Wednesday 23 October 2013

There Are No Jobs For Life

So days, or was it minutes, after Westminster is boasting about the Hinckley Point nuclear plant deal, we learn that the petrochemical plant Grangemouth is to close and Edinburgh is scrambling to deal with the fall out.

"Private Eye" would wonder if it was "surely, some coincidence" but perhaps not.  All major industry and its finance and funding is now more or less global and this means that changes and the making of decisions are not easy to explain to the voting masses and more difficult to justify.

In the meantime the relevant political parties are engaged in the first priority activity, that is trying to pin the blame and the cost on someone else.  This could be very ugly.  My questions are firstly where is Gazprom and secondly where are the Germans, never mind the Chinese?

There are bigger and broader questions behind all this.  In the next decade or two some sectors of the economy will contract and perhaps, or maybe not, some will expand.  If those which depend on the public sector are those that might expand there is the problem of how and with whose money?

This too, could be very ugly.  What hardly anyone is facing up to or answering is the first question, what is on the way down and worse what is going to go under? 

To deal with this both Westminster and Edinburgh are prone to look for a small number of very big projects to back for media approval and to catch voters eyes with easy headlines.

But these concentrate the money and jobs when the urgent need is to spread them around a lot more in activities that are as sustainable as possible and need work forces with varied and different levels of skills.  This does not seem either to be happening or part of the thinking.

The infographic above comes from The Enlightened Economist a blog for those who study economics and is concerned with the business of publishing and the relevant technology.  This is done by having the two aspects side by side.  What is clear is the gathering speed of change and impact.

In other areas of economic activity the story would be more complicated in some respects but still the same basic principle is involved.  It has all become faster changing, more global and more unpredictable.

In the past we have had a lot of five year plans.  What of a world where even a five month plan is rarely possible?

1 comment:

  1. "what is going to go under?"

    We are - especially if we don't stop trying to control everything from the centre except when we outsource the decisions offshore.