Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Future of Jobs? From Linen to Games

We've gotten into Game of Thrones, now on season 2.  Last night the commentary mentioned Banbridge.  Banbridge is a town in County Down, Ulster of about 16,000.  It happens to be near where my great grandfather was born, and has been mentioned by my cousin who has made regular trips back to Ulster.  Turns out the town was into linen;  in the words of Wikipedia: "The town owes its success to flax and the linen industry, becoming the principal linen producing district in Ireland by 1772 with a total of 26 bleachgreens along the[River] Bann. By 1820 the town was the centre of the 'Linen Homelands' and its prominence grew when it became a staging post on the mail coach route between Dublin and Belfast."

But linen has fallen on hard times, and there's just one linen mill left operating.  One of the others failed in 2008, and has since been converted to a production studio.It's this studio which hosts a part of Game of Thrones for some seasons.

When you think about movies, they're made all over.  Vancouver and Montreal, Morocco and Eastern Europe, New York, North Carolina, Louisiana, New Mexico are just a few of the locations I remember being used for the movies and TV shows I've seen recently, not to mention the old standbys of Britain and Italy.

And the remaining linen mill in Banbridge has long specialized on fine linens and bespoke linens.

So what we have is a shift of jobs from making products to making entertainment.  What's notable is these jobs presumably are safe from automation, which is more than we can say for manufacturing or many service jobs.

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