My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Kurmelovs must have done a mountain of research into what the media describes as a simple issue of cost-effectiveness – the result is a heart-rending story about the people it affects, people just like the rest of us, raising children and working to live.
Local politicians positively spin the opening of the latest Hungry Jack’s franchise as ‘good for local jobs’ because the official youth unemployment rate in the area is pushing 17 per cent or higher.
And yet the Australian car industry closure affects people raising those very youth, and what jobs can they look forward to? Are bartending and premium agriculture in the ‘New Economy’ of Tourism, Food, and Wine in a water-poor state secure jobs?
All it would take is one bad recession, or one long drought, for it all to be wiped away again.
And if you, like our governments, are thinking start-ups and tech will take the place of manufacturing jobs, think again.
Guys popping rivets on cars and driving trucks aren’t going to be working in start-ups. They don’t even have the networks to get those jobs done.
It would be easy to come away from reading this book feeling that it was just a series of stories, each with similar beginnings, similar twists, and very much the same endings. But that’s because the closure of the Holden plant in Australia isn’t just an isolated event, and it didn’t just affect a small group of people.
If we are to understand how the transition from an industrial society to a post-industrial one will affect each and every one of us, then we need exposure to these stories because as this book shows us, the bland politicized statement ‘stop giving them handouts’ ultimately affects us all.
I won a copy of this book in an on-line competition with Kill Your Darlings