Yeah, the return of manufacturing to the West is not always the great thing it might seem at first, especially if it can only come back because of automation or, in the case of labour intensive work, because the local economy has been devastated, with high unemployment and people willing to accept peanuts for pay because there is nothing else. It's better than nothing but subsistence wages and continuing debt-fuelled lifestyles are not the way to the mythical land of milk and honey, either. Automation and overproduction are issues that will be corrected eventually.
I work in UAE were govt policy is that only people born from at least 50% citizen (previously father only) can indeed be a citizen and hence without this bit of paper you cannot stay here unless you have a sponsor and the sponsor for adults is normally your employer. Self funded is possible for about $5000 a year if you set up a shelf company in a free zone. Outside the free zone's all business must be 51% locally owned, ie most business owners find a national to have 51% ownership of their company for which the National contributes nothing and gets paid for the privalege. Govt policy gives nationals higher salaries and preference in employment especially in govt run enterprises. Private companies also give Nationals jobs real or not just to look good with govt. All the basic jobs are done by expats on cheap labour.
Whats this all mean? Bascally this is the only arrangement I can see where 100% employment and wealth for all citizen's of a country can have well paid "jobs". Every economy must have the working poor as welll as the wealthy and middle class. In the 21st century, you cannot manufacture basic/low skilled goods on high salaries indefinitly if you want to retain that industry. If you keep loosing industry, eventually the lower paid jobs the working class had will be gone and they quality of life and standard of living will be even lower. The important thing is to ensure the lower paid employees don't become slaves and are looked after and given the same opputunities at school and health care and not discrimated against (unlike the UAE). Not everyone can be a IT guru and its irrelevent anyway as you can pay IT guru's in India to do the same job for less, with 10's millions of IT graduates, its not hard to find a few good ones.
Degree wise, most Australian universities have good to excellent world standings. In Australia there is little discrimination from one uni to the other and usually within 2-3 years of leaving uni few give a smeg anyway and like me, most never even have to show their paperwork (UAE was first job in 20 years I had to find my transcript, even India didn't care). I think the skills shortage has woken most employers up to the BS degrees (and trades) from the sub-continent and others. I work with an Indian guy that was kicked out of a Australian manufacturing site and he and famiy sent home after 6mths for this reason. We are hearing more employers for remote regions of the world chasing EXpat in oil and gas would rather western expat from any heavy industry and train them than hire Indian O&G because the CV's are usually (but not all) so much a work of fiction. Once you get out of Australia you also quickly realise your passport says more about you than anything else when applying for a job. Should the mining boom/skills shortage occur again (it will, one day), I cannot see Australian employers again rushing for sub-contients like last time. Probably target Eastern European, better fit cultually (a large part of Indian's do not travel well due to diet and expectations on job, promotion and working with women etc, juniors and non-degree qualified people), often better standard of education. Fillopino's can be hard workers, food wise are easy and have culture that is more western orientated. Usually a great source for trades but lack the skill levels of many Aussie trades and often better english standards. But degree wise Pillipines is a bit lacking.
I don't believe the artificle GDP's is a major issue. The world needs to catch up to the boom of the 2000's. The debt levels and budget deficits is keeping us treading water until we again fall back on the longterm growth curve. China drove much of the 2000's boom due to shift of jobs from west to east and the fast recovery, normally on developed country influence only, the boom would not have lasted as long as it did, the crunch would have been softer for many economies than it was and it would be more behind us. Manufacturing will return to the west, although differently, the workers/trades/professional salaries in Australia needs to return to something sustable. The number of new SUV/4x4's in Australia will slow and age, the number of houses built with pools, 4-5 bedrooms will also decrease and along with it the abilty to go OS for holidays. The dollar will go down making local manufacture more profitable and hence the cycle will begin again. We have been here before. 60's boom (driven by mining), 70's debt and loss of maufacuturing, 80's payback, late 90's recovery and return to manufacturing, 2000's boom. The recession correction Australia needed in early 2010's didn't happen, it has to come, we cannot all live in $100,000 salaries.