Sociology & Economics.

Week one. Exposure.
Analytical process of keynote presentation>Each keynote>Issues, Concepts, Contexts>3 Keywords

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Aditya Chakrabortty
Aditya is a senior economics editor at The Guardian newspaper. He will be reflecting on the relationship between economics and society in our world and asking, how can we keep going?

Sociology & Economics

Lead writer, writes a column every Tuesday in the Guardian.
Britain, whats gone wrong?

– First example Barking industrial estate – East London/Essex (I’d say essex, as any post code with barking is Barking, Essex…)
– Swift engineering went from a company with 100 people down to four, and they do a three day week, with some days only one person being there, that usually being the manager.
– Maybe ten, twenty years ago it was normal for people to finish school and do what their family did, so if your dad worked in a car factory you would probably to. University wasn’t the main option, working seemed to be the norm straight from school. Skilled jobs, nothing that you need to be taught in a class room necessarily.
– Example; Anthony Harris, worked in Harold Pipe Work’s for 35 years. He is a well skilled man. His son, around his mid 20’s has never had a full time job, only part time, on temporary contracts. He also suffers from depression.

– When industrial jobs start having a mechanical work force, the idea is to create time for the workers to do something else, perhaps more constructive jobs. However this isn’t the case and people end up losing their jobs to a machine. Or jobs leave the area, region, country to places that are cheaper, materials and labour costs.
– There is a knock on effect when work moves out of an area, the community within the factory and estate disappears, communities become isolated, people move away to find more work and the whole area changes from what it used to be.
– In the UK we have the biggest loss of industry since the end of the world war.

– Politics have a big part to play in sociological economics. There has been three big changes/ways of taking on this subject of the UK becoming/entering a financial crisis.
– Thatcher Argument, Blair Vision, Cameron Updates.
– In the 1970-1980s there was a question “is Britain dying?” and in response to this Keith Joseph, Margret Thatchers advisor wrote a speech in which he said “Growth means change”, therefor changes were made resulting in 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs disappearing, people either went into jobs they didn’t want/like or ended up signing on the dole.

– Tony Blair talked a lot before he acted.
– Labour focused and tried to embrace a young & creative country. However using technology to save Britain would and will not work, you can use technology as tool or platform but not as an actually solution to the poor economy.
– They tried to sell culture rather than things, as we, have nothing lift to sell, steel, furniture, cars etc are all being made else where. All we have left is ideas and culture to try to sell to other countries.

– Richard Florida likes this idea, he believes there are two types of people, Thinkers & Factory workers, and that these two kinds of people don’t cross over, and that people should adapt to change.
– This is all well and good if your a young person starting out, and deciding what kind of career you want to pursue as you can see what sector there are jobs available, but if you are a 50 year old man will skills to make a car, you either have to retrain in college or apprenticeship or not have a job.
– Another reason why there is a collapse is due to poor management, through bosses, government etc. the systems in place help the rich get richer and everyone else gets left behind. If companies invested into themselves and the profit margin was not the key focus of all manufacturing then perhaps we would still have a lot of manufacture in the UK.

– Consumerism and greed has forced the industry to other parts of the world that may have poor working conditions or general exploitation of the workers. Consumerism we can only really blame on ourselves. As a graphic designer if i chose to work for a company that manufactures offshore and has awful morals and worker exploitation, then I am contribution to the rich getting richer. As a designer I have to make a conscious decision of who I work for and what impact my work will have on the economy, environment etc. Designers, especially in advertising promote items for people to buy, if these designers are aware the products are made in other countries when they could be made in the UK then they are contributing to the deindustrialization and the finical crisis in the UK.”
– There have been schemes to try and promote the UK, a strange kind of propaganda that tries to bring life back into areas that have seen a decrease in economy, such as the “The North East” scheme. Pumping money into areas with expensive looking buildings, art etc when this is not what the area needs, making somewhere look cool does not make people want to go back and work there. The issues is trying to be covered up by making the area look nice to suggest that the problem has been solved, when instead its just been hidden.
– When Thatcher was in power there was 30% of people in industrial work, when Brown was in power that went down to 11%.

– Germany is slightly bigger than the UK, however there manufacturing industry has grown even with them using more machines to work for them.
– The UK seems to have an obsession with buying things, we buy more than we sell to other countries, literally everything is imported from other countries and because of this it has had a knock on effect to jobs, causing more people to rely on the state whether that people state jobs or on the dole. As we now have a coalition government, they have decided to cut back on state jobs and benefits leaving people with not many options.
– Example; MG Rover, a well known British car manufacture company. Completely shut down. 90% of the people who worked there now have a full time job, on a permanent contract, however they ear around £5,640 less a year, forcing them to use their own savings to pay to live.

– Management still believe that regeneration is important to help bring the economy up. for example the “Liverpool One” – Europe’s biggest regeneration project. This does not solve the problem having jobs, and that our own manufacturing industry is failing, it promotes people to buy things, this isn’t a long time solution.
– David Cameron tries to balance the thoughts and ideas of both Thatcher and Blair. He is aware people are to depend on state housing and general state handouts. This is why public spending cuts have been made to try and reduce the deficit that labour has put the country in.
– People always talk about community, community sprit, but no one tells you how, they suggest this solution but no way to implement it.

Questions –
– What justification would you give Anthony Harris?
– If we don’t find a replacement what is the consequence?

1. How can you justify what has happened, it doesn’t to seem to be one single persons fault, its been a gradual shift and process that no one has found the solution to solve yet.
2. If we don’t find something to replace this, then Britain will become totally reliant on other countries to produce goods and for them to be willing to trade with us. If trade relations broke down we would be in a even worse state than we are now. To me the only replacement can be the reintroduction of manufacturing in the UK.

Main Contextual Issues;
– Culture is to blame, if we didn’t want quantity over quality then perhaps manufacturing would remain in the UK.
– Designers influence of the public, moral questions should be raised before taking on a job.
– There needs to be some kind of balance between creative and skilled work.

Three Keywords;
– Consumerism
– Deindustrialisation
– Designers influence/Moral duty

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