Dumbstralia crawls from manufacturing’s carcass

The Australian’s Adam Creighton has warned that the collapse of Australia’s manufacturing sector has left the economy dangerously reliant on volatile commodities and low-productivity immigration to drive growth:

Our standard of living increasingly hinges on commodities — now two-thirds of our exports — whose prices in the long run are destined to fall… Meanwhile our manufacturing sector has shrivelled to 7 per cent of the workforce, far below comparable nations… Manufacturing makes up about 16 per cent of the workforce in Germany, Japan and Switzerland. Canada, whose economy otherwise is similar to ours…

Indeed since the mid-1960s economists have seen the productivity of a nation’s manufacturers as the source of its citizens’ living standards. Higher productivity in manufacturing means higher wages for those workers; and higher manufacturing wages dictate higher wages across the economy…

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