Monday, 28 November 2011

Guest Week Day 2: Worker Ant on Manufacturing.

 I first met Worker Ant through a guy I went to high school with. We were talking politics, the minimum wage, and free trade. Below, he summarises his thought on why he voted, and how he made his choice.

This post has only been lightly edited to preserve his unique voice; any words in bold have had an emphasis added by the editor.

Manufacturing: It’s buggered


     Ok I am going to get this out there in the open strait for the word go this is my first attempt at a blog so if this is an epic fail so be it, I’m going to at least feel better venting the anger I have built up inside, even if in the process of doing so I take five minutes of your life that you will never get back.


     I start by letting you all know for me when it comes to politics in the last three years my views have changed somewhat and that would be the birth of my son. Before that I had a cavalier attitude towards it all yeah I rocked on up and voted but there was never any real thought that went into it but as soon as my mini me was born I realised that my vote didn’t just affect me it would affect my son in the years to come and I think that’s where we as a generation are letting the side down somewhat. You see we are a generation of right now there’s no waiting we want it all right now and in doing so we fail to look at just what those decisions will affect not just next year but ten to twenty years from now.
Cartoon commenting on Canada's Free Trade Deal with the U.S.A


     I’ll take a big example well In my eyes it is anyway. The free trade deal with China and like it or not dear old Helen did sell us down the river on that one. Now before you colour me blue I am a firm labour supporter but this was a mistake and one that I think will punish New Zealand for years to come. 

     The thing is there are a lot of guys like me out there we don’t have fancy qualifications we can’t recite the times tables but there is one thing that we are good at and that’s working with our hands. Look it may be bottom of the food chain stuff and the world needs guys like me to do those jobs the educated don’t want to do and every time I hear that god dam “Up skilling” I cringe. Why? Because it makes me feel like you’re telling the guys like me that we're stupid and a waste of space and here’s the kicker:

     There are always going to be guys like me in this world and this is the problem all those type of jobs are disappearing over to the beloved China that every company owner loves with a passion.
From Oxfam's series on Free Trade, see below for links.
     This is where I explain how ten years from now those some owners who are now making hand over fist will find that their actions today will have a catastrophic effect on their bank balance in the future, I can think of at least 500 jobs in the last year in Christchurch alone that have left these shores bound for China all of them what you would call unskilled jobs, more and more of these jobs leave every month as these companies aim to maximise their profit and the thing is I can’t believe my eyes do they not realise they are putting the very people who buy their product out of the job?
     I know people trot out the line of “It makes things cheaper” but here’s the thing - If we didn’t ship all the jobs off shore in the first place it wouldn’t be so dam expensive. I think a lot of people need to realise we- in terms of population- we are tiny there is no way in hell we can compete with a country the size of China and why were we put in a position where we had to.

     And now I start to worry, what about my son's generation, the ones like me who don’t do well in school and need those manual labour jobs and there are none to be had. Is the future of New Zealander going to be on the first plane out of here as soon as he leaves school?.  

- Worker Ant  

For further reading on the topics of free trade and it's impact, please see the following 

Oxfam.org.uk's educational series on farming and free trade 

For more on the relationship between Canada and the USA, consider this essay series. 

And as always, Wikipedia has a more-or-less reliable introduction to the topic