Thursday, June 18, 2009

Protectionism and why you can't get a job

This is a very touching musical appeal for protectionism in America. This form of protest is much better than the form presently being used in Iran, however . . .

America benefits from free trade more than any other nation. We have been the great advocates of free trade and have expressed unhappiness with nations such as Japan for retaining protectionism in some form. We have been criticized for demanding that developing nations institute policies of free trade because they might develop more quickly if they could protect certain industries. But we have been adamant advocates of Free Trade; which is the opposite of Protectionism.

So what is it that all these singers want? Jobs yes, but jobs involve working for someone and that someone is in competition with competitors around the world.

In my view, “protectionism” was one of the sillier planks in Obama’s platform. Canadian officials have already complained about certain mild hints of protectionism. Protectionism will probably be quid pro quo. If we protect certain industries or businesses, how can we complain if a foreign nation engages in equivalent protectionism.

Again, America more than any other nation benefits from free trade. American companies adapt or they are swallowed up by other companies. Workers need to adapt as well.

To say “I have a strong back and a weak mind but believe in a day’s work for a day’s pay” was a commendable attitude during the 1930s depression years and later through the war years, but as we became more technologically oriented, jobs became more sophisticated. In the 50’s and 60s becoming educated would qualify you for a “white collar” job. This is even more true today.

My advice to such people as the singers would be: Protectionism isn’t going to work in this present age. Don’t count on your job being protected. Get educated. Go to college if you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, go into the military and after you get out you will be able to afford to go to college. If you are medically unqualified for the military and can’t afford college, then take some free classes. Take correspondence courses. All that looks good on a resume.

I have known engineers who had educations and jobs, but during downturns, they were laid off. They weren’t as good as some other engineers. Many industries, after all, are meritocracies. I worked in aerospace which was very much a meritocracy. I wondered why certain people had become engineers. Their hearts weren’t in that sort of work. Nevertheless they did have educations, and if they couldn’t compete with better engineers, they could do other sorts of work. Their degrees weren’t wasted. Also, they were competing for jobs at a much higher, better paying, level than the High School dropout who just doesn’t like school and is too afraid to go into the military.

If you say something like (and I have heard these statements over the years): “I am too afraid to go into the military; I don’t like school; so I wouldn’t do well in college,” I find it difficult to sympathize with you. You probably also show a lack of discipline in your life. You don’t have the discipline to study, keep in shape, etc, etc., etc. I have spoken to a number of such people and the discussions have gone nowhere. I offer constructive advice but it is rejected because they can’t, can’t, can’t. It would be better for them to say “won’t, won’t, won’t.” And if your choice is involved, then why plague the rest of us with your complaints?

No comments: