaping our futures, and those of our children. We cannot always see them. These forces play in a realm beyond our sight sometimes. Very interesting that you see that your company is losing work and contracts to other countries, not companies. Makes you wonder who the political classes are really representing.

Capital flows easliy across borders, but people who have built companies and communities, and those that have trained for employment tend to want to remain put, where they've rooted. And you are an employer! Where we once spoke of job losses, we may soon be speaking of employer losses, industry losses.

And the political classes sail on, mouthpieces for the hidden hand rammed up their backsides.

It's quite a dilemma. Stay put and die. Or, move on but you can't. Change is inevitable, but not for you.

Thanks for ranting and forgive the length of my rant in return, but you've really hit a chord.

Johnny the Horse

Not at all. I prefer longer comments with well expressed opinion. There seem to be a lot of similarities between the two countries, and it's comforting to know that my fears for the industry are not as insular as I had suspected.

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