Some time ago Nokia announced that they will be closing the cell-phone factory in Bochum, Germany, and moving the production to their plant in Romania. Lots and lots of Germans got angry (and who can blame them?). And now, the Finnish part of Attac has called for boycott against Nokia.

Now, while I understand the annoyance of Germans over the issue, I don't understand the issue Finnish Attac has over this issue. I mean, this is not a case os simply closing down a factory, this is about closing down a factory in one place, and moving the production (and lots of jobs) to some other place. Knowing that, and knowing that Attac opposes that move, it begs a question: Does Attac feel that Germans deserve these jobs, while Romanians do not? Why else would they oppose this move?


dr witmol said...

Welcome to the same problems as Australian manufacturing (which is dying due to our proximity to China).

Economics say if you can't compete, then it's inevitable that a company will manufacture in a cheaper country if they can get the same or similar quality workmanship.

The problem is that a lot of the quality problems they have in China have not been resolved but consumers have adapted to a lower standard, and I think that's sad.

Janne said...

There has actually been a lot of discussion about outsourcing to far east in Finland. Lots of companies have closed down operations and moved them to China etc. And while things like that are worrisome, it seems that it's not the end of the world (*knocks on wood*). Unemployment has been going down, and those who have been laid off have found new jobs quite easily.

It seems to be a similar transition as we had from agriculture to industry. This time it's from industry to services.

True, if the quality goes down with such a move (and it does seem to happen at least in China), then we can seriously question the wisdom of it. But if the quality stays the same, while prices go down, then as far as the product itself is concerned, there is no drawback.

That said, I do prefer products that are made in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Japan etc. as opposed to products that are made in China. But things like these are always complex.

As to the situation at hand... It's a basically a question of who should do this particular work: the Germans who have done it so far, or the Romanians who are willing to do it for less money. Now, if this is a question of either employing X number of people in Germany or X number of people in Romania, does it matter in the end who does it? In fact, one could say that these jobs benefit the Romanians more, since their standards of living is so much lower and they need the money this factory brings with it. Germans will have high standard of living, with or without this particular factory. So this could be seen as a massive transfer of wealth from rich countries to poorer countries.

Of course Germans would want Germans to the work, and that's understandable. But if we have a totally outside-party (in this case, Attac) make the claim that Germans should do the work, it begs the question: Why? Why do they prefer Germans over Romanians?