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Winning the race to the bottom

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, April 19th, 2012 - 42 comments
Categories: jobs, wages - Tags:

You don’t get fat off the crumbs from someone else’s table and you don’t get rich by being someone else’s butler. No country ever got rich taking a few menial jobs from its wealthy neighbour. Countries get rich by having a strategy to out-compete others and make best use of their resources.

So, why the Nats are so happy that Australia is sending a few call centre and cigarette jobs here, where wages are lower, I don’t know. We’ll certainly never catch Aussie wages if they’re sending low wage work here to save money.

We’ll be wealthier if we produce more wealth, more stuff of real value.

Not if our competitive advantage is low wages and insecure jobs, the first jobs to go in any recession.

42 comments on “Winning the race to the bottom ”

  1. Peter Martin 1

    ‘We’ll be wealthier if we produce more wealth, more stuff of real value.

    Not if our competitive advantage is low wages and insecure jobs, the first jobs to go in any recession.’

    So is it true? Will the railways Hillside workshops in Dunedin be sold and presumably closed?

    • McFlock 1.1

      Mo-ther-fuckers. Hadn’t seen that.
      But it’s okay, we’ll roll cigarettes…

    • Rupert 1.2

      Funny how so many of NZ’s call centres are located in cheaper markets – Fiji, India, the Philippines. Only a matter of time before Australia’s follow suit.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    Call centres???

    When Natz chuck down a few more call centre jobs, we should be in an ambitiously great position to start catching up with India and Philipines as their economies rise up.

    John should sell us off quicker to speed things up. There is no alternative.

  3. Olwyn 3

    Not only that, we are likely to get real union-busting bastards from Australia along with these jobs. Remember the confrontations around Progressive Enterprises a few years ago? What we are now like is what these people want Australia to be like as well. They get our tradies, we get their Randian heroes.

  4. Gosman 4

    Apparently Heinz is shifting canning operations to the Hawkes Bay from Australia. It is quite capital intensive (i.e. highly skilled) work. Do you dismiss this type of work coming over as well?

    • bbfloyd 4.1

      a canning plant… highly skilled work?? try again gossamer…. capital intensive? you mean installing plant and machinery? so if the company decide(as is normal practice) to send their own techs and managers over to carry out the install, using local labour for the grunt work, that’s going to keep skilled workers here?

      and once this hypothetical canning plant is up and running, can you guarantee that the managers, and maintainance staff will require more than basic skills to do repairs, scheduling, etc?

      i suppose to the uninformed, being a process worker minding the machinery that actually does the work would require a large skill set…. wrong…

      as one who has been involved with shutdown(repairs/upgrades/maintainence) work, and installation around the world, i can honestly state that you havn’t a clue what you’re talking about…. every company i have contracted to uses their own people where possible on these jobs….

      it is sensible practice as they already have the iniimate knowledge of the systems/ machinery required, and to train new people to do installations of this nature is fraught with risk(cost overruns from mistakes and miscommunication alone can render a project unprofitable).

      there also is the question of whether you are simply quoting, or uttering rumour for the sake of defending the incompetence of this administration….. so show us where you got this “rumour”from, or accept that there is no good reason to give your opinions any attention except as an excuse to lampoon you….

  5. Chaz 5

    Here’s a thought.

    Lay down some of your own cash, start a business, employ people at these high wages and secure conditions you are trumpeting on about, and go about producing some of this wealth you mention.

    Alternatively you can just carry on bitching about how the world owes you a living at the terms and conditions you require of it.

    It is always possible that could work I suppose.

    • burt 5.1

      Socialists use their own cash…. You are a funny guy/gal Chaz.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        That’s the real problem here. Leftists aren’t really comfortable with private sector investment, (especially from ‘gasp’ overseas), creating jobs. This is because of that ‘nasty evil’ concept called profit. Much better if all investment is managed and controlled by the people for the benefit of the people. Of course when they state people they really mean the State

        • thatguynz

          “Much better if all investment is managed and controlled by the people for the benefit of the people. Of course when they state people they really mean the State”

          I think you’ll find Gosman that around here when that statement is made, the commenters truly mean people NOT “the State” as you assert.  There have been more than a few discussions around precisely those lines but then again, that wouldn’t suit your argument so well now would it?  Nor your rather jaundiced view of what you perceive to be “left wing”…

        • Draco T Bastard

          They’re not creating jobs – they’re moving them from one place to another so that they get richer and the workers get poorer.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.2

        Socialists use their own cash…. You are a funny guy/gal Chaz.

        What, as opposed to the banks and the corporates who use cheap printed cash from the Federal Reserve, or who use bail out cash provided to them by ordinary working tax payers?

        You guys are the funny ones.

    • infused 5.2

      Probably the single best comment I’ve ever seen on here.

  6. McFlock 6

    don’t you just love it when the tories who come to the party just go to a quiet room to agree with each other? A circle of jerks, if you will…

    • Gosman 6.1

      It is probably why Right wingers get more of their policies adopted though. Get a bunch of lefties together and they will be soon be at each others throat arguing whether they need to over throw the system or make an accomodation with the ruling classes for the longer term goal. One of my favourite spectator sports is watching leftists argue economic policies amongst themselves.

      • McFlock 6.1.1

        True enough – righties are almost always willing to compromise any principles they might have, just as long as the bottom line is “right”. I wonder if Banks will have an issue with the skycity pokies bri-deal?

    • Chaz 6.2

      Wow McFlock. In one sentence you have both:

      – Changed the subject
      – Attacked the man instead of the ball

      Legendary skills mon ami.

      • McFlock 6.2.1

        Oh, you were being serious?
        Lefties can legitimately criticise crap wages only if they run their own business?
        But no lefties have ever been employers, manufacturers, in business, or technical consultants/contractors?

        • Chaz

          I’m saying that if you want to race to the top, …
          and you think it is so easy and is being done so badly, …
          then a huge market opportunity exists for you to create new businesses to compete for the best workers at the best rates and job security, …
          then go out and make an enormous success.

          Or you can just bitch that the people who are actually risking their capital and getting out there and doing something aren’t treating you right.

          Seems like a fair comment to me.

          By the way:
          – You are still avoiding the question and arguing beside the issue.

          You really need to google a thing called: Logical fallacies in argument (or maybe you are already pro at that?)

          • McFlock

            Sorry, it’s just that when someone makes such a stupid comment, I charitably assume they’re taking the piss.
            I’m saying that if you want to race to the top, …
            “if”? Seems like something like that doesn’t really need an “if”, but ok-ay…  

            and you think it is so easy and is being done so badly, …
            Not so much “easy”, but definitely in the opposite direction to where we’re going now. 

            then a huge market opportunity exists for you to create new businesses to compete for the best workers at the best rates and job security, …
            Nope. A huge government opportunity exists to ensure that our workforce is educated, skilled, safe, well treated, and well paid.

            then go out and make an enormous success.
            Not with this government – I’d just be undercut by unprincipled scrooges because our employment legislation is 80 years out of date. That’s why workers it go over to Aus where the legislated minimum conditions are much better. And we get left with canneries and cigarette plants.

            • Chaz

              So sorry, I didn’t realise you were actually proposing State management of productive industries.

              That worked so well for the Russians right?

              Oh and Lprent, being paid to manage something, or even contribute as aa empoyee to a startup, isn’t the same as putting you own cash on the line, mortgaging your own house, and being prepared to take the fall yourself if the dream fails.

              • McFlock

                Nope – state management of the economy and legislative force for the principle that employees should be treated as people, not cogs.
                I love your opinion that tertiary education/training and a fair minimum wage = St*linism. It really is the icing on the shit-cake that passes for political thought in your gated community.
                Australia: higher taxes, higher growth, higher wages, more regulated workplace, lower unemployment, and greater union membership. Those poor Aussies – it sounds like a sovi*t hell-hole. 

                • Gosman

                  So you want to be like Australia now. I thought leftists wanted to be like Finland, or is it Sweden? Can’t you just settle on one country to emulate and leave it at that?

                  • thatguynz

                    Perhaps you could advise which country you identify with and would want to be “like”?  USA?  UK?  France perhaps?
                    I’m intrigued to know which bastion of free-market principles you’d like us to model ourselves on.  Clearly you’ll be identifying one that is successful at both an economic, social and environmental level yes?
                    Or…. am I likely to get a typical “Gosman response” along the lines of “It all depends on the metrics used to define success across these disparate categories” or some other diversionary approach designed solely to avoid answering what is a pretty simple question?

                    • Gosman

                      I don’t believe in using other countries as a kind of an blueprint for economic policies we should follow. Sure we can learn lessons but I prefer to use other countries as cautionary tales about potential pitfalls of certain policies. Sure they can also be used to provide supporting evidence but the ideas behind them should stand up in their own right.

                    • thatguynz

                      “but the ideas behind them should stand up in their own right”

                      I couldn’t agree more.  So who would you use as a successful case study demonstrating that the economic approach that our current government is perpetuating “stands up in its own right”?

                  • McFlock

                    Because if we try to learn from the strengths and experiences of many, we will be stronger than if we just copied one. Or, in your case, than if we just copied the wet dreams of politically, economically and socially illiterate narcissists.

              • lprent

                Yep. But it is also quite boring merely increasing money (and it is pretty easy) compared to having fun designing, building and learning. I leave the former to the unimaginative.

          • framu

            who needs to google it – youve already demonstrated it for us (I count 2 in the above comment alone)

        • lprent

          Ummm, personally I have run factories, employed people from process workers to programmers, helped set up several companies and lift them into exporting profit, been a technical consultant and contractor. Unlike most of the rather inadequate managers I see in places like Talley group or the Ports of Auckland or their sockpuppet Cameron, I was competently trained in management. So I never found the need to be an managerial arsehole to simply cover my managerial inadequacies and inability to build new business.

          From my observation, the right is where the inadequate managers live.

          • infused

            So you’ve done all this off someone elses back? Not quite the same.

            • lprent

              Yep. I really really don’t want to own a business – that is a commitment to not programming. It is also boring. Much better to leave that to the inept at programming who can deal with the simple problems. Meanwhile I can move jobs whenever the project focus shifts from development to maintenance.

      • framu 6.2.2

        “Alternatively you can just carry on bitching about how the world owes you a living at the terms and conditions you require of it.”

        pot meet kettle

        accusing others of playing the man when you chipped in with the same tactic doesnt actually work.

  7. felix 7

    “We’d love to see wages drop”

  8. Blue 8

    We’re not even winning the race to the bottom.

    If you’re looking for English-speaking, educated workers who get paid peanuts, NZ is the place to go. We even throw in low company tax rates to boot. You can’t really get better than us anywhere in the world.

    And yet businesses aren’t flocking here in droves. A few call centres here and there, but nothing like the flood of traffic the other way across the Tasman.

    Foreign businesses just don’t seem all that desperate to come here and exploit us.

    Probably because any real capitalist still outsources to third world countries. We’re running our country into the ground for nothing, really.

  9. infused 9

    IT people are still not cheap… I just gave one a $7k pay rise and employed one @ 100k.

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