Sunday, October 24, 2021

Postblogging Technology, July 1951, I: To Be Born Into An Age Without Clerks

R_. C_.,
Santa Clara,

Dear Father:

Following on my telegram and my note in Mother's letter, I have quite a long one of my own that split the airmail envelope, which is why Mother is taking it back to Vancouver with her along with a camera roll. I will try to be professional in this letter, although my heart is breaking as we get ready to lift off from the harbour for Formosa. The Navy calls me away from my wife and son, until my leave in September. We are to close our little show. Wiser heads, etc, and now Koumintang pilots will not be trained for the electronic reconnaissance mission. From here on they will be conducted in routine flights between Clark and Okinawa, which finally has a proper electronics shop. I now have official word that my next posting will be to the Martin plant in Baltimore. Ostensibly I am going to get my first taste of bringing a new aircraft into service on the electronic side of thing, due to the very elaborate new radar on the plane. However, there is some suggestion that I should reacquaint myself with acoustics and pick up some oceanography. 

Your Loving Son,

Aviation Week, 2 July 1951

News Digest reports a Pan Am Constellation crash, the carrier's first in three years, possibly caused by radio interference with the Roberts Field, Liberia, radio range. The top prospective location for the 
USAF Academy is now said to be Randolph Field, Texas. The Navy has given North American a contract for the FJ-2, a navalised F-86. The Bell X-5 adjustable sweptwing research plane has made its first flight. The Convair XC-99 will make its first flight in three months this week. Kaiser-Frazer has "completed a 425 million credit under Regulation V loan. . ." I think this means Uncle Henry has borrowed some money to keep Willow Run afloat? How do they find bankers this dumb? Or is it a guaranteed loan? In which case, how do they find politicians this dumb? By really not wanting to vote for Wallace, probably. 

Industry Observer  reports that Canada has bought 33 Lockheed T-33 jet trainers, that the test refuelling of an F-84G by a Boeing KC-97 with the Boeing Flying Boom system didn't occur at the Aviation Writers' Association convention in New York because the planes weren't ready. New production F-86s will soon be able to refuel with the Boeing boom. The latest version of the Wright 3350 Turbo-Compound as about the same fuel performance as a diesel, perhaps .35 to 0.40 lb/hp hour. Douglas has a contract to build two missiles, and the Aerocar continues in production at Longview, Washington with the Army still interested.

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Roundup reports that  "diplomacy and domestic politics" are leading to the demise of intercontinental bombing. Because now that we have mutual defence pacts around the world, we only need a "potent 'kernel'" of intercontinental strategic bombers. This is, of course, tied to the fight over "isolationism," with Wherry and Taft fighting on in the Senate for world anti-Communist security through an "all-mighty" US strategic air force. I don't understand what this means. How many H-bombs do we need to drop? I know that H-bombs are expensive just like B-36s and XB-52s are expensive, but no-one is talking about reducing the number of H-bombs we're going to make, just the number of giant bombers. Of course, The Economist is convinced that it is all politics all the way down, and that we are just massaging the psychological complexes of the "typical Midwestern voter." I don't usually agree with The Economist, but I'm convinced.

Congress also wants to have hearings into all the politically influential lawyers who have appeared before CAB. And while you and I might ask why Northwestern planes keep crashing, the question that is supposed to be central is, big sigh here, the Pan Am-Panagra "interchange" case. 

"AF Reveals Plans for Engineering Centre" A big maintenance centre is going to go into the heart of Texas. Very exciting for the industry, big old yawn for the rest of us, although it does go into some interesting details of the equipment that is going to be located there, including a big engine-testing facility that the German Air Ministry built in Munich and which the Americans and RAF have used since VE-Day, which will now be torn down and shipped to Texas. Other equipment, which has already been shipped over, has been rusting out in the open at Randolph Field for months. Another article checks in with Research Command, "which is starting to function."

Aviation Week checks in with the UAL strike with essentially the same news as The Economist. 

"Martin's First Production P5M Flies" It is the most electronic plane the US Navy has ever bought, and, yes, I've been given word that I should be brushing up on my water landings.  

TWA is trying to buy six more Constellations but will be swapping its older Connies for Northwest's Stratocruisers, which will get newer engines. Lockheed is uncertain it can meet its late order for the Constellation when it is shifting over to the Super-Constellation. That would put more emphasis on the Stratoliner deal, which turns on the engine upgrades. The Air Force has pushed through a massive modification to the Pratt and Whitney R-4360 which has made it much heavier and much more reliable, but which will give up to 20% more fuel economy and 4000hp for takeoff. The Spruce Goose is supposed to fly next month, and it is still being looked at as some kind of prototype or model for a future atomic plane. The Wage Compensation Board is looking at a whole bunch of industry contracts while Avco Investments is dropping a number of aviation industry holdings.

Aeronautical Engineering checks in with GE to find out what's up with the J-47, and, guess what, "Refined Design Puts More Power in J-47" The J-47-GE-21 has a new, top-secret compressor that puts more air through it, and should "push out better than 9000lb thrust." GE does allow that it has variable inlet vanes to reduce surging. Besides the latest F-86, it isn't clear what planes it might go into.

"Boeing Seeks Market For Its Computers" The Boeing electronic analogue computer could be just what your company needs. Just talk to the Boeing sales rep who won't stop cold calling you! 

McGraw-Hill World News has the latest about the French helicopter with the rotor-tip ramjets, the SNCASO S.O. 1110 Ariel III. 

"New Electronic Counting Unit" The Walkirt Type M 1731 Eventometer uses well-established counting methods that everyone in the counting industry knows about, so it doesn't have to explain them in a way that makes sense to non-counting people. Garan Finish's new high strength laminate treatment is a waterproof Fiberglas laminate layer for polyesters.  BuAer has done a study of the strength of chromium plating, while Boeing's B-47 production line has new techniques for boring and drilling that make production faster. 

Avionics has "Resistance Tape: Use it by the Inch" I mean, I guess electrical tape is an avionics subject. And it was developed by the Bureau of Standards and the article is boring and inconsequential, so that seems right. But you would think that an article urging us to use electrician's tape lavishly would be by, I don't know, 3M, not the Bureau. But the Bureau does get some mileage out of giving it a new name, "resistance tape," and presenting it as an alternative to resistors in circuit boards, and in that sense "using it by the inch" means that the resistance value of the tape is defined by the length of the tape used.  

"Radio Engineers For New Avionics Group" It's a new club I can belong to!

Production has Rudolf Modley, "New Types of Facilities Needed" By which he means mobilisation-era emergency factories of the kind that they build all the time in Europe but don't in America (except in WWII when they did) because of Free Enterprise. Because we don't, it "complicates" finance. I hope all the business-minded politicians in Congress that won't let us build ordnance factories will choke on all the "complications," I really do. 

"Joggling Along on Convair B-36 Tooling" I like to joggle, too! Oh, wait, a faster way of making B-36s. Very exciting considering that we're basically done making B-36s. If ever there was a plane that shouldn't be "mass produced. . . " Although it is for all the subcontractors who can't afford expensive, complicated joggles. Now I just can't roll my eyes any more. Small business is making bits for our intercontinental H-bomber in shops they can't afford to fit out. 

New Production Tools has a "small end mill" from GE, a single spindle drilling/milling/boring tool from Giddings and Lewis, a die grinding tool from Mall Tool of Chicago, a three-blade hole cutter from Robert H. Clark and a "Panalarm" backlit alarm panel that can be fitted to almost any kind of machinery, says Panalarm Products of Chicago.

Equipment has Scott H. Reiniger, "New Picture Aid for ILS-Ominrange"  Collins Radio has two instruments for control panel installation that can present localiser, glideslope and compass courses, rate and attitude information, often on the same instrument. Pilots who have seen it, like it, although they point out that it has to be shrunk down to fit most control panels. They particularly like that they don't have to keep glancing between the ILS and gyro horizon. On the other hand, competing equipment shows rate with respect to glideslope as well as localiser. It also has something called a "computer amplifier," which  I don't know what that means. 

New Aviation Products has a low-cost stroboscope from Synchroscope, suitable for check-out of aircraft motors, generators, timing devices and "other components using synchronous speeds." It consists of a flashlight and cold cathode triode. The "Hit-Kit" portable spot welder is suitable for repairing the insulating blankets of jet engine tailpipes.  Wheeler Wire Company thinks that its sound-powered telephone is the best ever. Wilder Manufacturing of Monterey has a metal slitting machine for shops with no room for a larger shearer. Bronze Bearings of New York reminds us all that they have lots of bushings and bearings of all types and sizes. 

Air Transport covers the sudden resignation of Colonial Airlines President Sigmund Janas just before he was to appear at CAB hearings on "bad accounting and misuse of firm's funds." 

"Delay Seen in Switch to Omi: Study by Special Group of Air Coordinating Committee Reports that VOR Equipment is Lacking for Planes" The CAA budget for ominrange beacons cannot fully replace the existing ranges. About 78 of the old Low Frequency/Medium Frequency radio ranges of about 300 ranges now in service (expected to increase to 500 by the fiscal year 1953), will have to continue operating at full, 400W power, and the other 260 ranges won't commission until at 1953.  The fact that so many of the older ranges will have to continue in service also reduces the market for new equipment and discourages companies from entering the field. Only 52% of airliners currently have VOR receivers, although the number will be 89% by 1952 and 100% by 1953. Military planes mostly do not have VOR, and there are additional technical reasons for the delay, mostly having to do with the limited range of omniranges and of the radios available to small airfields.  Amongst other financials, British European has reduced its operating deficit below a million pounds.

R. C. Robson's Cockpit Viewpoint offers some additional insight into the radio news above, covering the SC-56 report, which is recommending some pretty drastic controls on the frequencies available to local airports in the name of making enough available to the right airports. This will serve until automatic message relay, probably on the UHF band, appears in 1953.  What's New is scooped by Newsweek on a review of Miracle at Kitty Hawk. Aviation News doesn't mention the fact that none of the letters are from Kitty Hawk, on which subject see Uncle George after dinner, "The Wright brothers were a pair of sneaky Yankee frauds," at length.

Robert Wood's Editorial salutes the "Atomic Pioneers" of the atomic-powered plane that doesn't even exist yet. That's some pioneering! You see, in 1946, way back in your great-great-grandparents' day, some fearless people like General Vandenberg and the president of Fairchild decided  that a flying atomic reactor was a keen idea and that they should sign fat contracts with a bunch of industry insiders to hasten the glorious day. Which brings us to last week, when General Vandenberg sent a nice letter to the president of Fairchild about those long-ago days. Now all we need is an atomic plane! 

The Economist, 7 July 1951

"Parley on the Parallel" The Economist is pleased that we are now talking about talking about talking about a Korean armistice, and very upset at the British press for jumping on Richard Stokes for appearing to suggest that Britain could not maintain rearmament, when he was actually saying that it could. Apparently it was the big news story of last week, which I missed on account of my wife giving birth to your grandson! I know that that is no excuse, and I'm ashamed. You see how I have called young Master James "your grandson," and not "my firstborn son?" It is a shameless bid for sympathy! 

(Down in Notes there is some coverage of the Molotov statement, which, The Economist points out, proves that the Soviets are against peace by the amount of time Molotov spends talking about how much Communists are for peace. Because the ethics of Marxist-Leninism allow you to lie for the greater good. And now Ronnie says I have to look up "Jesuitical.")

"Outlook Uncertain" The Economist and the British press are in a panic over the recent decline in the British balance of payments surplus that might lead to a negative balance soon; and also at the related story of coal production, which is not rising quickly enough to maintain exports or prevent rolling blackouts. People say that it is okay because the coal went to increasing industrial output by 5% last year, but too much of that increased industrial output went to consumers in the form of luxurious, self-indulgent and suspiciously feminine household goods, and not enough to manly armaments, exports and investment goods. The Economist sees the problem: The unemployment rate is too low, so workers aren't flocking to the few jobs that remain. Oh, no!

"European Consolidation" In my wife's words, "The United States of Europe. What's keeping it?" General Eisenhower gave a speech. A Leader longerises it. Communists, here, de Gaulle there, rearmament means "Peace, then Plenty,"  Labour's thin majority. What with one thing and another, we are waiting, waiting for the European prophet to lead us to the promised land. 

"Nato and Turkey" Turkey cannot be in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation because we have not, six years after WWII, the guns to give them, even though, strategically, the country at the farthest east end of the Mediterranean would be a very useful addition. Also, the Turks are swarthy Easterners. 

"Removing the Stigma" What are those muffled yells from below? Why, it is the magazine's sense of humour, which is tired of being locked in the basement. Gingerly, we let it out. At first, all seems well, but then it opens its mouth to produce the "July 1, 1967" . . . "second reading of the Welfare State (Consequential Provisions) Bill." The joke is supposed to be that since there are far more pensioners and far fewer workers in 1967 than were expected in the Beveridge Report, the Ministry must do something hilariously terrible involving camps and coercion and so on for four long columns. Back to to the basement! 

From The Economist of 1851 an editorial on the deplorable recent practice of confusing cheques and bills. Now these young folk of today are writing cheques to individual people, and The Economist will not put up with it! 

Notes of the Week

"Politics of Truce" The Prime Minister, and The Economist, want us to know that, in spite of the way that Churchill is running the government down, mere peace in Korea won't cause Britain to turn away from rearmament. Also, the government got the Finance Bill through, in spite of Bevan and the Conservatives. We check in with Persia. Have things been figured out? No, they haven't.  We check in with the meeting of the Third Socialist International. All would be well if those European socialists would just listen to the Anglophone socialists who aren't Marxists. 

"Shooting in Bangkok" Coming to something that is actually happening, or which happened, the attempted coup d'etat in Siam. Specifically, were Communists behind it?  No, they weren't. A bunch of "elder statesmen" and the Navy were behind it. But since exiled former junta member General Kach Songgram talked with someone who maybe talked to the Communists, defeating the coup is a victory for freedom even though Siam is already ruled by a virtual military dictatorship. 

The Economist takes this occasion to remind you that it doesn't hate Hugh Dalton because he supports low interest rates and high taxes on rich people, but because he is bad and terrible. 

"Fifty Years of Education" There has been progress! Mainly, progress in stork and cabbage patch-related fields. Because there are far fewer British kids, even though more are going to school and the school-leaving age has risen once and for all, there are still about the same number of students, just older. The good part about this is that we can have educational progress and not spend more on teachers. On the other hand, primary classes are still too big. (A later Note looks at the "finely balanced" case for getting rid of something called the "village school.") The Economist is not impressed with identity cards or the Dean of Canterbury (who is also against peace because of being for peace), although it has developed a soft spot for Hungarian archbishops, even though they are Catholic. We are reminded that there are more people on assistance than ever, mainly due to supplements to old age pensions and false teeth. The Economist's big conclusion about the panel of judges working on setting standards for payments damages due to loss of life is that "thirty-five" year-old "doctors and solicitors" might end up being undervalued. The Economist tells de Gaspari what to do about the Italian cabinet. Mainly, it turns out that this is the wrong time to do anything, even you might think that Christian Democrats losing ground to Socialists might lead to more Socialist ministers. Sure, in the abstract it is the right thing to do, but you have to take everything into consideration! It is a very delicate moment! The hand must be steady on the wheel! 

"American Opinion and the Colonies"  Americans have always had a low opinion of our colonies, sniffs The Economist, and now because of African and West Indian students in American universities are developing an even lower one. The students, you see, keep saying that all is not well at home. You see, this is because studying in America makes you go soft in the head, except insofar as your actual studying goes, of course. Also, when students (and also assistant professors[?]) run into violent American racism, they can be fooled into thinking there is racism at home. Which, admittedly, there is, only not the bad racism. The good racism that leads to progress! Or would if Americans would just keep their noses out. 

"Polish Loan, Soviet-Style" The Poles have introduced a mandatory bond issue to sop up excess cash and reduce inflation, which is a good thing to do in general but might be bad when Communists do it.


A Tory MP is very upset at a mean thing The Economist said about "The Right Road for Britain." H. D. P. Lee points out that standard examinations penalise schools with fewer resources and offers solutions, and an Oxford man points out that it will be even worse outside England and Wales. Peter Lodge of Johannesburg points out that amongst all the other bad things that would come from revaluing the pound upwards, there would be serious impact on gold mining and the South Africans would be mad. Oliver Smedley of Saffron Walden uses the example of his hometown, where people used to grow saffron, but don't any more to prove that farmers ought to compete on the free market. Considering that he started out by pointing out that English saffron farmers were driven by the free market, so you can't get English saffron any more, I am not sure how he is proving that? San Lin of the Union Bank of Burma writes in to point out that The Economist is wrong about Burma's trade balance. The Economist explains that it is all the Burmese embassy's fault.


The big book for today is Lord Hailey's Native Administration in the British African Territories, a four volume survey of an enormous subject that goes to show that British colonialism is perfect and getting better every day. That still leaves a bit of space for Eric James' Education and Leadership, which sounds like the title of an "article" in the Naval Proceedings by the admiral who ran payroll during WWII, and, per the review, reads like one, too.  "[T]he job of the democratic process is to produce an aristocracy. . ." mumble mumble, but it will be an aristocracy of ability as determined by educators! Julian Amery's biography of the immortal Joseph Chamberlain hits the fourth volume, covering the whole sweep of 1901--1903. Eleven more years to go! The Economist points out that it isn't really Amery's fault, because he took over at volume 3. Paul Alpert's Twentieth Century Economic History runs from 1914 to the Schumann Plan and covers the whole world from Britain to Germany, with additional coverage of remote places like America and Russia. I understand. I've never thought of America as being in this world, either.   F. H. Soward, working for Oxford and "the Canadian Institute of International Affairs" (I don't blame Canada; that low-cut dress is the only way anyone remembers we exist!) has produced by far the best history of the "Fourth Unofficial Commonwealth Relations Conference," which you may recall was held in September 1949 at the Bigwin Inn. F. S. L. Lyons' history of The Irish Parliamentary Party, 1890--1910 sounds like a very worthy book, unlike London's Underworld, Writings of Henry Mayhew, which suffers from not casting James Cagney as editor Peter Quennell. I'm going to mention the review of W. R. Chignell's A History of the Worcestershire County Cricket Club just so you will know that it was reviewed in The Economist. H. Samuel's Factory Law is in its fifth edition, which is even better than the Fourth Edition, and that is why all the law students have to buy it, and not because H. Samuels needs to pay his yacht club fees. 

American Survey

"MacArthur Fades Away" The Economist rakes the GOP over the coals, and especially Senate Republicans for hosting a bunch of "second raters" in the recent hearings and for being more enthusiastic about hunting Communists at home than containing them abroad, with Herbert Hoover emerging as the mainstay of the Isolationist wing and the organiser of MacArthur's homecoming tour.  What seems to have it so upset is the Supplementary Appropriations Bill, which calls for withholding financial and economic aid to anyone who trades "strategic materials" with the Russians. Since, if pushed, it will collapse rearmament by reducing raw material imports, even the Senate knows that it can't be allowed to take effect, but that really isn't the point. Turning to  its favourite villain, the "Midwest" voter, The Economist  points out that what they really want is either a magic wall to keep the foreigner out or a magic wand to destroy them with.  Which is worrying, because while the magic wall doesn't exist, the magic wand does, although The Economist rushes past the H-bomb to get to the fact that isolationists are also keen on starting trouble in Asia. Hopefully, it concludes, there will be an armistice in Korea by the spring and the Republicans will be repudiated. (Congress doesn't seem that interested in the whole thing, as witness the way that the Defence Production Act hung fire all session until it was given an emergency extension last month. Which leaves the Administration worried that if there is a Korean armistice, Congress will give up on rearmament and inflation fighting. Henry Hazlitt says, "Hear, hear!")

"Grub-Stakes for Miners" The Economist  checks in with faraway Denver to learn about the billion-dollar programme to support nonferrous metal prospecting and mining in America, only this time mostly for small miners with an established reputation for "staying home." 

"The South States its Terms" Now that MacArthur has faded away, Southern Democrats are up to their old tricks, sabotaging the Defence Production Act, and now, through the mouth of Senator Byrd, laying out their terms for '52. The Democrats must bring back the two-thirds threshold for nominating a Presidential candidate, give up on "socialism," spending and civil rights. Since that includes Northern liberals shutting up about civil rights and abandoning the Fair Deal, it is not going to happen, so there will be a Dixiecrat walkout again in '52. Except that no-one will care, because Eisenhower will be the Republican nominee and all the Dixiecrat voters will support him. Then it is off to check in with America's growing number of one-newspaper towns, which everyone can agree is a bad idea, especially now that they are trying to blackball radio and television advertising, even though no-one knows how to fix it. The Economist also checks in with Detroit's attempts to cut strategic material consumption by temporary shutdowns, with unions looking to defence plants to absorb the currently very sparse number of unemployed.

Shorter Notes reports that James Wadworth, Karl Compton, William Clayton, Admiral Kinkaid and General McLain have been appointed to a committee to plan for universal military training in case Congress agrees on it. The Economist blames technological progress for the UAL pilot's strike. Modern planes are more complicated and so more difficult to fly, and planes are so much faster that the airline is getting an extra trip out of their 85 hours a month. 

The World Overseas

"Handbook for Soviet Diplomats" There is actually a Soviet Diplomatic Dictionary! The Economist reviews it so that we won't have to read it, but if you expect me to summarise the review so you won't have to read the Dictionary, you are wrong!

"Start of the Colombo Plan" The "great" Colombo Plan is a six-year scheme for the cooperative economic development of Southeast Asia, involving the expenditure of almost 2 billion pounds by the six Commonwealth countries of the region, with non-Communist countries invited to observe. The Economist is very excited about all the irrigation, flood control, hydro-electric power, fertilisers, double-cropping, seed farms, improved transportation and rural electrification, but India is also building a pharmaceutical and a machine tool factory, which deserves a separate Note, which also has room for an (East) Pakistani irrigation project. "Adequate Training Facilities" also gets its own, thrilling, header. 

"Paris Views Indochina" Evidently as a "resistance movement," rather than a war, and the country's one great foreign entanglement. (Because it feels lonely, Paris has been trying to give it a baby brother in Morocco.) France is mainly in Indochina as an extension of Immobilisme, which  means that the Fourth Republic is too paralyzed to do anything, which has resulted in a "distinctly strengthened situation of great benefit to the whole anti-Communist world." The Vietminh is practically beat!
I sure hope there isn't an annual rainy season next year. Even so, maybe Paris' plan to make the people of Indochina fall in love with Bao Dai will have worked by then, and maybe the Chinese won't send an army of volunteers once there is peace in Korea. Also it turns out that Moscow supports Persia (Iran?) in its fight with Anglo-Iranian. Thanks, but Time is on that beat already. 

"Canada's Fight Against Inflation" Canadian business is afraid that all that inflation fighting will lead to deflation, and point to a fall in new car sales and "scare headlines" about unemployment. The Economist is not worried. 

The Business World

"Full Circle in Wool"  First the price of wool was down, then it was up, and now it is down again. This has obvious implications for the very important trade relationship with New Zealand. See, Auntie Grace isn't the only one who can make New Zealand "sheep" jokes! I guess I should have worked "relationship" harder, but children might read this letter. Heh. "Harder." Excuse me, lack of sleep. So, anyway, blah blah wool market cotton rayon monkeypants. 

 "The Cost of Labour Turnover" Away back at the beginning of the issue, The Economist was worried about labour hoarding and musing about higher unemployment as an alternative to labour direction. Down here, it is time to talk about the Labour Minister addressing the Amalgamated Engineering Union and assuring it that labour turnover isn't going to lead to the return of direction. So either hoarding, or turnover can be prevented by the same things! This leads us, kicking and screaming, to the realistion that it is turnover, and not hoarding, that is the problem. It might be thought that labour turning over is the good thing that hoarding was stopping, and that it is a solution to staffing the defence industries. But it isn't! While we don't actually have any statistics, it is pretty clearly the bad kind of turnover where people quit one job and get another one just like it, for no better reason than that it is a better job. Can't have that! It is up from 20% to 40% among men and from 35% to 60% among women since 1948. What causes all the turnover? For one thing, labour shortages, as people quit jobs where they have to work too hard. Hmm. HMM.

Also, the chances of getting a different, better job. This leads The Economist to report a survey that, dramatically, shows that most people quit a job because they don't like a job. However, turnover costs business by wasting time, labour, and materials, and "causes a general dislocation," so all those workers should stop that, except the ones who get injured or pregnant, who have a good excuse. Unless it's the good kind of turnover where they go to the industries we want them to go to. 

I know that this article seems like it is going around and around in circles, but if we don't keep the writer busy, he'll probably quit and go to The Daily Express. 

Then it is off to the current current accounts payment crisis, which results from British dollar reserves falling from $2,696 billions  to $3,867 billions. Er, no, not "falling." What's the opposite of "falling" that is still bad? It's the trends. The trends are bad. 

"Buoyant Production" We learned at the head that the problem wasn't "efficiency" or "productivity," it was that British manufacturers were making more of the wrong things for the wrong people, so that the 5% increase in industrial output was going to British people who were using their money to buy stuff for themselves, including machine tools, agricultural machinery and "I.C. engines." You know, around-the-home stuff, whilst vital exports like coal were languishing. (And passenger cars, to be fair, largely because of a shortage of steel and zinc-steel pressings.)

"Financial Agreement with Egypt" The Egyptians have once again agreed not to spend all their pounds sterling because it would be inconvenient for the British. The Economist isn't happy with all that the British have given away, which seems to me just the attitude to take into negotiations with your creditors. 

"First Quarter's 'Above-Line' Surplus" The first quarter budget surplus above the line was only £13.8 million in the first quarter compared with £41 million last year, but also "a virtual balance" the year before. We can all agree that this is terrible, because of defence spending, which is good. It is quite the paradox, reflecting buoyant revenues mainly from customs and excise and not income tax. The upshot is a quarterly deficit of £109 million. 

"--And the Next Coal Winter" Passing over a Note about the members of the new Coal Board, we get to the "coal prospects" for the winter, which are bleak due to coal consumption rising faster than output. The mining workforce has remained steady, although Italian miners are expected soon, but the new recruits are increasing their productivity, so that's good.  The NCB was also in the black in spite of higher wages, thanks to higher prices. 

"Repayment of RFC Loan" The 1941 RFC loan to the British government that forestalled the sale of some direct investments, leading with Courtauld's viscose operation, will be repaid by this October, and the Government has just announced its scheme for selling the securities that the RFC held in collateral, The proceeds will go into an investment fund, and the dollar payments on the firms so protected, which previously served the loan's interest charge, will go to the general dollar balance.  The Economist then checks in with the third reading of the Finance Bill and takes the temperature of commodity markets after the talk about peace talks. Markets fail to collapse. We check in with the Finance Corporation for Industry, which is coping with steel nationalisation as best it can, and with the iron pyrite market, which is key to the current sulphur shortage. The industry has been down to the decline of Spanish mining and the cheapness of American sulphur, but is set to come back now that there is a shortage, although the Spanish industry is having trouble replacing miners who drifted away in the Thirties. Sulphur from pyrite is also limited by lack of new processing plants, and it is possible that new capacity will be ready before the raw material. 

"Commercial Atomic Energy" The Economist reviews Monsanto's plan to build a commercial atomic energy plant along with the Union Electric Company of Missouri, if it proves feasible. The Economist is quite excited and hopes that some British companies will approach the authorities with their own plan. However, Monsanto points out that the economics will be improved if the reactor is used "as the starting point for a number of processes rather than, as at present, simply as a source of heat." Does that mean making plutonium for bombs? 

Shorter Notes is all financial coverage, with the Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company featuring heavily. That is, if you remember, which would be good, because I really don't, a trust fund company with very little to do with the city in Spain. It's suspicious? Or too optimistic? 

Aviation Week, 9 July 1951

Sidelights reports that  CAB has promised the "long-awaited New York helicopter decision" soon. The public is getting angry about delays in clearing returning Korean veterans from west coast ports, where they are piling up faster than domestic airlines can clear them out. CAB is said to be "advising" local airlines to switch back to twin-engined from single-engined aircraft. Marquis Childs has run two or three more articles "insinuating that CAB should be investigated for giving in to industry 'pull.'" Three B-36s appeared at the International Aero Exhibition in Brussels, their first appearance in Europe. Red Air Force planes continue to mass in Manchuria, with some 1000 aircraft reported, mostly MiG-15s. The Navy's decision to put a full-sized island on the new, 57,000t aircraft carrier, Forrestal, is deemed to be a victory of air admirals over ship admirals, as the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations had deemed it too expensive.  

Industry Observer reports that Convair has won the "54 Interceptor" contest, with Republic placing second, Hughes having won the first part of the "package," to design the electronic guidance system. The Air Force competition for a new medium transport is finished, and the winner will be reported shortly. Word is that the Super DC-3 has the inside track. A Republic F-84G has been the first fighter to receive Fiberglas bubble canopy reinforcement strips after reports of blowouts. The Army has placed a contract with GM's AC Sparkplug division for the fire control system of its new "Skysweeper" AA system. Wright Aeronautical has brought its Sapphire jet's thrust value up significantly from the original 7220lbs and is working on reducing its use of strategic materials. The Navy and Marines are working on a carrier-capable aircraft for dropping paratroopers. Finally, the Navy's Air Force will be able to deliver the Navy's Army! Or maybe it will be the Air Force of the Navy's Army. Either way, it will probably be a version of the Douglas AD or Grumman Guardian and deliver a single stick.

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Roundup  reports that the Joint Chiefs won't get their "emergency" programme this year. The latest on the 150-wing USAF is that it is tied to Wherry and Taft's "isolationist" position now going down in flames in Congress. Wherry and Taft have retrenched on the idea of diverting Air Force money from tactical to strategic air. Congress is going to tell the CAB that it has to keep the nonskeds in business somehow, while the Air Force's "death sentence" (it isn't going to come up in the current Congress) on a government-financed programme to develop a new commercial and transport plane prototype is a "victory for USAF's military command over its civilian command." The Air Force only has enough money and development resources for fighters and bombers, says General Vandenberg. The Senate is still fighting over separation of air mail and general airline subsidies.

"Strike is Ended --But Dispute Goes On" The UAL pilot's strike, that is.  The Air Force has retired four general officers, transferred q4, and promoted 37. Aviation Week examines the entrails and determines that it is a "battle of strategic versus tactical air power." 

"Lockheed Wins: Design for Turboprop Freighters Picked by AF in Five-Company Contest" Also, GE's J-47-23, picked for the B-47, will be built at GE's Massachusetts and Ohio plants. 

Ross Hazeltine, "French Show: Many Designs, Few Planes" I think this is the first time that a McGraw-Hill World News Service story has had a byline. Good for Ross, getting an all-expense paid trip to Paris! All I got was Formosa! And probably Baltimore, not to get ahead of myself . . . Lots of prototypes, plus the Ouragan. 

"General O'Donnell Denies AF Factional Fight" General O'Donnell formerly commanded Fifteenth Air Force and reports that the Air Force is one big, happy family that is almost in agreement in how many bombers versus how many fighter bombers it should have, and whether there should be US troops in Europe or Korea at all. Speaking of strategic air, the first B-36Fs with their new R-4360-53s with "more than 25 improvements" are in service. Remember how Aviation Week used to pad out pages with stories about aircraft skis? The SA-16 has skis, now. They're for landing in the Arctic, Aviation Week helpfully explains. 

Aeronautical Engineering didn't want to pay per word this week, so it reprinted a Boeing brochure about how "Mid-Air Refuelling Designed For Use with Many Planes" Which at least acknowledges that the Boeing boom refuelling method originated with the British probe-and-drogue system. Boeing then rejoins Allan Cobham, already in progress, with the pious hope that someone will start using inflight refuelling in commercial services soon. 

NACA Reports has some aerodnynamics. Chi-Teh Wang of New York University applies the "Variational Method" to two-dimensional subsonic flows, while Frank Malvesto and Dorothy Hoover look at supersonic lift and pitching moment on sweptback wings with certain leading and trailing edge features. Chien Chang looks at transient behaviour in "different arbitrary motions in  in a supersonic flow." H. J. Grover and associates have done some fatigue strength tests on 23S-T3 and SAE 4130. Dwight Moore and associates looked at the high temperature protective effects of a titanium-carbide ceramal. William Grace and associates have been fooling around in a wind tunnel, and Chung-Hua Wu has a general "flow-through" theory for arbitrary turbomachines. I wanted to mention Chi-Teh Wang's authorship to start, which is how all the other author credits got in this time.

  McGraw-Hill World News Service has "Are English Civil Jets in the Race?" The point of the article is that Australian airlines want to replace their existing fleet with Convairs and DC-4s, not jets, because there are no British jets on offer for "immediate delivery." Jets also won't be competitive on the longest Australian domestic and overseas flights. I don't know who McGraw-Hill is talking too, but it then goes on to blither about the Ambassador, which is supposedly "designed [so] that a jet engine can be fitted when required." Whoever it is, he deserves the annual "Clever Pommie Gets One Over On innocent Aussie" award, which I am sure exists based on every time I talk to an Aussie. However, the real point is that the mean old Australian government just won't give the airlines dollars so that they can buy brand-new Convairs and DC-4s(!!!) No wonder, it says here, Australian airlines are snapping up any old second-hand plane like a Constellation or a "Skymaster." That's just embarrassing. 

Incidentally, the Vickers Viscount's Rolls Royce Dart engine just passed its 500 hour. 

"Curtiss-Wright Rocket Motor Gets Throttle Control" That's specifically the motor for the Bell X-2, which still hasn't flown, in part because Curtiss-Wright still hasn't delivered the motor. Also, the boys at the Northrop Aeronautical Institute have built a little  turbojet in their lab, which is definitely news, and the Navy's jet lab in Trenton has installed a new three-stage air conditioner that will get the air in the test chamber down to -23 as soon as it is working, installation having been going on since 1947. I can't remember. Did we even have airplanes in 1947?

Production has "Improved Welding Aids Fabrication," which is a little note from Sciaky Brothers, a manufacturer of resistance welding equipment in Chicago. It turns out that their new resistance welding equipment can replace riveting at one sixth the cost.

"Mill for Integrally Stiffened Skin of F-94" It turns out that Lockheed wants to be a published author, too. I don't know. Couldn't it talk about its eccentric Southern childhood? That stuff always gets a look!
"New Tools Speed Convair's Production" Or you could just set your sights a bit lower and write something genre. Westerns are pretty big right now. 

Equipment has George L. Christian, "Link Thrives on Simulator Boom" The article is a good look at Link's business with no technical details. 

New Aviation Products has a Loran amplifier from Radio Specialty Manufacturers of Portland, a tiny rotary switch from Electro Development, a compact, lightweight scale from Lennert Seabeck, already being manufactured by Swan Tool of Hansford, and a position light flasher by John B. Rudy Company. Lord Manufacturing makes packing material, and Rogers Corporation of Manchester, Connecticut has a new gasket material made of asbestos and neoprene. 

McGraw-Hill's linewide editorial doesn't like controls, but does like taxes to fight inflation. CAB has determined that the Butte NWA Martin 2-0-2 crash was caused by pilot error (using instrument-off instrument flying and probably hitting a ridge in a local snowstorm after mistaking it for another ridge he had already cross while flying on instruments), to which the airline contributed by failing to ensure proper pilot training.

"All-Weather Era Here, Say Experts" It says here, so it must be true!  

What's New liked Frank Durham's book about aircraft jet engines and Lawrence Cargnino and Clifford Carvin's book about aircraft engines, and Daniel O. Dommasch and associates' book about Airplane Aerodynamics.  Letters has General Henebry's letter from San Francisco complaining that his subscription isn't getting through, plus some puff letters that really liked some articles. A nonsked president really liked the one attacking Cosmopolitan's series about how nonskeds  are dangerous! 

Robert H. Wood's Editorial is worried that the MacArthur hearing has established that the decision to intervene in Korea was made by the President alone. The President is too powerful, he thinks. He is also happy that MATS is experimenting with rear-facing seats on the C-97, because there should be no compromise on safety. (Unless it leads to really, really cheap air fares.) Finally, he defends writing about flying saucers. Flying saucers are interesting, and people like reading about them!

The Economist, 16 July 1951


"No Through Road" Bevan's faction of Labour has released a pamphlet titled "One Way Only." The Economist thinks that its answering title is a funny answer, which it is. Because that's The Economist's approach in a nutshell: It's one way only, but no through road! For example, right now we have "Russia's aggression" and "renewed difficulties in balancing Britain's overseas trade." Sure, The Economist obviously isn't hearing the denials out of Peking saying that the North Koreans attacked on their own. But it has got to be aware that the "difficulties" balancing Britain's overseas trade are just a matter of the pound being too high! With the US in need of raw materials, the US can't make the rest of the world answer to its inflation unless the rest of the world wants to do America a favour. But we do, because of US foreign aid, which mainly takes the form of US guns to fight Russian "aggression." See the solution here? 

Anyway, that's what I think, but I'm just an engineer who voted for Wallace, so what do I know? Point is, Bevan and the gang want to build 50,000 nice houses, whereas the Tories want to build 1000,000 bad houses. Britain needs houses, but never mind. It's "well-worn precedents" looking for "propaganda success." For never, ever shall Britons ever get what they want when it comes at the cost of piling up ever more dollars in British accounts. Twelve weeks ago, Bevan said that Britain couldn't afford rearmament. Now we all agree that it can, so instead Bevan says we don't need it, because the Russians want peace, notwithstanding its temptation to "adventures." What Bevan wants is to spend £3.6 billion on defence over the next three years instead of £4.7 and spend some of the money saved on raising living standards in the backwards areas of the world, the rest to go to 25% more new homes, 5% more social services, 3% more personal consumption and 10% more industrial investment. He also wants to nationalise sugar, cement, insurance and "a few other oddments." The Economist doesn't like that, but I'm not really clear why, because it spends most of three pages swearing at Bevan instead of explaining.

"Patience for Peace" We want peace in general. The Soviets say they want peace in general. We want peace in Korea. The Soviets say they want peace in Korea. The Soviets say they want to head off rearmament. We say that we want to head off rearmament. Stuff of negotiations? Of course not. Communism is bad, so we have to rearm, like it or not. Once we've rearmed, then we can have peace and disarm. First things first. 

"Fair Share in Arms" The Economist is upset that European countries that are spending less on defence are going to get more American aid than Britain, because development aid is increasingly giving way to arms aid, and Britain doesn't need as much arms aid because it is spending more on arms itself. 

"Food Versus Homes" People are upset that British homes are being built on British fields, which will cut into the food supply. The math is that England and Wales have 37 million acres, of which 1.5 million acres have passed out of agricultural use, leaving 88% of England and Wales to farming and forestry. This is probably more than enough, especially considering how yields could be improved. The bad people who worry about this should be punished, and by that The Economist means Hugh Dalton. 

Notes of the Week

"Camera's at Kaesong" The Economist is very upset at the way the North Koreans staged some photographs at the opening of the armistice talks. 

"Persia and the Court" Remember how I ignored the Persian situation last week. That's because I  knew that there would be more stories this week. And here they are! This week, Dr. Mossadegh is appealing to the UN and the International Court of Justice even though the Court has no jurisdiction for complicated reasons that need explaining. Meanwhile, Averill Harriman is expected in Teheran, even though the Persians are taking a hard negotiating stance because they think the British are bluffing. The Economist urges the government to show the Persians that they are not bluffing, based on the assumption that the Persians are too lazy and cowardly to do this and that. Thanks for helping, The Economist! Speaking of which, the Egyptians have detained and searched a British ship, the Empire Roach, and, no, that is exactly what it says here. I guess because in England they don't say "roach." This was in the "clear international channel that runs through Egyptian territorial waters at the tip of the Sinai peninsula," in other words, into Jordan's port at Aqaba and Israel[s port of Eilat. The Economist is outraged, mainly at the thought that the Egyptians were encouraged by Iranian behaviour. 

"Autumn Election" Well, probably, especially if Labour loses the byelection for Droylesden. But if we left it at that, we couldn't talk about "the much-feared Tribune pamphlet, 'One Way Only'," again. 

"New Rifles for Old" Churchill wants to have a debate in the House over the Government's "decision to adopt for the British Army a new automatic rifle with the wholly unstandard calibre of .280," but the debate has been deferred pending ministerial consultation around NATO. The Economist recalls how the British spent a vast fortune erecting "large factories" to manufacture British .303-calibre rifles in the United States in WWI, before the Americans entered the war, and how the Americans insisted on converting the factories to produce rifles using the American standard .300, and, as a result, the factories were hardly used in the war, and Britain had to rebuild rifle-making capacity at the beginning of WWII to make more .303 rifles. The Economist thinks that NATO should standardise on a single ammunition and rifle, but points out that British experts have decided that the American rifle, the Garand, is unsuitable, and that the new British round is the best thing since sliced bread. The Economist thinks that this is a "supply" issue and not a "design" one, and the Minister should just take on some economical advisor to tell them to suck it up and adopt the American .300 in the name of standardisation and economy. 

The pure, blazing, ignorant stupidity of this would be even more obvious if The Economist deigned to notice that the Americans are trialling a new ammunition and that the Red Army adopted a short 7.62mm suitable for  use in a shoulder-fired automatic rifle two full years ago.  Apparently the argument is that since the Americans are bound and determined to adopt a defective weapon, Britain should go along because it would be cheaper on supply grounds to adopt the heavier ammunition that costs more to transport. Remember how the Americans adopted a bad rifle in 1896 and gave it up just two years later? Uncle George does!

"Atomic Crisis" Lord Portal has resigned and The Economist has decided that his replacement as Controller of Production (Atomic Energy) is dumb because otherwise he would be working in private industry for more money, and so there is an atomic crisis, which is why atomic affairs should get a public corporation instead of being under the Ministry of Supply. 

"False Dawn in Germany" The British declaration of peace against Germany is just a false dawn because it is a long way from restoring the sovereignty of the Federal Republic. We should actually dawn them as fast as possible because we need them for a European Army, next Note. William Oatis, the AP correspondent in Czechslovakia, has predictably show up at again at a show trial devoted to showing that he was spying for the Americans with the help of various Czechoslovak enemies of the state.  All western correspondents formerly in the country (and so I get round writing the "CZ" word again) have either left the country or were tried before him. Speaking of news, the latest report on the BBC recommends no important changes. 

"Fifty Millions" There are fifty million Britons, up from the 46 million who fought the last world war, and the 48 who fought the one before it. (Ireland.) The Economist can't wait for more detailed breakdowns of the census data, full of delicious statistics, but for now here's a charge of the rate of increase of the UK's population. One fuller statistic that does come out this week is a breakdown by regions showing that for the first time this century, rural parts of England and Wales gained population at the expense of urban. The notable decrease in the rate of population increase may be reversed by this week's announcement of an agreement with Argentina for "More and Dearer Meat." Eat more meat, pay more for it. Argentinians happy, British maybe happy. 

"Disaster Averted in Bihar" There will not be a famine in Bihar thanks to American grain and British "diversion of shipping," but also a heroic Indian effort to make sure that the grain got to rural areas in time by lorry, river steamer, railway and even bullock cart, and by resolute Government action to keep prices down, including Government "fair price shops" that, in June, sold 100,000 tons of food a month to 15 million people. The Government is also employing farming people with no other work at jute-twine-tying and on the railways. The Government's plan calls for two  million tons of American grain each year under the Five Year Plan, but hopefully the Colombo Plan will make some inroads. 

"Banning Australia's Communists" The Australian Government is pressing ahead with the Communist Party Dissolution Bill, "tackling something which is of sharp interest to the whole democratic world." I'm not sure that's the right use of the word "democratic?" Now joining it on the parliamentary agenda is the Defence Preparations Bill, which also has Labour upset. The Economist isn't sure that these are the right things to do, but is glad that the Menzies government is trying the experiment.

Great uncle of you-know-who
"Slow Poison" The "use of poisonous chemicals in the growing and processing of food was debated" last week. Yes, yes, I think that would be a good thing to debate. It turns out that what the sentence means is stories told in the House of Lords about DDT being found in "mother's milk," the way that cola dissolves human teeth, the fact that cows treated with pennicilin give milk that won't turn into cheese. That stuff is from a speech by Lord Douglas, and sounds a bit crazy to me, but, on the other hand, speaking in the House of Commons, Dr. Stross, who seems to be related to the Ministry of Food, says all is well because the Ministry has more than enough power to regulate food additives, and rarely approves new ones. Which in terms of alarmist talk, seems like the opposite of the Lord Douglas speech. The Economist thinks that the real danger is from infected food, and that additives are a "red herring," which I bet is some kind of joke about a food scandal of days gone by. 

Advertisers had a big conference where they talked about how people don't like their industry, and the British Federation of Hotel and Boarding House Associations has gone to war with Blackpool over price-cutting to crush the "seaside spare-room pirates." The Economist is on the pirates' side. 

From The Economist of 1851, "Practical Energy" is an editorial against demolishing the Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace, it turns out, was a palace made of mainly windows that was built for the London Exhibition. It was supposed to be temporary, but everyone loved it and it lasted until it burned down when I was 10. (But it had to be moved, so maybe that is what they were getting excited about away back in 1851.) Not only not news, never news!


L. A. Jackson writes from Surrey that the UN went off at half-cock in Korea, so it shouldn't be a precedent. Hernan Echavarria of Bogota explains that it is impossible to invest in improving the standard of living in the Point Four countries, because "the Latin (and I suppose the Asiatic)" believes that the entrepeneur is just exploiting the masses. Progress is only possible through the army or some sort of dictatorship, and Colombia's universities and technical faculties won't even hire anyone worth mentioning in economics and the social sciences. T. Zavalani predicts that there won't be another Soviet Five Year Plan, while J. Clarence Smith has ideas about a decimalised currency. 


Norbert Wiener's "cybernetics" makes it to the big show, with The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society gets a review in The Economist. What does the paper think of a goofy book by a goofy guy? It's the usual. Computers will replace humans in the factory in twenty years unless a war speeds it up, in which case it will take five years. Either widespread unemployment and social unrest, or utopian reforms or improvements will follow in a "second industrial revolution." The Economist thought the book was often charming and thought-provoking, but also shallow and silly. And they haven't even met the man! That history of Reuters' first century gets a review, which, way down at the end, talks about the race to install "cable, telephone and teleprinter." Now that's cybernetics! J. D. Bernal's The Physical Basis of Life is a very good popularisation with (almost) no horrid Communism, although the broad implication is that it pushes God into a much smaller corner of the Beginning of Things than the Old Man was previously allowed.  Donald Bailey Marsh's World Trade and Investment: The Economics of Interdependence is a textbook that is also a cracking good read if you like that sort of thing, although it is more political than a  textbook should be, and its argument for freer trade and flexible exchange rates is just sadly and typically Canadian naivete. John MacLaurin's The United Nations and Power Politics is very upset at the United Nations for being too anti-Communist.  Philip Hitti's History of Syria goes from the Amorites (so, a long time ago) to the foundation of Israel and proves that the country of Syria has its problems, mainly with nomads. Robert Trow-Smith's
English Husbandry
is good in parts, but The Economist thinks it is pretty weak on important subjects like the post-Napoleonic war period and the Cooperative movement. Lawrence Vance's Scientific Method of Accounting is a look at using modern statistics to create sampling regimes that can successfully audit largescale transactions. This stuff is all much harder than I thought it was. Two volumes of J. M. Keynes' essays are out in a new edition by Rupert Hart-Davis, and Norman Crump's The ABC of Foreign Exchanges is the eleventh edition of the book originally by George Clare, published in 1892. The Economist doesn't like bits of it, but it is too hard to explain them to the great unwashed. You know, if they'd just given Norbert the one word review ("crackpot") he deserved, there would have been space to explain Crump's heresies. It might be interesting to know where The Economist disagrees with a noted author about foreign exchanges since WWII, which is something we expect it to know more about than robot factories of the year 1970.

American Survey

"Reactions to Korea" Congress has dismantled the Administration's proposed control legislation in favour of simply extending the Defence Act because, The Economist says, of the farm lobby. No mention of the NAM, which has been getting hysterical in Newsweek. It is also working on the tax bill, and seems to be talking a look at defence spending. Meanwhile, Charlie Wilson points out that it is only the expectation of rising defence spending that is holding back a recession. The good news is that the wage-price spiral is checked, but that just seems to be encouraging Congress in its fecklessness. The Economist joins lots of other people in thinking that heavy consumer spending is just a panic ahead of likely wartime or warlike-time shortages. I am not so sure about that. Even given that we remember the last war, has forward thinking ever been an explanation for big trends in consumer spending? The Economist recommends taxes and controls to close the inflationary gap. 

"A Woman's World?" The census shows that there are 100 women for every 98 men, which is a good chance to remind everyone that 30% of women still work. Why we would need reminding when it goes on to describe the current push on advertisers by the women's magazines that focusses on how much income women control, I do not know. Do women really own "47% of our railroads?" It is a plausible number, but we don't know it! And while women are more than half the shareholders at AT and T, the stockholders just returned an all-man  board, reflecting the fact that men hold 67% of the shares. "Income figures support the unpopular thesis that women's economic position is, with flamboyant exceptions, relatively modest." Which, if you knew a fiery young woman and feminist of Stanford University, wouldn't be news to you, but this is not the part of the world where we are worried about the Woman Problem. It's the part where we worry about whether Cosmopolitan or Fortune gets the typewriter ad. (I don't think Cosmopolitan is going for the typewriter ad.) Then it is on to the next paragraph, where The Economist does notice the Woman Problem, in the form of the absence of female politicians and Administration members. "[T]he United States is still far from being the women's world that it is popularly supposed to be."

American Notes

"Bringing Europe Up to Scratch" The House Foreign Affairs Committee is studying the Administration request for $8.5 billion in foreign aid, which is the "pay-off" for the MacArthur debate, proof that America wants to have allies. This is also the time to talk about the embargo bill, which has been watered down to the point where world trade can go on. Except between American and Russia and China for things like tungsten and manganese, but what kind of rearmament effort needs that stuff?

"Ten Billion Dollar Question" That will be the size of the budget surplus, if the House throws in the Administration's requested tax increase on top of the currently proposed $7.2 billion increase. As of 30 June, the surplus was already $3.5 billion, $6 billion more than the originally predicted $2.7 billion deficit. With the surplus booming, the eager eyes of the NAM and the Committee on Federal Tax Policy are on cuts, or even a constitutional amendment limiting the income tax to 25%. Congress would like to cut the tax increase somehow, but has no idea how, because it hasn't talked about a finances bill for the whole session. 

"Reds on the Run" Four of the eleven Communist leaders whose conviction was upheld last month are out on bail, and in hiding, with the remaining seven are serving their sentences. Four of the twenty-one "second string" members are also on the run. The bail for the remaining sixteen has been substantially increased, as also for the accused members of the Communist-front Civil Rights Congress. People including Dashiell Hammett have been sentenced to jail and while the Communist Party is legal, it is effectively illegal to be a Communist, and the Daily Worker has had to cut pages and raise its price from 5 to 10 cents a copy.

But the intrusive Federal power is in retreat somewhere in this latter day police state of ours, for "Anti-Trust is on the Defensive"! Mainly because the big petroleum companies are engaged in pooling because of this or that international crisis, and the Justice Department has agreed not to come down on them. The government has also "signed an armistice" with the steel industry over pricing, the old "basing" controversy.

"Labour for the Farms" The Economist explains the "wetback problem," which is relevant this week because the latest scheme to import legal Mexican farmworkers is expiring. And we check in with small business and its attempt to get defence contracts. 

Shorter Notes reports that Francis P. Matthews will be Ambassador to Ireland, that the Charter of the Organisation of American States has been ratified, and that the Selective Service call up will be increased again to allow the men whose volunteer enlistments were extended last year, to go home. The latest thing in the leafier suburbs is linen hire services through the laundry trade

The World Overseas 

The lead story is the Third International, which I am sure would be scintillating even if a misplaced piece of mailing tape hadn't left it floating in the South China Sea or somewhere nearby. "Ukrainians in Trouble" checks in with Mother Russia, where there is a press campaign against Ukrainian nationalists that might be bad news for said nationalist and possibly other Soviet nationalists, with a recent attack on Shamyl, an Azerbaijani folk hero. 

"Birth Control for India" Prime Minister Nehru has decided that birth control is the solution to India's problem of too many Indians, an increase of 42 millions having been seen in the last ten years. In the race between production and babies, production has lagged, and needs a handicap to catch up, which French Letters are set to provide. And yet India's population increase is only 1.2%, far below Germany in the 1890s and a sharp decline in the last decade. There is also no religious objection, although the Muslim faith teaches that the more Muslims there are, the better, which seems like a thing that I would want my religion teaching, and the Hindus (superstition etc). "Family planning is India's number one long term priority."

"German Shipbuilding Unshackled" As covered everywhere else already, removal of post-Armistice limits on German shipbuilding has led to more German shipbuilding. The Germans are set to build some liners, and are sure to bring up an extension of Hamburg's drydock capacity.

"France in Search of a Government" While this is no doubt the kind of story that will have world-historical importance for centuries to come, I decline to be the one to read it.  Also, Catholic teachers in France are caught in a delicate moral quandary as between something and something else. It could be worse, though, it could be a story about "Finland After the Elections." A full page! There is also a report from the cotton farms of Sudan, where a middle class is in sight. 

"Vietminh Looks Ahead" The Vietminh is back on its heels after taking heavy losses trying to close the campaign for Hanoi and is reorganising and propagandising. The Economist hopes that counter-propaganda will puncture the Vietminh myth of inevitable victory, allowing the creation of viable non-Communist regimes and the French army's return to Europe. Or Morocco, as the case may be. 

The Business World

"Transport and Costs" We review the latest report of the British Transport Commission. The financial results are creditable but The Economist has numerous concerns, mainly about the integration of road and rail, some wasteful expenditures, and the rising rate of passenger fares. 

"Dearer Commercial Credit" Borrowing costs are up, and it may or may not be a trend. We explore the question at three pages length.

Business Notes

"Gas in the Market" is a review of movements of British Gas stock. "Allocating Scarce Materials" looks at three months of work by the International Materials Conference; a series of makeshift efforts to get everything from newsprint to manganese to where it is needed. The good news is that steel production will be at worst 300,000t under last year's record production if raw material problems are not addressed, and much better if they are, and in particular if the scrap drive succeeds. British steel prices, which are the lowest in the northern hemisphere, will likely rise, since artificially low prices makes for artificially high demand and more controls than would be needed if prices were higher.  Commodity prices are still falling, with big fibre crops expected all over: Dutch and Belgian flax, American cotton, Indian and Pakistani jute, even sisal. Tin and wolfram have also fallen.

We hear rumblings about Persia's sterling balance, which British authorities have not embargoed, perhaps so as not to drive the Persians (Iranians) to extreme measures, but also because there might not be much of it, so why is this a story? Because Persia gave us their gold in the war and we promised to let them convert their sterling into  hard currency. Oops!

Employment figures show that the female working population is up by 20,000 women in the last year, part of an increase in 46,000 coming out of the already low numbers for unemployment. A committee has been struck to formulate a fuel policy freight rates are down, the government is going to bring in new price control orders on plasterboard after the original ones were annulled by a Commons vote. The Economist is outraged. Rolls-Royce is going to make a range of "rationalised" diesel engines, mainly for the War Office but also the new heavy Vickers-Armstrong tractor, and rayon production is increasing remarkably considering the raw materials shortage. (It uses a lot of sulphuric acid, and the industry has done a good job of finding substitutes. This year's sugar crop is the largest ever, and prices have been rising, but now we are worried that they might go down if the peace talks make progress. Perhaps it is time to talk about a World Sugar Agreement again. 

I can never keep straight when cartels are bad and when they are good around this place. 

At its Annual General Meeting, Unilever courageously puts the blame for price rises where they belong: The retailer! And not its large advertising budget. Why, advertising is so efficient it practically cuts prices! And small savings are increasing so quickly that it is not a crisis.  

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