Manufacturing meltdown! Productive economy faces catastrophy

It’s a funny old world. At the moment, I mean.

The Chinese saying goes: may you live in interesting times. I’m not sure if this is a friendly or unfriendly wish. Certainly the times are interesting, but also worrying.

Job “losses” are coming thick and fast. The old economic orthodoxies are being abandoned as the free market goes into free fall.

We’ve had a bailout of the financial sector – the government acting for the banksters, rather than for workers and customers.

But will there be a similar bailout of the productive economy?

After years of deindustrialisation we need to rebuild the manufacturing base of our economy with the aim of full employment, environmental sustainability, and workplace democracy.

A weak pound alone won’t save manufacturing…

The FT reports that:

Manufacturers are expecting the sharpest contraction in output in 30 years, according to a CBI survey published on Wednesday, which noted that the only time that a deeper decline had been expected was for two months in 1980 as the UK entered a recession.

The CBI Industrial Trends Survey, which covers October, came as the EEF, whose members are largely manufacturers, reported that one in four companies which had negotiated a pay deal in three months to the end of September had either deferred a decision or elected to freeze pay.

Separately, the Bank of England’s Agents’ Survey showed that companies last month pared back their investment plans to cover only essential expenditure as reports of small-scale redundancies and plant closures became more widespread.

Together, the three surveys point to a rapid deterioration in Britain’s manufacturing sector in recent months as the UK heads into a recession.

Commenting on the EEF and CBI surveys, David Yeandle, EEF head of employment policy, said: “The severity of these changes over such a short period of time indicates the extent to which companies are having to take immediate action to control their costs. It seems hard to believe it is only a few months since fears about wage inflation were so prevalent.”

Yeah, and it’s hard to believe that anyone took seriously the government claim that if public sector workers didn’t get a pay cut, there’d be rampant inflation…

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3 Responses to “Manufacturing meltdown! Productive economy faces catastrophy”

  1. David Lindsay Says:

    No, but it’s a good start.

    Manufacturing still accounts for more than twice the GDP of the entire financial services sector, never mind the (lame duck, heavily subsidised) City alone.

    Now all we need to do is sort out the threat (only initially economic) from un-unionised, child-exploiting sweatshops, not least by persuading other comparable sovereign states, as such, to do likewise, all in the interests of our workers’ proper wages, proper working conditions, proper skills and proper status.

    An economic populist and economic patriot, elected by and thanks to trade unionists and paleoconservatives, is about to enter the White House.

  2. Wyrdtimes Says:

    “The Chinese saying goes: may you live in interesting times. I’m not sure if this is a friendly or unfriendly wish. Certainly the times are interesting, but also worrying.”

    As I understood it that’s a curse rather than a saying.

  3. charliemarks Says:

    Yeah, curse was the word I was looking for, I recall. But I wasn’t able to remember it.


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