Globalization hits Bochum

Saturday, January 19, 2008 at 4:31 | Posted in Germany | Leave a comment
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As Nokia closes a cell phone factory in Bochum, Germany, German politicians boycott Nokia phones. Nice Ventures Blog thinks that the politicians are more concerned of winning votes in this year’s regional elections than creating favorable long term conditions for high-tech jobs:

What surprises me about this all is the fact that people seem to hang on to jobs that can in its majority only be assembly jobs so requiring low qualification. German politicians seem to fight constantly for jobs such as in coal mining that have no real future. They in addition lack clear planning and investment into higher education and research. It is easier and faster to jump at such topics in particular when there are state elections like in Germany right now than trying to find future solutions.

The Financial Times Germany has a survey about the boycott showing more or less equal opinion between three options: effective pressure (35 %), activism (29 %) and nonsense (36 %).

Sad as it is for the plant workers in Bochum, they are being hit by the globalization, just as Nokia workers in Finland were when jobs were created in Germany. Nokia is no better nor worse than any other successful multi national. All of them locate their production where the cost is lowest and profits largest.

As for the boycott, I have a hard time imagining which cell phone manufacturer would be ethical enough not to give reason for a boycott in some corner of the World. Maybe the World would be better off altogether without cell phones. I have not used one for two years so I know what I am talking about.

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