Your Loving Son,
Flight, 2 September 1948
"A Year's Progress"
|"Lettice" is the first name. So, on the one hand, there once was|
a parent who thought it appropriate to name his daughter,
"Lettice." On the other, his name was Walter Septimer Curtis.
|How do we get more women reading our magazine? It truly is a mystery.|
The Economist, 4 September 1948
"Breathing Space in Germany?" The Economist reports that there may be a resolution of the Berlin impasse at the commanders' level, as the four Allied sector commanders have been directed to meet to settle at least the currency issue, and, if the Russians get their way and an agreement can be reached, control of credit. The worry is that, if an agreement can't be reached, it brings us right to November flying weather. But even if a Berlin settlement is reached, it will not end the ongoing struggle for the hearts and minds of Germany. It seems odd that this is even an issue when the Russians have taken away territory, continue to impose reparation payments, and did not even dare hold an election this year. "This is the general picture --one of steady Allied advance and of steady Russian falling away." After a few of the trademark The Economist slow circles of the facts, the leader comes back around to the idea that the Russians might just be delaying until east German barns are full and the winter fogs close in. The Economist ends by demanding a firm decision right now to either fight or defeat, since we can't count on the airlift. Everyone's a pilot, now!
"The Limitations of the TUC" This is to be the first of a multipart series on "Labour and the Nation." The last six months of wage restraint have seen prices go up regardless, which was not what was promised. Had prices gone up, labour would have seen a real wage increase, but it has not. Instead of concluding that Britain is poorer and has less to buy, labour has decided that wage increases would allow members to maintain their standard of living. The General Council of the TUC needs to impress on the membership that they cannot have their pay increase. It must also persuade it that productivity and full employment go hand in hand. It is no longer a matter of politics: Labour wants full employment, and the Tories will honour that commitment. (Unless it accidentally listens to The Economist and brings back unemployment to discipline labour and strengthen disinflation.) The only way to have full employment is to compete in foreign markets, and the only way to do that is to increase productivity. Industrial efficiency and labour mobility are necessary. Unfortunately, the TUC can't tell the local unions that, because it can't tell them anything, which is the weakness of the TUC.
"Efficiency in Uno" The Economist is very unhappy with the last session of Uno's Economic and Social Council, which was very inefficient. Many other aspects of the Uno organisation are inefficient. There is much paper being produced, but a shortage of dams erected and marshes drained --the sort of thing The Economist imagines the Uno might do, if it were to achieve full efficiency. Fortunately, the office of the Secretary General is showing signs of being efficient, so perhaps dams will be built and marshes drained, very soon.
"Industrious Designers" If it weren't obvious before this, The Octopus is back from summer vacation, and back to his day job squiring vast clouds of ink into the water. This article is about how engineers and artists and advertisers are all sometimes interested in good design, which is a very nebulous thing that seems to make products better; but other people aren't. There should be fewer of the latter people, and more of the former. Sometimes, the number of one or the other is affected by the way that the Royal College of Art is organised, and since, after wandering around the subject, the last part of the article focusses on how the the College should organise its new School of Design, I am going to assume that that is what the leader is about.
Notes of the Week
"Engineers' Wages" The Court of Inquiry has decided that the Engineers deserve a pay raise, which will open the flood gates and destroy the country. Meanwhile, the Treasury has decided to give engineering workers at government facilities a pay raise, which is "astonishing," and will destroy the country some more. In fact, it is all the government's fault, since The Economist finally gets around to explaining that the Court ruling was based on the Government raise.
"Another French Crisis" The fall of the latest French cabinet is laid off on inflation rising faster than wages. This would bring the Communists back, which is why the Socialists wouldn't go along with Premier Reynaud's 10% pay increase, which would not have been enough, which is why the Reynaud cabinet fell.
|It looks like it was mainly a quality control issue.|
By MKD - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
"Zhdanov's Death" The Economist is very rude to the Hero of Leningrad, who was ignorant and absurd in his constant claims that Soviet Russia was surrounded by a "ring" of capitalist states, but perhaps there was some small way in which he wasn't awful.
"Closed Shops" The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers is campaigning for mandatory Saturday afternoon closings, which would destroy the country.
"Progress of the Health Service" The first figures show an alarming increase in prescriptions being issued. This is very expensive, and if it continues, will destroy the country. (Okay, actually, only cut into education funding, the only possible area for economies.)
"British Justice on Trial" The Economist may be for hangings, floggings, long sentences and stringent terms, but it knows an injustice when it sees it, and putting Brauchitsch, Rundstedt, Manstein and Colonel-General Strauss on trial is just exactly that. They only shot Russians, for God's sake, and commissars at that! (Okay, that's not what The Economist says. It is mainly worried about the fact that the charges were delayed for so long, which leaves it to conclude that this is the latest checkpoint in the Government's descent into socialist barbarism. I just thought I'd mention that Russian prisoners were, in fact, shot, and I think that's still a crime.)
"The Facts of East-West Trade" The Economic Commission for Europe is dispassionately trying to collect the facts in regards to eastern Europe continuing to ship raw materials to the west in return for industrial products. Unfortunately, the key fact has nothing to do with steel for rye. It is that they are communists.
"Bread and Bahrein" The Persian Majlis has brought up Persia's claim to the island of Bahrein, just in time for the Shah's visit to Britain. This is seen as an embarrassment to the young Shah, who has called for new labour legislation, and who is obviously being wooed over the ongoing issue of the oil concession, which the opposition in the Majlis hates. More importantly, the bread crisis has required rationing, and compulsory purchases from landlords, who are the majority in the Majlis, and who are not pleased with the idea of disgorging their wheat holdings at less than the going price.
"The Roving Forties" The Economist notices that it is hard for over-40s to find new employment, and that it is therefore good that the Civil Service's latest round of hiring is open to candidates born between 1897 and 1915. It also points out that this is "evening up both sides of the current employment pyramid." By that it means that a disproportionate number of members of the Civil Service are in their 50s and reaching retirement age, and hiring under-30s to replace them would just reproduce the problem out in the distant days of thirty years from now in the Swinging Seventies, or whatever we will call them. Industry and commerce should do likewise.
"Failure to Register" Speaking of justice, some young men are refusing to register for National Service, and The Economist wants some kind of coercion, even if, it grants, the Government can't prosecute "a million stragglers."
"Tension in Finland" The Social Democratic government has completed an inquiry into the national police force, which was organised and recruited under a previous Communist Minister of the Interior. It has found that they are all leftists (there are only 1500 mobile police in the flying squads and 400 plainclothes), that 85% have criminal records, mostly for "treason," and, in general, something should be done. The Russian mission is upset about this, hence "tension." In other foreign political news that doesn't warrant a full section, Queen Wilhelmina's abdication takes effect this week, and The Economist briefly reviews her career and points out that Holland is in various difficulties over this and that. Rotterdam is still not at full capacity, Indonesia, that sort of thing.
|James Yen Yang Chu|
In shorter notes, we are told that the Colonial Office has told the United Nations committee on "non-self-governing territories" to sod off, various United States of Europe types who are meeting at Interlaken are very pleased with this whole ERA thing. The Economist is not pleased with British Railway's decision to sell cigarettes on steamers outside British territorial waters at 2s 6d, five times their wholesale price and two-and-a-half times as much as charged on other steamers. This is too much, and is very patronising.
In a correction at the bottom, The Economist says that there was a misprint in last week's article on "Italy's Colonies." Where the article said that 80% of Eritreans wanted either an "Italian" or Ethiopian trusteeship, the survey in fact said "International."
Bosworth Monk cites figures for industrial products exported to South Africa to show that if the efficiency of production were doubled, the labour cost would fall from 4% to 2%. Freight and insurance, as one example, contribute 5.5% to the final cost. "Overhaul of distribution" would do far more to reduce the price of exports than any imaginable increase in labour efficiency. G. Lulof writes from Holland that the Uno ceasefire did not save the world $30 million in costs of war, because if all of those peace loving foreigners hadn't interfered, the Dutch army would have had those natives back to work in a jiffy, and not burning goods on the docks. The same applies to peace loving foreigners getting in the way of the French bringing peace and order to the Hundred Kingdoms, and the British bombing rice paddies into good citizenship in Malaya. John Ryan, of the Metal Box Company, writes to explain why American tin-can workers are seven times as efficient as British. They are not. American tin-can makers are quite efficient, and the British industry studied their methods and adopted their equipment in the 1930s, and British tin cans are made very efficiently. The additional labour is spent on "highly decorated non-standard containers to meet the varied demands of the British manufacturers." Antony Vickers points out that coal handling has become far more efficient over the last twenty years, and goes on to suggest that labour is fine with labour-saving equipment if it doesn't lead to their being "displaced." R. E. Peierls, the President of the Atomic Scientists' Association, writes to point out that atomic scientists are perfectly capable of distinguishing between atomic secrets and normal science, and can even manage to not talk about the former while talking about the latter.
Geoffrey Gorer's The Americans explains the land of milk and honey to us. I haven't the slightest clue how, except that "the American conscience is predominantly feminine," which sounds like it ought to be an insult, and his rigorous sociological and anthropological research has established why Americans can hate FDR, soldiers and politicians, be anti-Semitic at home and Zionist abroad and --that's all I've got.
Two recent books on Indian history, K. M. Panikkar's Survey of Indian History, and H. G, Rawlinson's The British Achievement in Indian are grouped under the same heading. Rawlinson's book is "frankly an apologia," which sent me to Funk and Wagonell's on the notion that The Economist couldn't possibly be admitting that it was one long book of excuses. But, no, that is exactly what it is! But just to redeem the column a bit, the reviewer, and Panikkar, have no more time for that than I do. Albert Lauterbach's Economic Security and Individual Freedom is a defence of economic planning to give society both together. The Economist disagrees (here). Planning is awful; although so is the American taste for graft and black markets. W. S. Reid's Letters of an Economic Father is one of those books that are pretend advice-letters-of-fathers-to-sons. The Economist didn't like it that much. Oliver Walker's Kaffirs are Lively is a terrible book that claims that South African natives aren't awful.
From The Economist of 1848
The Economist of 1848 hates panaceas such as communism, the charter, and co-operation. This week's panacea is emigration. Various people think that emigration would reduce unemployment, poverty and competition. On the contrary, 854,000 people have left Britain in the last seven years, one-thirtieth of the population, without improving any of these one whit, and given that emigrants are usually young, vigorous and enterprising, there is no reason that they should. Rather, it will just increase the "demoralisation and deterioriation of the whole."
"The Coming Campaign" Dewey and Warren are going on coordinated whistlestop tours. Truman will campaign against Congress. Wallace will campaign against Dixiecrats, a category that includes Dewey and Truman as well as the actual States Right candidate, whoever or whoevers that might turn out to be. This is deemed to be a terrible thing to do, since if he stirs up Southern Negroes, this will stir up Southern Whites, who will then lynch them back to order. (Got it: Trying to stop lynchings will just cause lynchings. White supremacy is awful, but nothing can ever be done about it.) Congress will be fighting "communism," including, as Carroll Reece puts it, the Democratic Party, since there are only two real political parties in America today, the GOP and the American Communist Party. Dewey will not be fighting on foreign policy, since his speech to Italian Americans urging the return of Ethiopia to Italy led to such a stern reaction.
"The Dilemma of the Red Herring" Red herrings are smoked, and where there is smoke there is fire. Therefore, red herrings aren't actually red herrings, but rather indications that the Democratic Party is full of Communists just like Alger Hiss, while the Republican Party is full of true-blue patriots like Whittaker Chambers. The latest talk is that red-herring-smoking should be taken out of the hands of HUAC and given over to an independent commission led by General Eisenhower, which will get at the facts, just in time for Election Day.
"Farm Surpluses Again" America demanded that farmers give their all, and they did. Now there is a bumper crop for the fourth year in a row, and something has to be done to support farm incomes. One thing that will be done is that the ECA will be barred from procuring oats, flaxseed and linseed oil outside the United States.
"Freedom on the Air" The Economist gives its version of the recent pushback against the "giveaway" shows. Programmed show producers hate them, and the FCC thinks there is something vaguely immoral about them, but advertisers are pointing out that giving away cars and permanent waves to the winners of too-easy quiz shows is constitutionally protected freedom of speech.
"Plight of the Airlines" The airlines are all losing money. That's one thing. Increased postal rates would help with that, if they can be sprung from Congress. A more serious matter is aircraft development. It seems that the airlines cannot afford it. The 80th Congress considered and rejected legislation that would have made the Air Force responsible for it. That may be revived.
"Printers Under Fire" The fight between the International Typographical Union and five Chicago dailies is now seven months old, and the national union reiterated its support for the Chicago local at its national convention last week. The local is fighting for a closed shop, a longstanding practice, but banned by Taft-Hartley. It thinks there is room for the dailies to voluntarily concede the closed shop, which has brought the NLRB in on the dailies' side.
Whatever comes of that, the other side of the story is the ongoing effort to print the paper with the Vari-typer. A Vari-typer costs $700, a new automatic composing machine between $4000 and $10,000, and the typist who operates a Vari-typer charges a third of the wage of a linotype operator. Papers produced with a Vari-typer are getting steadily more paper-like, and beyond the Vari-typer are new inventions which "print" with electron guns rather than letterpresses. The ITU understands that these inventions cannot be headed off, and therefore is authorising increased pressure on the dailies. In particular, the ITU will produce competing papers.
The World Overseas
"Prospects of Japanese Recovery" Are dim, you'll be surprised to hear. You know, just like Germany last year. Japan is still at only 40% of prewar production, while the notes in circulation have increased fifteen-fold. This is due to war, the Allies, and Japanese officialdom. War cut Japan off from its former colonies, and ruined local markets for its exports. The Allies imposed reparations, and the Japanese cannot get organised. Now, reparation demands are being scaled down, and they are giving up on trying to break up the Zaibatsu combines. The Export-Import Bank has issued a $60 million credit so that Japan can buy American cotton. However, in general, including Japan in the dollar area is a mistake when its traditional customers are in the soft money zone. Instead, a system of bilateral trade pacts and multiple exchange rates has developed with sterling zone partners. There are those in the occupation who would like to get rid of this in a cleansing blast of laissez faire, but that is impossible. Predictably, The Economist calls for a lower standard of living than before the war, and austerity. Then, it checks itself, noting that that implies mass starvation in the cities, which would probably be bad, before bracing itself to say that this is what is needed. Only with no starvation. Somehow.
|Going to rest my eyes for a moment before getting on with Geoff Crowther's ongoing Journalism Against Humanity project.|
"South Africa Under the Nationalists" The Nationalists like Fascists and hate the Coloured with a fiery passion. Various people think it unreasonable to take away the Coloured vote by a simple majority vote in the House when its a Constitutionally-guaranteed right, but the only people who care about those sorts of things are Communists, and the Nationalists hate Communists, too. And foreigners. And the English, although they aren't going to act on their hate for the English, since this would stop English people who vote for them. As to why English vote for Nationalists, well, The Economist comes back around to the "hating the Coloured" part.
"Oil, Agriculture and Industry in Venezuela" In spite of its oil boom, the vast majority of Venezuela's 4 million people live on the land and farm. But unless Venezuela can make its agriculture efficient, it is doomed in the long run, when the oil runs out, with proven reserves only good for another twenty years. The Spanish sponsored land consolidation, and the post-independence leadership extended this. Under Juan Vicente Gomez, large landowners were further favoured, and land was allowed to go out of arable into pasture and fallow, while the peasants were driven up on the hillsides, where they farmed without terracing. Long rows of corn and yucca went up and down the hillsides, there was erosion. Editorial over, some facts follow. There are 59.000 agricultural holdings, only 2,600 were of more than 160 hectares, with 95.6% of landowners holding 21.3% of the land. Of 3.4 million hectares, only 709,000 were "actually cultivated," and most farm labour was non-landholding, with 420,000 agricultural families to go with those 59,000 holdings. the labourer is severely undernourished, high wages in the oilfield have drawn the most efficient, and towns and cities have drawn more. The corn crop was down 33% from 1936 to 1947, while coffee and cocoa exports have been declining for decades, the livestock industry for the last half century. The Venezuelan government has made some investment in irrigation, and the Rockefeller Foundation has been noodling about trying to spend the money it committed to keeping in the country under the oil concessions, with a food oil plant here and investments in urban real estate there.
|I haven't the slightest idea why a Pittsburgh panorama depicts oil exploration, but I am going to pretend that it is some kind of illustration of the way that an oil industry can promote general industrial development.|
The Business World
"Disinflation in Jeopardy" A long article in which the gist is that the disinflationary pressure of earlier in the year, of which the most important component was the public budget surplus, which the promise of falling capital expenditure and a higher savings rate following on, has now had all the effect it can. Capital spending is creeping up again, although not as much as The Economist expected, and the small savers have not come through. Also, the trade deficit is much larger than officially predicted, and unemployment, instead of rising to 450,000, has fallen to 260,000. Britain is still in a "disinflationary equilibrium," but it would only take the smallest push on the wage front to reverse this. Also, we can stop worrying about the radio industry, which has recovered from its setback earlier in the year.
"Rayon and the New Fibres" This is a long story somehow spun out of three shorter ones. The first is that Americans and British are still fighting over who has the legal right to use "rayon" and "nylon" to refer to various products. The Economist spends a page and a half on this before deciding that it has no opinion. The second fact is that Courtaulds has cancelled its new factory in Dundee. This goes back to "disinflation in jeopardy," in that it is a cut in capital spending and a relief on demand for scare building supplies. It might also suggest that the industry is over-extended, in that this is the same week that American Viscose cancelled a new plant in Virginia, but The Economist thinks that it has more to do with existing factories increasing production by being more efficient. Finally, ICI has announced a new fabric with the warmth and resilience of wool, "Ardil." It will probably be producing 10,000t a year from a new plant in Dumfries by 1950.
|Ardil is the "forgotten peanut fibre," and failed with the Groundnuts Scheme.|
Also, Terylene, the first completely synthetic fibre, not begun with cellulose, has recently been announced by W. H. Carothers and J. R. Whinefield. Also, the British Rayon Research Association wants everyone to know that it is working on new specialised spinning and weaving equipment.
"Stirrings in the Market" Bonds are up; "The Fall in Rentes" Returns in France are down, and the government can't sell bonds, and is financing the trade deficit with ERA money; "Deserted Goodwill in the Film Trade" The Americans won't say that they are retaliating against the British quota with a boycott, but they are; "Sir Stafford Goes West" Stafford Cripps is visiting North America, where he will talk finances; "Hot Money to Australia" Money is flowing into Australia in anticipation of a revaluation, perhaps down 20% against gold and the dollar, like the one recently carried out in New Zealand. "Australia's Gift" Australia is giving Britain ten millions Australian because it's the mother country, and not because Britain has been extending loans to the continental European countries now buying Australian wool; Trade discussions with Denmark are on again. "The Coal Board Summer School" The Economist attended, doesn't have much to say because it was boring. There's also a bit about E. H. Browne's "Development Plan for Coal," given at the School, which boils down to saying that since the Board doesn't know how demand for coal will develop, it really has to be an "evolutionary" plan, which seems to be pretty much the same thing as no plan. Rubber prices are fluctuating, and Dundee's jute supplies have been assured through the end of the year by the grant to Pakistan of a soft currency export quota of 86,000 tons, of which Britain will get 37,000 tons, France 20,000, and everyone from Russia to Australia sharing the rest. "British Cars to the United States" British cars aren't particularly competitive on price, but that doesn't matter very much given the shortage, and they have the quality small car market to themselves. "Fair Weather in Wool" In spite of American predictions of a collapse in the price of wool, nothing of the sort has happened. Disposal of wartime surplusses has weakened the wool market, and there remains low quality wool in the stockpile to be disposed of, Demand in Europe is above prewar levels, it does not appear that this is because of a backlog, and hours worked in the industry is increasing in Europe and in America. American firms are eking out their wool by adding other fibres. Europeans are not, because there is no alternative fibre. South African wool deliveries are declining. There is likely to be a wool shortage!!!
Flight, 9 September 1948
|The retrospective account has Douglas being reluctant to proceed with the original specification because they expected the United States to be cancelled.|
|RuthAS picture. It's going to be interesting to watch the British aviation community dig itself out of the hole it has dug over the Viscount.|
The Economist, 11 September 1948
"The Silly Season" The Government has called a special session of Parliament to pass the Parliament Bill, which is the bill to further reduce the power of the House of Lords. The reason that this is silly is that it is being done to prevent the Lords from stalling steel nationalisation past the next election. The Economist thinks that nationalising steel is a silly idea, as it would, and that therefore the Parliament Bill is silly by extension (or whatever the equivalent of extension if it happens before --pre-emption?) The Economist reminds us that the Government refused to call Parliament during the crisis last summer, which would have been a good time for a special session, so this is silly, too. Also, it could talk about all the ways the country is coming apart this year, but isn't, so that's silly, too. Has The Economist reminded you that Britain will come apart soon, yet? Because it is.
"Rally in China" I know that The Squid is way dumber than he thinks he is, but this is too much. He has swum over to the edge of the aquarium facing China, given it his best peer-about with his googly underwater eyes, and determined that the Koumintang are "rallying." This is because of the new currency reform, which is what The Economist chooses to call Nanking's gold grab. The Communists have an LA (Liberated Area) currency, and now the Koumintang has an LA (Los Angeles) yuan!
"A Western Statesman" The Economist offers an extended political obituary of Eduard Benes on the occasion of his death, although The Squid is so awful that it was only because I had my copy of Time in the same mail call that I knew it was an obituary. Honestly! No mention of the death, which I assume we are supposed to know about from our daily papers or the radio, which is a lot easier said than done when you are parked on a runway in Arcata trying to keep a PBY flying. Also, even if you are farming out your news coverage to Stars and Stripes and the Arcata Picayune-Intelligencer, you do at least need to mention the subject's Christian name. It's just polite.
But don't worry for a second that The Squid will fail to point out at the end that, since Benes is a typical Western Statesman, and was Overthrown by the World Communist Conspiracy, that is likely to be the fate of all the other Western Statesmen. In other words, the world is coming apart. Again.
Notes of the Week
|Henri Queuille will lead the Third Force to victory in the|
legislative elections n the summer of 1951.
"A Change in Germany" The Allied commanders in Berlin were unable to come to an agreement. The Russians have tightened the cordon around the Allied sectors, and the Berlin municipal government has relocated to the British sector. According to last week's The Economist, the world has now ended. According to this week's, everything is fine, and the Bonn talks on the future of Bizonia/Trizonia are going well.
On the bright side, we can still hope for the world ending in November!
"America Overrides the OEEC" The Americans have overridden OOEC allocations to Bizonia, which the American Military Government didn't like. "Nothing will so discourage Europe, nothing will so quickly destroy confidence or play more effectively into the Communist hands than the belief that the United States intends to rebuild Western Germany at the expense, if necessary, of everybody else." Also, the Americans have raised the question of reparations again, with Hoffman asking Marshall to review the list of plant to be dismantled and removed, in case they better serve the European Recovery Plan where they are. Also, there was a wicked fight at the TUC Congress over whether workers' representatives on the boards of nationalised industries were more individuals, or more union representatives, the last being "syndicalism," and bad, because what does a union know about the place where it works?
"Co-operative Breakthrough" The Co-operative Union seems to be giving up on the policy of price-cutting it initiated in February at the behest of the Chancellor. Wage increases and higher national insurance contributions require price increases. The BBC's annual report is out, and is very boring, so The Economist snazzes it up by throwing in some worries about how your average working man doesn't like listening to classical music, and therefore something something end is nigh.
"Communist Purges" the eastern European parties are purging their "bourgeois opportunists." An equal opportunity doomsayer, The Economist points out that the Cominterm will need those bourgeois opportunists to subvert the Jugoslav Communist Party and overthrow Tito from within. In other foreign news, "India Cracks the Whip," in other words, is about to occupy Hyderabad, which, while admittedly good for all Indians, is a bad precedent and so not a good idea at this time.
"Arsenal for the West" Gladwyn Jebb is in Washington feeling out support for the Five Powers of the Brussels Pact. The Economist supposes that sick economies can't make more tanks, pointing to the example of France in 1940, and argues that Western Europe should be allowed to get on with its economic activity while America (and Canada) act as "the chief arsenal of Western Union." It strikes me that as far as supplying tanks and aircraft, the Western Hemisphere will come through. It's not as an "arsenal" that it seems to be needed! Unless I am . . . a living Weapon! Three thousand words under that, and I bet I can make a cool hundred from Startling Stories!
"The Need for Hospitals" Nuffield Provincial Trust has done up a survey of hospital-treated sickness in Stirlingshire that shows that one in seven of the county's population was treated in a county hospital on an in-patient (bed, gown, bedpan, gown that opens from the back) or out-patient (sit for six hours in Emergency, have a ginny doctor sew up the hole you made in yourself, take taxi home). The survey does not deal with wait times, but it does suggest that more hospitals are needed, even if on the other hand there are advances in preventative treatment. More diseases are discovered as old ones are cured! Admittedly, this goes along with shorter illnesses and fewer deaths, but, even so, the Economist purses his lips and asks just how long this can go on.
"Price the Panacea?" Sir Hubert Henderson recently gave a speech at the British Association, in which he took issue with those who condemn planning and call for free movement of prices as a "panacea." Henderson starts out with the most "free" alternative, "the state . . . exercis[ing] strong positive central powers to equate demand and aggregate supply, thus establishing 'global equilibrium,'" and shows that free movement of prices will not restore equilibrium in a disordered system. Nor can the main mechanism for balancing supply and demand --interest rates-- be effective, as they would have to go sky high in the short term and be "erratic" in the long. Physical controls are necessary, at least right now. "Extravagant propagandists of go-easy illusion, pushing salesmen of enervating fools' paradises" want to get rid of price controls and rely on the "free market."
"Dream of Plenty" Scott Robertson also gave a nice talk at the British Association, where he pointed out that, upon further advances in agricultural practice depend agricultural, migration and trade policy. More productivity would resolve many problems. Is it possible? Yes, he says. Spreading best practices to all farms would increase British and American harvests by 50%, and the prospects in the rest of the world are far greater. More can be done with grass; a mere 10% reduction in loss to pests would probably close the "cereal gap;" establishing a fertiliser industry in India and China would allow those countries to feed themselves. "The twentieth century's advantage in scientific knowledge, in fact, more than outweighs its deficiencies in virgin lands."
However! The Economist bolted out of its chair when Scott Robertson said that before 150 years ago, "no progress was possible," and all of human history before that consisted of "unrelieved misery and famine." Not so, says The Economist, thumping its copy of "Drummond's The Englishman's Food," explaining that many advances were made much earlier, and then digressing to Scott's comment that the Poles shouldn't be exporting pigs to Britain when they were going without, as though the Poles were being forced to trade. Harrumph, says The Economist. If he is wrong about that, perhaps the current outlook, and specifically that 50% increase, is not so promising after all.
"Burmese and Karens" Under the federal constitution of the former colony, all inhabitants of Burma lived happy and tranquil lives. Now that the British are gone, the lowland Burmese are fighting with the Karens and the Shan, which border on China, and so are no doubt full of Communists.
"Opposition in Israel" The Irgun Zvei Leumi are crypto-Nazi terrorists, and are now the main proponents of Israeli militant expansion. Their main goal right now is the incorporation of Jerusalem into Israel, and opposition to the Uno plan for internationalising the city, specifically. The Sternists, meanwhile, have moved to the left and "pretend to support Russia," while trying to carry on the war by "murder campaigns against leaders of the United Nations."
"Stocktaking in a Development Area" The North East Development Association has a report out. It highlights a number of concerns relevant to a "distressed area." First, it wants special relief from the capital cuts, compared with low-unemployment areas. Second, it is concerned that employment targets from new investment aren't being made. First, because new industries seem to attract more workers than they can actually employ, and, second, because contraction in older, "basic" industries hits men disproportionately, and they are harder to re-employ. For this reason, the Association wants special programmes for the unemployed to focus on men.
"Aerial Bludgeoning" The Economist's coverage of the air exercises focusses on being woken up in the early morning by planes roaring over London. It is concerned that there has been very little progress in the last three years. Bombers still try to "obliterate" their targets; fighters are still misled by "window" deceptions. The skill that saved Britain in 1940 and sank the Tirpitz in 1944 is absent. The Air Staff must learn that war is not a blunt instrument, and focus on "precision bombing" and "only those targets which must be destroyed to facilitate the advance of the troops on land or to secure the safety of the ships at sea."
|Coming soon, the Boeing Washington.|
Brigadier (ret) Antony Head writes to congratulate The Economist for a 21 August leader worrying about civil defence, AA, fighters, "special armoured and air formations," and, in general, so very many things that the government might be neglecting in the field of defence. The Economist reminds us that Conservative MPs are doing a valiant job of asking questions about these concerns. Gervaise Frais has opinions about how the United States of Europe could be hurried along. R. G. Hawtrey writes to say that the best way to save disinflation would be to revalue the pound upwards. F. W. Collins, of the Olympics Organising Committee, thinks that The Economist's coverage of the London Olympics, and especially the Torch Relay, has been too political.
From The Economist of 1848
It must be time for an opinion from 1848! It is that French politicians are just wasting their time writing up a new constitution, because it will be overthrown, anyway. As much as it pains me to say that The Economist is ever right, it turns out that this was true, and that Napoleon's nephew was about to take over.
R. F. Harrod has Towards a Dynamic Economics out. Is this like in mechanics, where dynamics embraces every state where things actually change? Because if economics was "static" up to now, it is hard to see how it could do us much good! And the answer is, I don't know, and the review doesn't say. It does say that the book is too theoretical and has too much math, and that The Economist only read the last chapter with the conclusions. The fourth volume of the first series of Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919--1939 is out. It is about 1919, again. Only twenty years to go! Henry Kendall's Jerusalem: The City Plan, explains Britain's plan for the city, so that its successors will know what the British thought would be good to do.
"Zinoviev Writes Again" The Economist summarises the state of America under the dual menaces of Un-American Activities and the House Committee on Un-American Activities. American government is full of traitors, while committee rooms are full of neurotics and opportunists. Unlike the New York grand jury that recently spent fourteen months on this, the HUAC is more interested in proving that there were Communists in the New Deal than that there are Communists now, and so is giving Chambers, who left the Party in 1938, a starring role. This generates lots of campaign talking material, but no live leads. In short, by chasing former Communists, HUAC is hindering the hunt for current ones. Alternatively, there are no current Communists to chase, and the point is pretty much the campaign.
"Television's Growing Pains" The FCC is hearing the television industry's claim for more wavelength at the expense of radio. In 1947, the industry was divided between NBC, which was asking for space for black-and-white television, and CBS, which was asking for space for colour. The FCC had to decide for one or the other, plumped for black and white, and gave up the 44--216 mHz sector, enough for 22 channels. Television responded by growing like crazy (4000 sets in 1945, 10,000 in 1946, 180,000 in 1947, 400,000 today), and in July the FCC considered the possibility of handing over the 475--900 mHz band, enough for an additional channels for black and white, but also virtually identical to the territory staked by CBS for colour broadcasting. With TVs rolling off the production lines at fifty or sixty thousand a month, as many as the total now operating in England, there are now 18 stations operating in 11 cities, with likely 40 in 20 cities by the end of the year. This is pikers compared to radio, but the industry thinks that it will overtake radio and the newspapers and perhaps doom cinema. The Economist then wanders off to discuss how the industry's visionaries think that television will fight juvenile delinquency and divorce and put a television in every room. National broadcasts require heavy investment, as you know. In order of how impressive they are, and reverse order of practicality, we have stratovision, microwave relays, and coaxial cables. The Economist mentions all three, and even manages to say, with only the slightest curl of the lip, "stratovision." Also, some are worried that television will have too much advertising.
"Campaign Kickoff" Labour Day is a partisan advantage! Truman gave a rip-roaring speech in Detroit calling for repealing Taft-Hartley, a higher minimum wage and national health insurance, Dewey sent Harold Stassen to Detroit as a surrogate to defend Taft-Hartley on the grounds that it was passed by as many Democrats as Republicans. This many words about Taft-Hartley tires out The Economist's American staff, so they point out that if Stassen continues to be as prominent in the campaign as he now is, this will mean that Dewey is anti-isolationist and pro-internationalist. It is only a brief reprieve, however, because of the longshoreman's strike, which obliges The Economist to explain what Harry Bridges has against Taft-Hartley, and why he is against it, and why the Administration now has a special committee to look at revisions to Taft-Hartley.
"Operation Squirrel" The Americans have a five year plan to buy up supplies of beryl, bismuth, cadmium, columbite, kyanite, corundum, monazite and muscovite mica and "squirrel" them away. The programme was started in 1940, when it was uncontroversial, but now it is peace, and prices are up, and the National Munitions Board has to explain that, while it is still doing it, it is scaling back purchases so as not to drive up inflation, and also is not introducing price and supply controls, in spite of these being vital strategic materials.
"The Right to Medical Care" A National insurance programme seems necessary, but also impossible. The kind of private scheme that is growing in America is inaccessible to about half the population, leaving the Federal Government to take up the slack, except that the GOP and AMA are dead set against it.
The World Overseas
Today's lead feature is on the crisis in France, at length. Ronnie tells me that the two of you talked about it the other day when you were in town, and that I needn't waste my time on it until the pot actually boils over. The same goes over the crisis in Poland, which seems to me just an extension of the Communist Party's slow takeover. Wladislav Gomulka's fall allows the new Premier to reorient the Poles east, which is a setback for British hopes for more bacon and even, perhaps, coal miners, but that is life.
"Rhodesians Go Unwillingly to the Polls" Not Poles! Four parties will contest 76 seats, but the press pleads in vain for actual differences between the parties that would make for interesting coverage. Also, democracy and all of that. Rhodesia has only 100,000 Whites to support these four parties, so no wonder; there are also 1.7 million Blacks, but not letting them vote is yet another thing all four parties can agree on. (One might wonder if it was the reason all four parties agree.) Tobacco is booming, taxes are low. The Liberals want laissez faire, Labour wants socialism, but for Whites only, the United Party wants to be between them, and the Dominion Party wants to be a Dominion. The colony is up 30,000 Whites in only two years, which is a housing headache; but the reserves that are reserved for natives can't hold their population, either, and they are swelling the towns, where the jobs are. Labour wants to keep them from all "skilled" work, which is a problem in housing that requires certain architectural modifications, lest natives be found doing skilled work, while Europeans build proper housing for natives. Natives are not to be allowed unions, which would be unworkable without arbitration, but the arbitrators are in trouble for giving Native railway workers a pay raise. The country needs more Native labour, not less, and skilled Native Labour, the Liberals say. Labour does not like that, which means that it must argue for even more immigration. Rhodesia also needs more trade, which means an outlet to the sea. The obvious way to get that is through South Africa, but there are problems there that go unspecified, leading to a push for a rail line via the colonies to the north all the way to "Port Peanut" in Tanganyika --the port being built for the Groundnuts Scheme. See! No-one calls them "ground nuts," not even Rhodesians!
|I'm beginning to think that that old Groundnuts Scheme was important.|
So in case anyone asks you, the United Party is favoured to win. There's also a bit about how Trieste is doing just swell, thanks very much.
The Business World
"OEEC Faces the Test" Two pages on the ongoing Paris negotiations to distribute European Recovery Aid. While this is obviously important, it doesn't seem like it is the kind of thing where we have to drop in every week to see how things are going. We should have a good clue if it goes wrong when the riots break out and the atomic mushroom clouds blow over, so, in the spirit of Uncle George, I am hereby invoking a "Talking about talking about the United States of Europe" chop to cover off this sort of thing.
"A Railway Slump?" Railway traffic is off significantly from predictions, mainly due to a drop off in passengers, but also general merchandise. The first is probably because people are responding to ticket hikes by taking the bus. The second is also probably due to road traffic, but this is a trickier case because nationalisation has hit that, too, and the two are supposed to be coordinated. People are concerned. People are looking into it. But if the payments on railway stocks are to be made, the Transport Commission needs £28 million. The Economist seems a lot less critical of Government bungling when a thirty million payout is at hand.
Two financial stories lead off before we get to the question of the coat of coal, which is up 7.6d/ton, which is less than last quarter's increase. The average cost of coal is 445s 4.3d per ton, of which 29s 8.4d is taken up by wages, an increase of 3.6d over the last quarter. On the other hand, the price was pushed down by 1.5d/ton by various improvements in the generation and use of power. Exports are up to 3.9 million tons, with a price premium, which The Economist thinks is bad business.
"Productivity in the Steel Industry" an article in the August issue of Statistical Bulletin of the Iron and Steel Federation takes strong issue with the claim that productivity in the British industry is lower. Labour per ton is down, but, more importantly, the quality of the product is up. Dr. Rostas calculated that the American industry was 68% more efficient. The article concludes that the correct number is 31%,, and that this number will decline as the backlog of war maintenance is caught up and new developments come on stream.
"America Buys Rubber" America has bought the first tranche of 88,000 tons of natural rubber for its strategic stockpile under the Economic Cooperation Agreement, which has been formulated so that Britain will not get dollars out of the deal. This is deemed to be the fair way to go, as it pays off ERA aid, I think, although the arrangements have my head swimming and I shan't try to summarise them and risk spreading my confusion. The Raw Cotton Commission is running around the world sampling raw cotton in an attempt to get absolutely the very best of cotton for Lancashire spinners. The tin industry continues its rehabilitation, with production steadily expanding.
"Britain's Trade with Russia" Under the trade agreement of last December, Britain was to receive 450,000 tons of barley, 200,000 tons of corn and 100,000 tons of grain. There was a waiver, however, that the last 200,000 tons would not be shipped if Soviet purchases of British industrial goods did not reach half the total value of equipment required. The orders have not reached that total, but the Russians have made no move to hold that last 200,000 tons back, so good for that. Britain's adverse balance is more than made up for by purchases in the sterling area, mainly Malayan rubber. Russia may be willing to ship more grain, even if British industrial goods are further delayed, because Britain's negotiating position is getting stronger. (Not sure why. Could it be the giant grain harvest?)
"Electricity Restrictions" Electricity restrictions are still mostly voluntary, and determined by local authorities. It is therefore not clear that they will prevent load shedding, i.e. rolling blackouts, in the winter. New generating capacity of between 400,000 and 500,000 kW/h will be available, but this will just balance increase in supply, a trend that will continue through 1952, when there will be 6.8 million more kW/h available.
There have been delays in arrangements for the payment of compensation to former coalowners, while the Transport Commission has agreed on compensation to the Thomas Tilling Group.
India's reserve bank has been nationalised, the trade balance is still deteriorating, notably with Switzerland, where an arrangement is being made to clear the balance with a shipment of 440 million francs worth of gold, and the Bank of England has found a way of printing pound notes that are just as thin as the ones from before the wartime introduction of the metallic thread.
Fortune, September 1948
"Inflation: Time To Get Serious" Fortune thinks that controls could have been a tool to reduce inflation, but now that they are gone, there is no point in bringing them back, for reasons that are so obvious that they don't need explaining. (Dewey/Warren '48!) The tools at hand now are bank reserves requirements, which can be increased to reduce bank credit, interest rates, control of consumer credit and mortgage financing, and a budget surplus. No-one has done very creditably in the fight. Some bankers support credit restraint, but more are fighting any extension of Federal Reserve power, and regulation of bank reserves falls under that heading. The Administration fired Mr. Eccles. The GOP, after toying briefly with budget cuts, surrendered to the leadership of "Congressman Knutson* . . . came up with the strangest economic theory in years, which was that lower taxes (and lower budget revenues) would help check inflation. Meanwhile, last year's surplus is threatening to turn into a deficit. "An American back from England recently mused: 'I sometimes wonder if Sir Stafford Cripps ever looks at the huge surplus his Socialist government is running, teh mounting evidences in Britain not of inflation but of deflation, and then at the rising prices and precarious balance of the U.S. budget. If so, he must wonder who should be giving advice to whom on how to have a sound and conservative fiscal policy."
Only Fortune could find it surprising that the GOP would discover that lower taxes are good for inflation.
*Believe it or not! Harold Knutson has a first name.
"International Banking, New Style" This is a real The Economist-style piece, although salvaged by being penetrably (opposite of impenetrably) written. It takes two long paragraphs to get around to the point that the Department of Commerce has an article in the June Survey of Current Business that summarises all of the financial operations the US has undertaken in the last seven years. This is necessary given that, instead of being consolidated at the Import-Export Bank, international debt financing has been available at the Maritime Commission, the State Department, the RFA, the Treasury, the War Assets Administration, and even the Departments of the Army and Agriculture. For no particular reason (except to keep his name in the news), Fortune piously hopes that Hoover's new commission will miraculously consolidate all lending activity in the future. Most of this happened during the war, and was dominated by Lend Lease, at $48 billion, but since the war through the beginning of the year, $14.6 billion has been lent, and the Economic Cooperation Administration aid bill is another $7.6 billion. Three-fifths has been loans, two-fifths grants. China has received the most in grants, at $1.2 billion, followed by Italy at $761 million, followed by Japan and Germany close behind, and the agglomerate of "countries east of the curtain," which received almost a billion. The United Kingdom has been the largest recipient of loans, at $4.6 billion, compared with $2 billion for France and a half billion for the Benelux.
"The Changing Terms of Domestic Trade" Commodity price increases have now leveled off. Fortune discerns that industrial goods will now drive inflation. Although farm incomes will decline, it will be nowhere near the precipitous drop of 1868 and 1920. It will mean that the government will have to acquire sizable stocks of wheat, corn, frozen eggs, potatoes and other comestibles, but it is that or crss the farmers. The British seem strangely disinclined to swoop in to save the day, and instead are waiting for the United States to unload the subsidy at "disinflationary" prices. (I put that in because you'd think that The Economist would stop in its onwards-to-doom tracks to register this possibility. Or not. Not, actually.)
"Great Unguarded Frontier" A correspondent writes to describe the ridiculous runaround he experienced in trying to get a visitor's visa to the United States from Canada. No-one at the border, he thinks, had any idea what they were doing. I suppose I can't write Fortune to tell them that the reason is that no-one bothers with doing it legally, as this would just give away advance plans for the Canuck Invasion of '50, which I have placed in a hollowed out pumpkin in a typewriter in the back of my old Lincoln.
|Chambers versus Hiss: Existential battle for the survival of Western Civilisation, or election ploy? You decide.|
"Freedom from Filth" It has been estimated that the average American inhales 10 cubic feet of air on an average winter day, containing uipwards of 5mg of carbon soot and ash salted with eight billion particles of tire rubber, asphalt, stone, glass, and other debris including "a minute quantity of horse dung." The quantity of carbon is diminishing. People flying into St. Louis no longer think that the city is burning beneath them. Though "after a night in the town they often wished it had."
St. Louis is a good example because of the anti-smoke ordinance that forced the use of high volatile coal, which has made the city sufficiently brighter to replace an estimated $75,000 in electric light. Pittsburgh is doing the same, and a Weather Bureau estimate is that the city received 39% more sunlight this year than last, with the city even beginning to clean up the accumulated soot of ages past. American "streets, vacant lands, and even parks still shock visiting Europeans," but change is possible, and the example of Pittsburgh and St. Louis should inspire all.
Books and Ideas
"Economics for Tomorrow" John Kenneth Galbraith reviews a new textbook, Paul Samuelson's Economics: An Introductory Analysis. He likes the book, and interjects some interesting political points. First, Samuelson follows Keynes' method to determine the national income of a country. Since Keynes has a name for being some kind of rabble-rousing agitator in America, Samuelson points out that his use of Keynesian method is "neutral." Galbraith says it is not. If you accept Keynes, you accept that there is no natural equilibrium in which inflation and unemployment are minimised, and that government simply must throw its weight on the balance through taxation and budget surpluses and deficits. From this comes the conclusion that America can have freedom of choice and decision, but the economy can naturally enter that high-unemployment "secular stagnation;" or a wage-price increase spiral that he dubs "secular exhilaration," and that there is no reason that the government cannot run deficits or surpluses as long as it needs to do so to check both.
A third point, buried in the middle, is that the current inflationary case results from the fact that for investment and savings to be equal, as they must be, when the income from which that savings is found, exceeds the total productive capacity of the country, then spending drives up prices rather than funding increases in the productive capacity.
I write this out as I read it. As I understood the inflation/deflation case in layman's terms, it was too much money chasing too few goods that drove inflation. I tease that out of Galbraith's explanation of Samuelson; but where is the "investments equals savings" fact coming into this? I can see that if national income is too high, it simply cannot buy as many capital goods as are needed to build the new factories. Is that what they are saying? Or is there something more to the role of "savings" in all of this? I should really ask someone back at the Institute. For example, Professor Samuelson, who will probably simply bite the head off an engineering senior for having the temerity to even address him.
"Scapitalism in Japan" SCAP is Supreme Commander, Allied Powers. It's funny! General MacArthur's rule is not popular with General Draper, James Lee Kauffman and Senator Knowland. Now, former SCAP economist Eleanor M. Hadley "inadvertently" reveals why while trying to defend SCAP from its critics. SCAP undertook to dismantle the Zaibatsu under the understanding that they represented Japanese monopoly capitalism, but they are not,so trying to break them up was the first mistake. Not pursuing deflation, which is the cure for what ails, was the second. "Rigid control of foreign trade," "trust-busting," and nationalisation was the third. It's all terrible.
Zachariah Chaffee's Government and Mass Communication concludes that government has no role in preventing the dissemination of false information. This is to be left to the free press. Geoffrey Crowther is like a story someone told of an old time gentleman who went to go about grouse hunting and thenupon shot something that reminded the person of Napoleon Bonaparte's opinion of wherefore therefore. Also, he has a book out, The Economic Reconstruction of Europe about which Fortune doesn't really have an opinion. Ooh! Ask me! Ask me! The Bank of International Settlements and the Aviation Research Institute both have annuals out. The last one predicts that the Russians will build 1000 B-29skis in 1948, which seems crazy, if you ask me. Alfred Kohler and Ernest Hamburger's book on education for the industrial age says that America should have more vocational and trades training. Which, Uncle George says, is fine, as long as it gets a new class system to go with it!
Fortune's Wheel is on about art director Will Burtin's image of an electro-oscilloscope on the front page, since the layman needs to know how a television works this month, notes two promotions, and talks about the experiences of the reporter on the Seagram's story in this issue that I am ignoring because we don't do those stories here. A letter from Arthur Chester Millspaugh of the Brookings Institute takes issue with the recent letter from Heshmat Ala'i. This is nice, because I couldn't help reading between the lines a bit of excess solicitude directed by Ala'i at the landowners of Iran, which seems to me vindicated by that article in The Economist about the wheat crisis. (I will quote The Economist when it agrees with me all I like, thank you very much!) His criticisms are quite different, however. He agrees with Ala'i on economic policy, but thinks that the overly large army and corrupt government are the main drivers of the public deficit. He agrees that Iran cannot prosper until it gets rid of its "fear psychosis," but Ala'i talks about foreign investors without commenting on the unilateral cancellation of the Anglo-Iranian concession and a contract with Ulen and Company, then undertaking the Trans-Iranian Railway. Anglo-Burmese had to renegotiate its concession, but Ulen still seeking compensation. So, coincidentally, is Millspaugh, owed for two reports prepared for the Iranian government. Fix your fear psychosis yourself, Milspaugh concludes.
"Basing Points: The Great Muddle" Last spring, the Supreme Court ruled the "basing point system of distribution" used by the cement industry illegal. US Steel, seeing the handwriting on the wall, abandoned fob without even fighting. Ever since, not a day has gone by without some industry declaring it was at death's door. Meanwhile, the nation's rail system despatches 1.4 billion tons of freight at a cost of $7 billion, but with such a confusing array of rates and differentials that no-one really knows how much it costs to transport things. Steel seems to have given up on fob to save on prices, which means that customers are getting hurt, although that seems like an East Coast perspective that the Fontana plant doesn't really correct, especially with Uncle Henry now asking $30 more per ton. Steel is a very expensive business to get into, with the cost of new capacity at $300/ton, compared with $75 before the war, and anything that helps the existing companies maintain their business against incomers is a problem.
The secret to cheap steel is water West doesn't, and can't really have that. It has mountains, instead. Nice to look at, but not really conducive to moving mountains of ore and coal around. The real solution might be to have Californian steel from Japan, but no-one is going to go for that!
Fortune them hems and haws for a bit before telling industry to sit down and be patient and wait for the courts to sort it out, as if they go asking for political action they may get something they don't want.
"RCA's Television: Off to a Big Lead, Radio Corp. Aims To Get Back Its $50-Million Bait" Way back in the Twenties, RCA held all the commercial radio patents, but that didn't save it from upstarts like Majestic and Philco. Now that the TV boom is well on, it is natural to wonder if RCA's investment will go the same way. Fortune thinks not. In the 20s, RCA was just the sales agent of GE and Westinghouse. In 1929, it acquired the Victor plant in Harrison, New Jersey, and only then did it begin to make radios (and tubes) for the market. All this expansion was financed out of earnings, because RCA was privately held by the principals, and that further slowed growth. On the other hand, RCA was held back less by manufacturing than by marketing. It lacked "flair." This time around, it has hired people with "flair," including a former department store manager from San Francisco, if you know what I mean. Also, they sell televisions with a service contract, which will allow RCA to make money through the local television dealer. You can imagine what the traditional radio-servicing industry thinks of that!
|They're very pretty, but isn't there a housing boom on?|
"Comeback in Carpets" The carpet industry is seeing the most interest in generations thanks to new styles and better selling. The next article is also about rags, this time Hoving Corporation, which owns Bonwit Tellers, among other menswear chains. And after that comes the advertised story about Seagrams. Carpets, suits, whiskey. People have money.
"A Portrait of Oil --Unrefined" Standard Oil of New Jersey is having a photographic exhibit of nice pictures about oil exploration, so we will know that it is about more than Rockefellers strolling down the promenade. They're very nice pictures, even if I'm not sure what a "Virginia coal town" has to do with anything.
"How to Heat a House" Two years after being a big story in The Engineer, home heating hits Fortune. Coal carries the load, the introductory chart says, but gas is coming on strong. Half of America's housing, 20 million units, has central heating, and most still burn coal. Even coal companies don't think this can continue. For gas, home heating is a large and logical part of their business, but gas, natural and manufactured, has been off the Northeastern market for two years. In fact, the industry took orders for 670,000 centrally heated units in 1946, only 370,000 in 1947, turning 500,000 customers away. Gas sometimes runs short, and the "spot shortages" of oil last winter frighten customers, who are also upset at rising prices. Coal shortages, and problems with hauling away the ash, are well known.
This raises the question: how efficient is American home heating? About 116 million tons of coal, 160 million barrels of oil, and 500 billion cubic feet of gas will go into American central heating systems in the next nine months, representing 13% of American energy consumption. This could be reduced by making furnaces more efficient, although insulation is probably cheaper. Only one house in twenty five is insulated today, and full insulation could cut costs by 50%.
There is an interesting bit about the relationship between heat and comfort. Fortune launches into an extended discussion of different methods of radiant heating, in which hot water radiators, space heaters and ceiling panels are considered. All transmit heat to the air and by radiation directly to the occupants. For humans to be comfortable under radiant heating, the "mean radiant temperature" has to be 83 degrees, which is the temperature at which humans begin to absorb heat through the skin. Since losses are by convection, the air temperature must be quite a bit lower, at 59 degrees. "The upshot is that many architects have quite trying to heat air." Fortune goes on to discuss the rise of radiant heating since WWI, noting that it is highly compatible, for example, with poured concrete slabs, and that radiant floors are part of Frank Lloyd Wright's system. Critics point out that radiant heating is useless compared with forced air heating, but that is not what Fortune's writer thinks.
In the future, we might use heat pumps, which can both heat and cool houses through a refrigeration cycle couple with the earth as a heat sink, or by absorbing solar energy and storing it in water reservoirs, which is interesting but slightly pie in the sky.
I'm no expert, but my experience is that radiant heating and even radiators are only really effective in small spaces, and that the baffling effect of doors and walls produces so many obvious problems in home heating that I would never trust an architect to get it right. We are very lucky in the mild west coast climate that we do not really have to test the limits of BC Electric heating. In, say, Indianapolis, the home fires have a real job, and I trust the engineers at Indiana Purdue a lot more than I do this article. And for a change I actually know what I'm talking about!
Part II, at the end of the magazine, requires an introduction because I can't think of a way of making a transition to its discussion of traditional coal heating, which is handicapped by the ash removal problem. Since 90% of anthracite coal is used for home heating, the Anthracite Institute is understandably very interesting in finding a way of making coal heating comfortable and automatic through its "Anthratube" compact stoker-boiler unit, which is 80% efficient and has an installed price of about $850. That doesn't really solve the ash problem, but the Institute hopes to persuade homeowners to go in for a giant ash pit that holds a whole winter's worth of rubbish. Bituminous producers, meanwhile, are aiming at smoke, and have several smokeless space heaters in production. Finally, there is central district heating, which only seems economical at a density of 40 residednces per acre. Diesel Oil Burner Company has created a boiler that will run on oil or coal at the flip of a switch, while Norge Heating of Detroit[?] has one that will burn gas, coal or oil with only "a few alterations." Servel, the gas refrigerator company, has a sort of heat pump without the heat pump element. Calvin D. McCracken's Jet-Heet, which should reach the market at $60 next spring, injects oil into a combustion chamber for 90--95% efficiency.
|The patent's available free, if you want it.|
"Business in Bizonia" With the Americans currently ruining everything in Germany by intervening in the OEEC rationing to increase the ERA allocation to Bizonia, it is time for Fortune to stop by and find out how Germany is coming along. Quite well, it turns out. The country was just waiting for the devaluation to start trading in money again, and there turn out to be more than enough goods to absorb the supply of Deutschemarks, contra (of course!) The Economist. The planned economy has not collapsed, and conceivably was not as badly run as it seemed. Now the real problem is going to be earning dollars from exports. Exports within the soft currency zone can be managed through trading accounts that offset and only have to be settled every quarter, but this will only go so far.
Shorts and Faces
First up is a Texas oilman named Fred Goodman, second, the advertising matchbook business, which is surprisingly big, given 79 million American smokers smoking 335 billion cigarettes lit by 14 billion matchbooks. Robert Barton, of the National Match Book Association, thinks that he could carve a $5 million dollar business out of it, with $750,000 for his advertising agency, but not more than that, given that local firms can go directly to the match manufacturers. There's also a fascinating bit about the states working to even the treatment of civil and common law marriages (the law differing from state to state, it says here), under the Revenue Act of 1938. It is about income splitting, and very interesting, at least for those who have no "impediment" on their marriages. Next up is the lunch industry. Twenty years ago, virtually no American worker was served lunch at work. Today, 80% are. This has created a business opportunity for "the industrial feeding contractor." Crotty Brothers, of Boston, is one such, and feeds 200,000 workers a day. The National Association of Ice Industries has its hands full right now, since there is huge demand for their product, while mechanical refrigeration is nipping at their heels like anything. The Association has launched a publicity campaign reminding everyone that ice cooling keeps produce moister than artificial, which is true; but the plain fact is that 15 million tons of ice was used last year in America because there are not enough refrigerators to go around. Finally, there is an interesting bit about Hubert Cook, President of the Diamond Mine Company of Knoxville (which sells almost half of its 750,000 tons of coal a year to the AEC for Oakridge), who says nice things about John L. Lewis, who brought "the mines out of chaos" by organising them and made mechanisation possible through higher wages.
Next, there's a story about the used car business.
|All I know about St. Regis is that they have great ads.|
This month's survey is about, you guessed it, the election, where the survey has Dewey at 46.3%, Truman at 31.5%, Wallace at 3%, and "no opinion" at 16.6%.The big issues remain Taft-Harley, inflation, housing and Congress.