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03/08/06 07:16 PM
Rings True Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

If it's any consolation for American readers, you might say, it's better if you had something and lost it, than if you have never had it at all. At least in the US, there was a strong industry built on innovation and just by inertia, some of it still persists despite efforts to destroy it. In my home, in Australia, by comparison, the high-tech industries never managed to achieve much more than a toe-hold. Some patchy effort was made during the nineteen-eighties with various government grants and R&D tax concessions to stoke up the fire. Something did start up then but was promptly clobbered on the head by the following government. Now, we survive on mining, agriculture, tourism, selling imported goods to ourselves and our primary source of income, the ever growing foreign debt. Any other industry, high-tech or otherwise that still exists is gradually shrinking. The best bet for bright young engineers used to be to leave for the US to achieve intellectual and financial satisfaction. There is a reason why I said "used to be". At least, IT is doing well, right? Well not if you want to design or manufacture something. The big break for young IT graduates now is if they get a low-paying job at the tech support call center of an internet service provider. Even that is becoming scarce, because almost all of these centers have been, you guessed it, outsourced to developing countries. It's easy enough to pick out an example, a "company success story", to prove that it's all roses, roses, but usually it is a "despite" and not a "because" story. After all, if you look at WW II, there were people who became wealthier and some copanies did well during the terrible years of the war. Now, does that make it prosperous times??! As pointed out in one of the responses, we would all tell this story differently, but so much of Stephen Schoonmaker's article rings true, even for people in some other countries. I was a bit suspicious to start with, as I have seen similar articles deteriorate into a pointless rant, but I was relieved to find that it wasn't one-dimensional and it threw up some real important issues. Unfortunately, in a short article, you can only graze the surface of a complex and far-reaching topic. As for me, I don't see anything wrong with free trade or outsourcing if, and that's a big if, done sensibly and fairly to all involved. Clearly, that's generally not the case at the moment. Protectionism is not an answer either, but I won't try to claim that I have the ultimate answer and explain it in 25 lines here...

Entire thread
SubjectPosted byPosted on
*Does Engineering Matter and is Free Trade Really Free?   12/02/05 03:14 AM
.*Rings TrueSandor  03/08/06 07:16 PM
.*One possible answerTheo  01/14/06 10:48 AM
.*Preach it!Tom Joad, Engineer  12/09/05 05:30 PM
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