I reckon the Internet has turned the average person into an outsourcer and even “offshorer”. A shirt made here, self-designed wedding invitations printed there – too easy.
In fact, I sometimes find that the same person who rants about jobs going offshore tells you with glee how they got something made cheaply overseas.
I have mixed feelings about outsourcing. Moving jobs to Australia’s regional cities = good; improving standards of living in developing nations = good; Australians losing their jobs = bad; workers exploited here or anywhere = bad.
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A mate of mine went on a family holiday to China in January. He relayed an interesting item from a local English language newspaper about a new pay deal which had been struck for manufacturing workers in Macau. Under the deal, the workers will be paid AUD $239. Not $239 a day. Not $239 a week. But $239 a month.
Factoids such as this are illustrative, and depressingly so, as countries such as Australia grapple with the future of manufacturing jobs. The current discussion about the future of the car industry has been complicated by the high Australian dollar, which is driving up the cost of everything we export.
Regardless of whether our dollar was at 70 cents or at parity with the greenback we would still be wrestling with the exact same problems of competition amid the unstoppable forces of globalisation.
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You would think the Greens might have learnt something from the backlash they faced after using the 2009 Victorian bushfire tragedy to deliver an impromptu lecture on climate change.
With the fires still underway and the death toll rising, Senator Bob Brown commented at the time that the extent and ferocity of the fires was a pointer to the reality of global warming. Maybe so – not being a scientist I couldn’t say – but the more pressing issue was one of time and place. On both counts, Bob Brown failed the taste test, and quite spectacularly.
With the flood crisis now turning to Victoria, and the death toll expected to increase in Queensland as the recovery continues, Senator Brown has now decided to use this latest national tragedy to launch an attack on the coal industry. Unlike the bushfires, it’s difficult to identify any precise link between burning coal and the re-occurrence of a flood pattern which has been with Australia since well before white settlement, but the Greens Leader clearly didn’t want to let the opportunity pass him by. As Queensland Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce pointed out in a moment of lucidity, in 1893 the Brisbane River flood gauge reached 8.35m. “Was the coal industry responsible for that as well?” Joyce asked.
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Walking through the streets of Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals, it is easy to get caught up in the cosmopolitan nature of the city. Being World Cup time, the city is not only awash in Dutch flags, but an array of other nationalities hang their national banners alongside the recognisable orange of the Dutch team.
The backpackers, tour groups, sightseers and locals politely wrestle for space in the crowded streets and bars, while cars with engines smaller than 50cc and motor scooters share bike lanes. On the bikes, no one wears a helmet, people smoke, talk on their phones and sometimes can be spotted drinking beer. Here, everyone rides: from the men and women in expensive suits, to girls dressed in glamorous outfits on their way out to club, as well as families of four on various sized bikes, and young Muslim women wearing hijabs.
I sit in a café (as distinct from the famous Amsterdam ‘coffee shops’) and speak to various politically active young people. Telling them that I am slowly falling in love with their city and pointing to Geert Mak’s fascinating historical account of Amsterdam, we turn to the political landscape of the Netherlands and the rest Europe.
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Who needs Pauline Hanson when you’ve got Nathan Rees and Eric Roozendaal?
If you’re reading this article, it means that the Rees Government has done its bit to murder Australia’s reputation as a modern, sensible, civilised trading partner, a mature open economy which understands that while some jobs have gone offshore, many thousands of new ones have been created by pulling down our trade barriers.
These pre-Whitlamite drongos on Macquarie Street have effectively trashed Australia’s reputation by pandering to prejudice and an unsophisticated grasp of how modern economies work.
You know things are bad in New South Wales when its government led by left-wing Premier, Nathan Rees, is trying to find ways to blame the Red Menace for its economic woes.
Today’s State budget includes protectionist measures to give priority for nearly $4 billion in goods and services to be purchased from Aussie companies, mostly at the expense of China.
It’s an idea with the intellectual depth of a children’s cartoon. Admittedly, by the end of the clip I am not really sure whether NSW Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, is the scarecrow or the lion. But I know the NSW public is represented by the tin man who ultimately gets a punch in the face.
IT was stirring stuff from ACTU president Sharan Burrow this week: ``How can the CEO of Pacific Brands take home her salary while she sends 1850 workers and their families to the poverty of unemployment? Shame.’‘
You’d need a heart of stone not to feel something for the hundreds of workers likely to lose their jobs. And you wouldn’t be alone if you reserved a special kind of anger for the actions of Pacific Brands.
But, really, does Sue Morphet, the reviled chief executive of the company behind Bonds and Berlei, deserve all the blame?
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DEATH is often depicted in Mexico as an ever-present and humanised force, in the form of a skeletal woman with nicknames such as The Bald One, The Skinny One, The Weeping Woman and, creepiest of all, The Fancy Lady.
The country’s pre-Colombian traditions and its bloody modern history provide a good foundation for a death cult. The Mexican Revolution claimed at least 1.4 million lives between 1910 and 1917. The official toll from the 1985 Mexico City earthquake is 10,000; Mexicans say it’s more than 30,000. Since January last year, the number of drug-related murders stands at 7337 - not all murders, just drug murders.
A lot of them aren’t routine shootings. One guy nicknamed El Pozolero, The Stew-Maker, was arrested last year for boiling down the bodies of more than 100 rival cartel members in vats of acid.
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