18 March 2009

mexican hat dance

Anyway, I didn't finish the story from the conversation about manufacturing. My interlocutor - oh, how I love that word! - then stated that they (ie he or she, but deliberately if ungrammatically obscured in this case) were a lifelong conservative voter but hoped for a return of Labor in Queensland at this weekend's election because "Labor understands manufacturing."

There you have it.


This is what is known by people who follow such things for a living (in other words, people who don't have real jobs) as a wicked policy problem. Economic theory -well, one of them anyway - says that you go for the cheapest because that will free up scarce resources that can be spent on alternative items, such as plasma TVs and prostitutes (thank you FG).

I should clarify at this point that although the current Federal Government may be guilty of many things, spending your hard-earned taxes on plasma TVs and prostitutes is most probably not amongst them.

Back to the main point, I believe I heard on the news that part of the slouch hat is currently made in Czechoslovakia anyway. Czechoslovakia? How on earth that can that come about? By what obscure application of comparative advantage did Czechoslovakia become the sine qua non of hat makers around the world?

Anyway, surely hats aren't a high-tech manufacturing sector anyway, with the possible exception of what ladies wear to the Melbourne Cup. So hardly a strategic industry, except we're talking about hats that sit atop the heads of our soldiers, so perhaps strategic by virtue of proximity.

You will by now, quite reasonably, have concluded that I have neither a substantive policy point to make nor anything particularly instructive to say.

But rather than leave you utterly empty handed, I will quote Phil Ruthven in the BRW. He's talking about the need to ramp up productivity growth again as the only substantive way of combatting the recession:

"Australia will jettison activities that should be outsourced overseas and replaced with growth activities that are also competitive - or allowed to go broke. That is known as creative destruction."
Couldn't have put it better meself. I dips me (foreign-made) lid.

1 comment:

Ann ODyne said...

... they're not made by AKUBRA ?

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