Sunday, June 3, 2018

Postblogging Technology, April 1948, I: Blockades and the Revenge of Money


Dear Father:

Between exams and work, I am in a tearing hurry, and I'm down in the dumps because Reggie is in the same boat, and we only put $30 in Ma Bell's pocket last night. I promise to catch you up next week!

Yours Sincerely,

If you don't mind me repeating an observation in the body, it's strange that the Berlin Airlift has started, and  no-one has noticed. We still have to wait two months for the official start. Which, just to bring the threads together, will be triggered by the introduction of the Deutschmark. I did not know that.

Flight, 1 April 1948


A Fortune article below refers to IBM "computers"
calculating payroll, so the modern usage of "computer"
is officially document, even as the old one persists.
"Closing the Stable Door"  The estimates are  a far-too-high £962 million, of which the Air Estimates are a paltry  £173 million. The Government hasn't done nearly enough to explain all the numbers, and there is far too much information in the Statement on the Estimates and now the Russians will know. Interestingly, in the Aviation Week editorial round up (they sent me proofs for last month, which is why you aren't hearing from them this time around), the paper has to defend itself for revealing the secret of the XS-1's sound-barrier breach, which has the Air Force and Symingon upset. Aviation Week says, huffily, that too much secrecy is just going to ruin our way of life by stifling the Free Press.

"Mobility" The RAF will be more mobile in the future, and Flight is pleased that the new RAF transport, the Hastings, is nice. On the other hand, it is upset that the Forces aren't being re-equipped, because while this is a good thing in general, it is a bad thing with respect to transport aircraft, because the Hastings isn't nice enough. I think. I mean, it doesn't say that. That would be mean. But what else could it be saying?

"High-speed Sloth" The Government is going nearly fast enough in high-speed research because it doesn't like playing with rockets, and a turbojet capable of pushing a plane through the sound barrier would have better than 1lb thrust to 1lb weight, about four times more than any existing turbojet.

Is this really the first jet turbine aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in level flight? If so, it's oddly unheralded.

"Britain Highest Again" John Cunningham has set a new altitude record of 59,492ft in a Ghost-powered Vampire, beating the Italian-set 1938 record by 3400ft. The plane was modified with extended wing tips, and there were various weight-saving measures. Since, as height increases, less air enters the compressor, the temperature in the jetpipe rises for a given engine speed, and the fuel supply must fall with air content. The high altitude Ghost was modified with a special, high-altitude atomiser and an additional burner pressure gauge. A larger nozzle was also fitted. The plane had an automatic recorder in its gun bay that measured air temperature and pressure to accurately determine altitude. The Vampire did not climb at its potential maximum of 8000ft/minute, as that would have been uncomfortable, but it could have, Flight points out.  

"Meteor Miscellany: Initial Trials of Mk VII Trainer: Recent Fighter Developments" The Meteor VII has a backseat for a trainer. The latest model of the service fighter has a heated, sealed, pressurised cockpit. It is also tropicalised. The inflating rubber seal sounds interesting.

Civil Aviation News

BEA has been flying helicopters in circles for the last three months to determine just how reliable helicopters flying in circles can be. The Post Office is very excited with all of this progress. IATA has asked all member countries to write term essays about air transport safety, with special emphasis on procedures for ensuring that airliners don't fly into hills, and, in particular, hills they don't see. The Government Forms Sub-Committee of the IATA met in London the other week to discuss reducing the number of documents involved in air travel. The Air Safety Board has decided that BSAA may only use its Tudor IVs as freighters for the time being, and may not fly between the Azores and Bermuda, using the Gander-Bermuda route instead. The modified Tudor I use in tropical flying trials in Khartoum is said to have passed those trials, but must still be tested at Boscombe Down before the results can be released. BEA is combining all of its downtown London offices at its new "Kensington Air Station," from which coaches for all BEA services will operate. Air France will also use it. The accident off Shanklin, in which pilot R. W. Bacon was killed along with two female passengers, was caused by Bacon being a mutton-headed showoff. BOAC will be laying off fifty people when it moves out of Poole Harbour to Southampton. Air France will put up passengers for up to fifteen days in Paris during Air France flights, as long as they make their bookings when they buy their tickets. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is recruiting 100 radio mechanics, starting at £5 15s a week. BOAC carried 23,000 passengers across the Atlantic in April-December 1947. The Air Safety Board in Washington has issued a batch of 35 structural design change orders, and called for the standardisation of cockpits, emergency exits, non-inflammable helium bas, and improvements in firefighting and fireproofing.

"Westland-Sikorsky S-51: Anglo-American Rotating-Wing Effort: British Built U.S. Design with British Engine" Our author begins by listing an amazing number of unsuccessful but very interesting Westland airplanes, which clearly show that. . No, I guess they don't show anything except that Westland is very creative. That's why it is good that Westland is copying a Sikorsky design, except putting an Alvis engine in it. Because Westland is so creative and forward looking! Some 2700 production drawings were brought over from America for the project, and addendums listing any necessary changes to British practice were tacked up on the bulletin boards.  British workers are the whiz at reading American production drawings! Alvis is very pleased at how well turning the Leonides on its side went. There is a Graviner firefighting system on board. The undercarraige is monocoque, making for more room in the cabin, which has many windows. The cockpit controls are very complete. Once the control cables disappear into the wall of the fuselage, they enter a bewilderingly confusing world of moving parts, and that's just the controls. Once we get to transmission details, it gets really confusing. I'm very interested to learn that the rotors are fabric-covered, and the tail rotors built up of steel and wood. 

"Fury Factory: Flight Calls at the Langley Plant and Airfield of Hawker Aircraft" The Fury is very nice, and so is its factory.

"Malayan Aviation in the Making: Development of Civil Air Communications in the Malay Peninsula: Observations by an Official of Malayan Airways" Malayan Airways is expanding rapidly, and many people like to fly, as trains are hot, dirty, and it is £10 fare for the 360 mile trip from Penang to Singapore. Currently, all personnel are European except stewardesses, but programs to train local radio operators are underway, along with an apprenticeship scheme to train ground engineers and flying clubs to develop pilots. 

"High Speed Flight Research: Concluding Part of Mr. H. Davies' Lecture Before the RAeS" My best attempt at a useful summary is that flying at high speeds straight and level is one thing. The moment you start trying to dive or turn, things get complicated, especially since compressibility effects develop and change rapidly on the control surfaces, and it all requires endless calculating and testing.

Here and There

David Brown Tractors has signed a ten thousand pound order to export the heavy tractors it developed for the RAF to  Middle East oilfields. Miles Aircraft is to be broken up, with the aircraft section to be shut down, another company, rumoured to be Handley Page, taking over its types and finishing current contracts "under conditions which will ensure that the assets are realised as far as possible on an ongoing basis." Other divisions, for example, fountain pens and duplicating machines, will be "developed." The Fairchild "pack plane" exists some more. 

Harrow School for Girls is chartering a Skymaster to fly twenty girls to Holland for the Easter holiday. Butlins is rescheduling some of its aerial week-ends this summer. Orville Wright's estate has been valued at £267,000. Work on the Australian rocket range at Woomera continues. 


C. N. H. Lock can't let go of the idea that there needs to be a new word for "supersonic." Several correspondents have strong opinions about the RAFVR. No-one brings up hats, unfortunately. R. C. Alabaster says that the Tudor is a perfectly good plane.

The Economist, 3 April 1948


"Short of War" The world is waiting for the results of the Italian election, and the Communist response, if they lose to Gasperi's Christian Democrats. This will determine whether Italy joins a bloc of European nations which are not really part of an American empire, because America doesn't have an empire, or the Russian empire, which is a communist empire. If the former, America will have European resources and can rule the world (but not really rule the world); or else Russia will have them, and it will rule the world (communistically). So everything is very apocalyptic. On the other hand, Russia and America and its allies have been facing off over this and that for two years now, and so far everything that has come up, has been resolved. It's almost as though, because the Americans are bent on "all aid short of war," and the Russians are bent on "all mischief short of war," there won't be a war. In summary, we'll all keep muddling along, only apocalyptically.

"Priority for the Surplus" The year's end report shows that the British government budget showed a gigantic surplus of £650 million. Because Mr. Dalton has been in the press taking credit for it, The Economist is eager to point out all the various ways this has been fudged. Ooh, how it hates Hugh Dalton! The real surplus is only about half of that, and that is the number that  needs to be considered for next year. Given the size of the surplus, people are saying that taxes are too high, and that next year's budget should reduce taxes and, so, the prospective surplus. The Economist has ideas about tax relief (amazingly enough, they involve the kind of people who subscribe to The Economist, paying lower taxes) but thinks that this would be inflationary. The surplus should be kept, as this is anti-inflationary. I'd say more, but there's a bit in Business that is longer on the details.

Note that the entire cost of the "welfare state," less education, in 1948, is 23% of public expenditure, 32% with it. It's more than defence, though, so I guess Correlli Barnett is right! Source.

"British or United?" The situation between India and Pakistan is getting very sticky, and, at the same time, both Pakistan and India are talking about leaving the Commonwealth. If India leaves, and Pakistan does not, the British Commonwealth would be drawn into the conflict on Pakistan's side, and that would be terrible. To make this less likely, The Economist thinks that it should stop calling itself the "British Commonwealth" and start calling itself "the Commonwealth," and, in general, be as little like the Empire as possible, so that India will stay in it, and everything won't then fall apart. Sounds like a terrible idea for Pakistan, though!

"Scottish Home Rule -II" The Economist has ideas about how Scottish home rule should work. Mainly, it shouldn't involve any economic powers.

Notes of the Week

"Target Berlin" The Russians seem to be trying to squeeze the Allies out of their occupation zones in Berlin by interfering with overland transport by road and rail. Traffic from Bizonia must pass through the Russian occupation zone to get to Berlin, and they are going to use road blockades, train inspections, and so on, to impede and delay them, starting as of 1 April. The Economist thinks that something should be done to show "firmness," but insists that the Russians have a perfect right to do what they are doing. I think that means that it means that "something" can't be war, since this won't be an act of war. So, firmly but non-violently pushing through the blockades? I'm not sure that this has been thought through, although in general this issue of The Economist is a much more clearly thought through than most. I wonder if perhaps Mr. Crowther is stuck in a Russian roadblock? 
The Airlift is on, but no-one has noticed it yet. Even Flight, which is strange. 

"Quota or Queue for Marshall Aid?" One of those organisational bits conjuring up possible problems that might arise, allocating Marshall Aid amongst the sixteen and describing the kind of organisation that might be needed. 

"Towards Customs Union" Speaking of which, if the Sixteen is organising itself to distribute Marshall Aid, perhaps the next step is the Customs Union that the Americans are so keen on. 

"The Monopoly Bill" Britain is to have a law that will function like American antitrust legislation. Thisis the first blast of The Economist's coverage. I should say now, anticipating longer articles later, that the coverage has been very Crowther-like, and I apologise if I'm blaming the wrong writers. But, what I mean is, lapidary (if you can use that word for awkward The Economist prose) criticism of everything that the Government is doing, without any explanation of what the government is doing, wrapping up with the observation that monopolies are bad (terrible! Awful! Must be dealt with immediately!) but that everything that, specifically, has been proposed to be done about them is wrong. 

"Transport House Hedges" The Economist detects lack of backbone in Transport House's latest responses to the TUC's recent response to the wage stop policy. Next step, raises for trade unionists, inflation for everyone!
By Campaign leaflet of Charles Maxton 1918 - Cropped from File:Maxton-leaflet-1918.jpg, PD-US,

"RIP ILP?" The "ILP," if you don't follow British politics obsessively, is the Independent Labour Party, which is a faction in the Labour Party that is independent of the party hierarchy because it is better than everyone. Unfortunately, everyone has left it or died thirty years ago or become a girl, so who cares, time to bury it, although maybe it can come back from the dead later.

Nothing can possibly go wrong!
"Communists in the Civil Service" Many people have strong opinons about the Government's move to remove Communists and Fascists from the Civil Service. People are talking about "purges" and "witch hunts," but the report of the Canadian Royal Commission and the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia shows that it is a real problem, and The Economist strongly approves of the Government putting in a review board of three retired civil servants, and points out that the policy has been endorsed by two unions, including the Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union, and the Co-operative Party.

"About Spain" 188 members of the House of Representatives decided to vote on an amendment on the ERP that drops a specific exclusion of Spain from Marshall Aid. This has been interpreted around the world as an American invitation for Madrid to join the Sixteen in receiving some American money. The Economist agrees that this would be a terrible idea, and was a serious mistake, but does its best to reread everything to show that that is not what actually happened.

"For the Peace of Jerusalem" Jerusalem is cut off from Jewish-controlled areas that might be partitioned from Arab Palestine to form Jewish Palestine. The Haganah has been trying to keep a route open by reinforcing Kfar Etzion, a Jewish communal farm, which commands some high ground along the route. After a recent military debacle in which an Arab militia captured a convoy, with 16 dead and 45 wounded (all handed over to the British), the Jews are suddenly amenable to schemes in which Jerusalem is internationalised, or declared an open city, or given an American garrison --or, really, anything that will prevent the kind of horrifying humanitarian disaster that would result from a successful Arab siege. 

"No Change at Brigg" The crushing Labour defeat at North Croydon was not repeated at Brigg, although the Labour majority was cut from 8100 to 4600. More interestingly, at least for those who follow British politics, the other anomalous outcome in North Croydon, a voter turnout higher than in the General Election, was also continued. It Must Mean Something, The Economist announces, no doubt fumbling learnedly with its pipe as it speaks.

"Jobs for Juveniles" The new Employment and Training Bill considers the issue of young workers. What The Economist calls "blind alley occupations" have long been a problem for British youth, but "[Y]oung workers are now such rare and precious creatures" that the first draft of the Bill had some strange and probably obnoxious measures to fight them, involving dragging parents off to the employment exchanges for lectures on Jobs of the Future. The new draft sees that that was a terrible idea, and drops it. The Economist hopes that the exchanges will hire some good quality social workers to advise the young people who stop by, instead.

"Income Tax Reform" The Economist heard someone on the train talking about how the income tax could be fixed if only it were made flat, that is, if this silly idea that rich people should pay a larger portion of their income as tax, were got rid off. It finds this to be the most exciting idea ever, and hopes that someone mentions it to Mr. Stafford Cripps, who will certainly agree. Also, The Economist hopes that the next time it eavesdrops on this conversation, someone will explain how it will affect industrial taxation. (My fearless proposal is that industrial taxes will be reformed so that rich people  pay less.)

"Persia Again Under Pressure" Russia is putting pressure on Persia to be nicer to Russia, again. Persians don't care, being far more interested in economic reforms.

"Arab League Birthday" The Arab League is three today, and hasn't done very much, mainly because the Arab powers fight amongst themselves too much.

"Kingdoms of the Rich" The assassination of the old Imam of Yemen has led the Arab League to press for the recognition of his son as the new Imam, "so that no precedent should be set." In unrelated news, it looks like the quarrel between Syria and Ibn Saud over the Mediterranean oil pipeline, which Saud favours and Syria opposes, will abate if the plans to partition Palestine are "successfully buried." The real problem of the League remains that its government is done by rich people,. and they don't care enough about poor people to do anything to help them if it involves outdoor work, heavy lifting or cleaning windows.

"Africans in Industry" The problem in the mines and related industries in southern Africa is that white workers don't think that Africans should be allowed to do anything but menial labour, ever; while Africans think that they should be allowed to do all the highly-paid technical work, right now. The recent Dalgleish Commission of investigation has concluded that there is no reason that Natives couldn't do all this work (they're not a step between White Man and monkey, in other words), but that they couldn't possible do it now because of education and culture and all of that, and that it will take two generations of gradual change to overcome these cultural problems.

There's a bit on the annual conference of the British co-operative association that doesn't amount ot much, and two others on the Lucas Report, which was an investigation into the way that farm goods are distributed, once the Marketing Boards buy them. If the upshot is that, since the Government is the only authority allowed to buy farm goods, then the Government should also run restaurants and grocery stores, then that is very interesting. On the other  hand, the note is couched in The Economist-talk, and I'm about 99% sure that I am just reading things into it.

"Last Straw for the Teachers" Teachers are finding themselves overworked due to large classes, and are upset that they are supposed to provide school lunches, when every other kind of worker gets a lunch break. They're afraid that they will end up as tetchy as Sister Ursula by the end of the day, and think that the schools should hire someone to do the work, instead. The Economist thinks that school lunches are an excellent idea, since the children learn better on full stomachs and don't have to make long trips home and back. Perhaps a housewife or two could be found who wants to work a few hours at mid-day when their children are at school?

"Burma and the Foreigner" A General Strike in Rangoon shows that Burmese really, really do not like foreigners. The Economist sees their point. They think that the foreigners working in Burmese industry are parasites living off the "rent" provided by lumber, tin, oil, rice and wolfram. They are wrong, but the reason that they are too naive and ignorant to see how only foreigners have the skills to  make these industries work, is that they don't have those skills! No doubt the Communists who called the general strike would have to make their own compromises with the foreigners if they came to power in place of the Socialists.


"Middle East Programme Wanted" Doreen Warriner is an economist who worked with the Middle East Supply Centre in the war. Her Land and Poverty in the Middle East is clearly a very important book, and gets a full page treatment. As she points out, the Middle East has entered the postwar era with two great advantages, a positive sterling balance and the prospect of significant oil development. Against that, its domestic economy is agricultural, and based on peasant landholding. She points out that the Middle East has missed centuries worth of European development through mixed farming and crop rotations. Middle Eastern peasants do not plant root crops or clover; they rely on mostly rain-fed grain. This might be said to be the reason why they are behind the British, but since it is not clear whether or not the Middle Eastern climate would support British-style agriculture, the example to be looked to is, rather, American-style farming. However, not only is there no capital to buy American-style farm machinery, it is not clear that the social structure of Middle Eastern peasant society would support this kind of "balanced development." Not only is unclear whether peasant proprietors would be allowed to benefit from combine harvesters, it is not clear that their lenders and landlords wouldn't rather invest any capital that came their way in Europe and America. A vaguely delineated Euro-American initiative is proposed, instead.

Page over and we get to Cyril FallsWorld War II, the Goebbels Diaries, and a short notice about W. Stark's America: Ideal and Reality: The United States of 1774 in Contemporary European Philosophy. Falls was the Times of London's military correspondent, and is deemed to have had the best of all vantage points for observing the war, so that this is probably the best book about WWII, ever. The Goebbels Diaries shows that Goebbels was a terrible writer in private, but so completely cynical that he is very interesting on the inner workings of the Nazi regime. Stark's book is not very good. 

From The Economist of 1848

This week's feature is the magazine's manifesto on "The Fermentation of Europe." It thinks that things will go terribly in France, because they got rid of their king, and wonderfully in Italy and Germany, where everyone wants to form a national kingdom, which would be good. Meanwhile, in "England," the English are wonderful, so the paper has "no fear for England." Hold this in mind as we soldier through two weeks with The Economist.

American Survey

"Deficits for Defence?" If the United States boosts defence spending, the current surplus might give way to a deficit, and there wouldn't be room for the tax cut the GOP wants. It is also hard to imagine how remobilisation, in an economy already experiencing over-employment and boom, could be prevented from causing inflation without the return of price controls. On the other hand, it is possible that increased defence spending will counteract the business depression that seems to be developing, although in The Economist-talk, I'm not sure whether or not that's a good thing, because of inflation. It almost seems as though, given a choice between  higher interest rates (to counter inflation) and a boom, it will take higher interest rates, and a depression.

American Notes

"Retracing 'Scuttle and Run'" A few more details about what remobilisation would mean. Most importantly, the army would be raised from 542,000, which is 119,000 below authorised strength, to 750,000, allowing the formation of a 54,000 man "mobile striking force," probably through limited conscription rather than UMT, which is still not likely. The Economist cheekily points out that, if the mobile force had been available a few months ago, the Americans could have sent troops of their own to Palestine rather than complaining that the British were occupying it wrong.

"Last Hurdles for the Plan" Senator Vandenberg is hustling about Washington putting the final touches on a "reconciled" ERP. The Economist is pleasantly surprised that attempts to cut the Plan collapsed in the House, with very few GOP representatives willing to follow through with the talk in the press last month. (Remember Fortune and Henry Hazlitt coming out "Against"?) The "last hurdle" is Karl Mundt's attempt to attach an amendment forbidding any ERP aid to be associated with exports of any kind to Russia. This is popular thanks to revelations about American aircraft motors being exported to Russia, but unrealistic given that Russia is a convenient nearby source of food and fodder. 
"CEA on Inflation" Dr. Edwin Nourse, of the Council of Economic Advisors, thinks that adding a $4 billion arms schedule on top of a $6 billion foreign aid bill is going to give a very strong inflationary push. The Economist adds that, if the $5 billion tax cut goes ahead on top of this, the surplus will turn into a deficit, and the Government will have lost its strongest deflationary tool. On the other hand, the effects of this are being exaggerated, when the amount of Federal spending is compared with that of he war years. The business depression will probably have a stronger deflationary effect than anything a Federal surplus could achieve. Depending on Soviet reaction to the Italian election.

"Tide Against Truman" Truman's decision to abandon partition of Palestine is the lost straw for many Democrats, who are looking for alternatives. Including, The Economist says, MacArthur, I kid you not! This is all just, the magazine says, the "counsels of despair." A sitting President can have the nomination, if he wants it, and Truman does. Yes, the GOP managed to push out Johnson and Arthur, but that is not going to  happen without an alternative, and not even a Supreme Court Justice is likely to want to step into the middle of Negroes and white supremacy, Zionists and national interest.

The World Overseas

"Canadian-American Union" This month's Life contains a trial balloon promoting a Canadian-American customs union. Canadians are upset. A short summary is that Canada's problem isn't that there isn't enough trade with America due to customs barriers. Its problem is that, due to the shortage of US dollars overseas, it can't balance its positive trade balance with the sterling bloc with its trade deficit with America. It would be far better served by progress in Geneva on an international tariff agreement than by an agreement with America.

"End of the Polish Socialists" The Polish Socialist Party  has agreed that all good Socialists are actually Communists, and have decided to dissolve themselves accordingly. Clearly, France will be next, unless it isn't.

For some reason no fridge ads this month, so here's TV and
plastic, together at last. 
"Colonial Issues at Bogota" Guatemala has told its Latin American friends and neighbours that they want the British Honduras situation settled now, by force if necessary, and that it is the job of their Latin American comrades to get behind them. Chile and Argentina are thought to be in the same camp, due to their Antarctic claims. The sticking point is that Brazil and Venezuela aren't enthusiastic about being dragged into a crusade over European colonies in the Western Hemisphere, as they have the Guianas on their doorstep, and everything there is so quiet and peaceful, and who wants to interrupt that? I'm still a little baffled that anyone would take the idea of Chile, Argentina and Britasin fighting a war over Antarctica, but our diner has a freezer now, and the ice cream pail is so snug, nestled down there. Iceboxes aren't all bad!

"Entrepot of the Far East" Hong Kong is in the news for being a bit low and louche. For example, India is boycotting South Africa, so Indian gunny sacks are arriving in Hong Kong and being diverted to South Africa. For another, money meant for nobler purposes in China keeps sneaking out via Hong Kong. For still another, the Japanese liquidation of the Hong Kong banks, which led to occupation dollars being tendered to pay off debts, has been retroactively endorsed by the authorities with modifications and reservations, and some dirty work was done under the light of the moon that will now be allowed to pass quietly into history.

The Business World

"Controversy over Cotton" The lead story, and it is a very, very long one, is about the way that nationalised cotton procurement is making prices too high.

"Manpower Budget" Coming into 1948, it was expected that the labour force would drop slightly as a proportion of the total working population of 20,423,000. Instead, the actual labour force has increased from 18,674,000 to 19,187,000. This is because of foreign workers, more women, and people postponing retirement, and also lower than expected unemployment. In spite of this, none of the targets for the "undermanned" industries was achieved. The mines missed their recruiting target, needed to reach the end-target of 770,000, by 12,000. The fact that production targets were met means that either the target was too low, or the manpower target too high. Textile targets were also not met; meanwhile, the useless labour in distribution and other services continued to rise "at an alarming rate."

What is to be done? First, the fact that the Control of Employment Act has only led to 17 people being directed, suggests that it won't be applied with vigour. But the fact that there were only 4,055 men who might have been subjected to the order in April suggests that the whole "spivs and drones" fuss was an "utter waste of time." (Not going to say anything about The Economist articles. Not going to do that.) On the other hand, the indirect approach of withholding supplies such as steel may be having an effect, judging from trends in the building industry. Looking forward, the chances of hitting the mine labour target of 750,000 are remote, since this will required a net recruitment of 102,000 to make up for a wastage of 70,000. This would involve recruiting 25,000 juveniles, 30,000 displaced Europeans and Poles, 20,000 from other British sources, and 3000 Irish workers. Having got all these facts out of its system, The Economist then goes on to point out that it is irrelevant, because the real issue is increasing the number of workers on the face, and reducing the number wasted on haulage and surface works, and that, similarly, the need for 68,000 more in textiles and 55,000 in agriculture is irrelevant (especially given that unemployment might rise to 450,000 by the end of the year) compared with the greater need for more productivity.

Business Notes

"Tightness in Electricity Stocks" This is a stock market story, and I can't be bothered to make head or tail of it. 

"The Fiscal Year" This is the article with the facts in it. Despite very large supplementary estimates bringing the global estimate up to £3444 millions, the final ordinary expenditure was £3187 million, only £6 million more than the original estimates, largely due to savings on interest payments on the national debt (only £4 million more than last year's £503 million) , although Defence comes in for a savings of £45 million.  And that's taking into account the decision to book £100 million in purchases of Argentinian meat in advance. The extraordinary "unconvenanted surplus" is therefore due to buoyant revenues. Roughly a third comes from "abnormal or even nominal sources" such as sale of war surplus and late payments of the now-defunct Excess Profits Tax. The rest is due to better-than-expected income tax, Death Duties and motor vehicle duties, with customs revenue disappointing. 

Two more stock markets stories follow, and one comes after the next story.

"Merchant Fleets of the World" Lloyd's Register of Shipping has resumed its statistical appendix. Some of the data is not good. It hasn't caught up with the sinking of the Japanese merchant fleet, and it doesn't separate out the American tonnage on barebones charter to British owners, or the American Reserve fleet, much of which is really the American scrap iron reserve, as Uncle George points out. On the other hand, it points out that turbine-powered shipping has reached more than 20 million tons, while the motor ship fleet has increased less than might have been expected, to only 17.1 million tons from 16.9 million in 1948, but that the proportion of coal-burning ships has fallen from 44.67% in 1939 to 26.20%. Fascinating!

Sorry about the image quality. Point is, it's food and tobacco, not machinery.
"Deterioration in the Terms of Trade" Hopes that the terms of trade would turn in Britain's favour have so far been disappointed, as import prices rose by 4 1/2% in January and February while exporrt prices remained unchanged. Over the whole of 1947, import prices rose by 18%, export prices by 15%. Raw materials saw the biggest rise, but food, drink and tobacco prices saw continuing increases to 13% over a year ago, while manufactures were 28% higher. Export prices of food declined, but prices of manufactured exports more than made good the loss, while textile export prices increased, and so did metal goods. The Minister hopes that things will, finally, turn around soon. The Economist is skeptical.

Flight, 8 April 1948


"The Air Transport Business" Robert Carling has pointed out that air transport is a very expensive business, no matter how we blind ourselves to the fact, and this elicited a very interesting letter from a correspondent who thinks that if air transport needs subsidising, it would be better to spend the money on surface transport, growing food, building houses and such. Flight disagrees, pointing out that air transport is the way things are done now, but as far as the letter goes, it is perfectly right when it says that the industry should be focussed on safety rather than faster, larger airliners with cocktail bars and cinemas. Flight points out that this is hard, because the rest of the world won't listen to Britain when it explains how to be safe in the air.

"The Other Flying" Another correspondent thinks that there should be stricter enforcement of flying regulations, because showoffs keep crashing. Three incidents involving six people is rather a lot in proportion to the number of private pilots in the country, and the summer is just approaching now. Clubs, our correspondent says, and Flight agrees, should also be doing a better job about this. 

"Flying Boat Operations" BOAC clearly doesn't want to continue flying boat operations, and the Government may be planning to scrap the SR/45s, although I'm not clear how you can scrap something that hasn't even been built yet. Flight is disappointed and hopes that BSAA, which is "not anti-flying boat," takes over, and adopts the SR/45s, and flies them on the North Atlantic as well as South Atlantic routes, if it takes over Atlantic flying from BOAC, which would be nice. (So that's where Bennett was going!) Flight goes on to remind us that BSAA was originally formed by some shipping interests, and, well, ships, boats, flying boats, it is all an intricate weave of things that go on water. Personally, and knowing some shipping people whose motives are noever as clear as they seem, I'm inclined to ask Uncle George what he knows.

As opposed to Llandow.

"Interceptors: With the Meteor IVs at Horsham St. Faith" Even though the first Meteor IV set a speed record way back in 1945, these are among the first F4s in RAF service. Speaking of RAF service, Flight went up to Horsham St. Faith in the Avro York that was sent to Australia for the Governor General's use. It's now back in Britain in RAF service, so I guess it didn't take to Australia.

Here and There

Wright's is very impressed with its new XJ-37 "turboramjet," which is an axial turbojet with small frontal area and "thrust augmentation by afterburning," which, I'm told, is injecting burning fuel into the exhaust stream to get a bit more boost. By the way, it turns out that this is the former Lockheed L-4000, later Lockheed-Menasco L-4000. Professor Arthur Collar gave a speech in Melbourne the other day in which he predicted that British jets would be fully commercialised within five years, and that America and Britain are still sharing aeronautical research, but the Russians have stopped. A plane of the King's Flight has gone off to Australia and New Zealand to inspect airfields ahead of the royal tour next year. Milton Reynolds has ended his exploration of the Himalayas after his plane ran into a ditch. The government of Hong Kong is spending £250,000 on a new airport next year, which is only the beginning. The Afghan Air Force has bought 12 Ansons and six spare engines. The construction of three Colossus-class aircraft carriers and a cruiser currently under construction will be suspended indefinitely. Lord Portal, who was recently appointed Controller of Production, Atomic Energy, at the Ministry of Supply, has asked to be relieved of duties, but has agreed to continue on part-time for another year. 

Civil Aviation News

ICAO is discussing a licensing system whereby older pilots can "command" airliners without meeting the health requirements for being an actual pilot, because right now too many of them retire at 45, and it is hard to replace them. American aircraft manufacturers are upset that the dollar shortage makes it impossible to compete with British and Swedish producers overseas. The French are working on a jet airliner. The first Alitalia Rome-London flight, using a Savoia-Marchetti 95, was ridiculously slow and old-fashioned, but, what the heck, it's business for Northolt. Various freight and passenger numbers are up, and, to celebrate, IATA us raising the price of a one-way New York-London ticket by $25 to $350. 

"Athena Advanced Trainer" A standard Flight cutaway drawing shows the new Mamba-powered Avro trainer. An article discusses the design at somewhat greater length. 

"The RAFVR: Some Changes Which Would Improve the Training Position" You know what would improve the RAFVR's recruiting? Better hats!

"Tarmac Control: Systems Employed in Marshalling Aircraft at London Airports" Before Uncle George can get all excited at the thought of radio signals automatically opening and closing gates to make flags pop and lights shine, I have to report that this is about batsmen waving paddles. Although some of the paddles are illuminated, so progress marches on! 

"Speed Recording: New American System for the Precise Measurement of Speed by Radio" Big deal, your son says, as he describes how this can be done. Wrong! I say. Yes, well, he replies, my method could work, and the one that's described here also works, and that just proves that it is no big deal compared with measuring speed by radar, which would be hard! Then we talk about a honeymoon in Japan instead of making radars that can measure plane speeds. 

--Oh! And there's an article! If  you were wondering, it's not all radio. Cameras are involved, too, not at all like the system that Reggie sketched for me. 

"The Nord 1700 Norelic" This French helicopter you've never heard of, has some unusual features, such as an auxiliary rotor and a tail rotor set transversely to get more propulsion and counteract torque. 

"American Aircraft Gas Turbines" Aviation Week points out that the reason that American jet engines are behind is that the big manufacturers focussed on internal combustion engines in the war, and that Wright and Pratt and Whitney are now coming on strong, with Allison, GE and Westinghouse also in the race, because they were free to develop their own jet engines, or license British ones, which is mainly what they did. You know all that, and you also know that American lexicographers would prefer that we talked about :"turbojets," "turboprops" and "turboramjets," rather than whatever mouthful of words the British prefer to use just to show that they are not vulgar Americans. 

From All Quarters

No, I have no idea why this feature comes and goes, or why short articles about a ball for ex-Pathfinders, the first run of the Avro Chinook, and the obituary of Captain Thomas Elliot Lang, of Airspeed, belong here rather than under Here and There. 


J. B. Matheson is the author of the letter about "flying" being a "dangerous and extravagant luxury." Conversely, David G. Thorpe, of Tunbridge Wells, thinks that if only British industry were "unshackled," it could turn out worldbeaters, like the Tudor, which is a world beater, but unfairly maligned. Are "shackles" the same thing as "fair criticism"? G. Clifton reminds clubs to spank the wrists of pilots found flying inverted ten feet off the deck with three screaming girls stuffed into the back seat. "A Bird in A Cage" has concerns about how the RAFVR is being run, related to the possibilities of wearing a hat in Barrow. 

"Radar gear." Sometimes, the future gets lost in the clutter. 

The Economist, 10 April 1948


"Unsordid Act" The passage of the European Relief Act would be enormous news if it weren't for months and months of build-up that leave nothing unsaid; but you can't ignore it, so here's some nothing.

"Courage within Limits" The Economist is very pleased that the Chancellor left the projected surplus in next year's budget alone, because inflation. It also liked the way that this year's Statement puts back all the statistical stuff that the last Chancellor left out, because, first of all, it's good; And, second of all, oh, how The Economist hates Hugh Dalton. The "limits" part comes in when it complains that Cripps didn't fiddle with taxation, and the back half of the leading article is devoted to the investment income surtax levied on the rich, of 147 1/2% (29s 6d on the £, levied in lieu of a capital levy, which the Chancellor deems impractical. An individual with a pure investment income of £50,000 would owe £67,000 this year.  The Economist is torn, because something like a capital levy is pretty much essential if inflation is to be halted, and it hates inflation, but it also hates this surtax. Finally, it comes around to pointing out that this sort of thing discourages investment, because the surtax will take away the fruits of your investment. Of course, it won't actually, since the surtax is a one-time thing, and only applies to consumption income, but (mumble mumble) it can and will! Also, progressive taxation has the same effect. 

"Atomic Bombs for Two?" Andrei Gromyko has rejected the last, best hope for international control of things atomic, which would seem to mean that we are moving into a world in which both the superpowers have atomic bombs. But if you think that's what this leader is about, you're wrong! It's about how, if Britain and America have atomic bombs under international control, the Russians will see that the control regime is a good thing, and come in, too. Except that The Economist doesn't want to, or, who knows, can't say that Britain wants, ever wants, will want, has had, might have, or will have atomic bombs, so it's all very strange and indirect.

"Offensive Against Monopoly" As I mentioned last week's issue, The Economist approves of anti-monopoly legislation in principle but doesn't like this one.

Notes of the Week

"Tragedy at Gatow" "Thus, the Russians have succeeded in creating the one situation in which at any price the Western Allies will remain in Berlin. Was this the aim of their diplomacy?" Word to the wise. 

Despite the numbers, the Yak-3 was the later plane and replaced the Yak-9.

Brian  Robertson. Check out the biography if your idea of a British officer is a Sandhurst-trained regimental officer who comes up through combat commands. By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use,
"Robertson at Dusseldorf" General Sir Brian Robertson gave a "revolutionary" speech in Dusseldorf in which he called on western Germans to accept that the division of Germany was permanent, and to get on with creating a western German sort-of-state as part of the western alliance.

"Chartist Centenary" One hundred years ago today, the great Chartist rally that was to assemble on Kensington Common and march on the House of Commons didn't happen. So the story is all in the precautions, which included the Duke of Wellington being put in charge of a small army to stop it, and the "the whole of the gentry" being enrolled as "special constables." Unfortunately, says The Economist, "only" 50,000 turned out,  and their leaders decided not to march, after all, and you can't have a class war if the poor decline to fight.

"Mr. Bevan Ends the Deadlock" Bevan has intervened to impose a compromise solution on doctors and the National Health Service. 

"Housing Slump" There has been an abrupt fall in building activity. It has actually been going on for months, but has been disguised by the end of the subsidy on non-traditional homes, which caused builders to accelerate those, and by the Government's talk about 350,000 houses, and its suggestion that only the shortage of timber was holding it back. Now, it appears that the capital cuts have had their effect. Ordinarily, this would be a dire sign, but with the economy in full employment, The Economist is mainly worried that construction labour won't be shifted out of the building sector. 

"The Finns Pull it Off" Relief for those worried about World War III: the Russian-Finnish treaty was fair and mild, and "there is a good chance that the general election sin July will be fair and free," and that, if so, the Communists will lose heavily, and that the Soviet government is reconciled to this. Presumably, the Russians didn't see the need to fight over Finland. 

"British Honour in Germany" Lieutenant Richard Langham has been acquitted of torturing confessions out of SS prsioners at Bad Nenndorf. Given that Bad Nenndorf sounds like an awful place, the acquittal might seem disappointing, and "some" say that it should all be swept under the rug, but The Economist digs up a German newspaper article to the effect that there wouldn't have been a trial at all under Hitler, so honour is saved.

"The Next InstallmentThe Fabian Society has published a draft proposal for a platform for the next Labour government. The Economist thinks that it is silly and impractical.

"Back to Basic"  The common petrol ration is back, as the "Basic" ration. The Government says that it is because of the smashing success of its attack on the black market, but The Economist says that it is all politics. 

I'm going to round up a page of notes, just for a change. There is a strike on in the British automobile industry, and it has gone to arbitration. There is talk that the Uno will organise an occupation force to impose peace in Palestine, and people are also saying that the Americans might want the British to stay after 15 May., Fat chance of that, The Economist says. Not only is the momentum of withdrawal irreversible, but the people of Palestine cannot be saved from themselves, anyway, so good luck to them, it says, with an eye to the latest Irgun atrocity. In Austria, the Russians have made some concessions on oil revenue and reparations, making a settlement more likely. The war in China is going badly for the Koumintang, as the Communists increasingly move from guerrilla warfare to conventional operations. Government troops are hampered by their "immobility" (they can't march, Uncle George says, because marching is too much like work), and by the hostility of the peasants. (He just rolls his eyes.) The Americans have decided to fix this by bypassing the Koumintang and providing "rural rehabilitation funds" directly through an informal organisation of Americans and Chinese. "The Americans have undoubtedly discovered the most effective and least costly method of fighting Communism in China." I can't tell if that's serious.

"Cooperation in East Africa" With just the right administrative organisation, the future of all the races of British East Africa is bright.  

"These Avaricious Hordes. . . " The public schools (or whatever they call them in Britain) are now aiming to have classes of 40 in the primary schools and 30 in the higher grades. This seems a bit much, and The Economist spends the middle of the story in a pleasant battle with the experts who think that the ratio is the wrong way round, before coming to the point, which is that there are not enough women teachers for the infant classes, and there are too many children, due to the rise in the birth rate, which is just coming on. the Ministry is experimenting with rationing women teachers between schools, although the fact that even women teachers prefer to teach higher grades is a problem. Other districts are experimenting with male teachers even in the lowest grades, and the qote comes from a speaker at the National Association of Schoolmasters' meeting last week-end, to the effect that "These avaricious hordes of women have already staked their claim on our field, and the sooner they are smoked out of that field, the better it will be for the boys of the country." The Economist thinks that that is what's wrong with the "closed shop." Although if it thinks that the solution to too few teachers is the end of the closed shop, well, that's what you'd expect The Economist to say.

American Survey

"The Beacon is Lighted" and "Taxation of Cooperatives" The two long articles in American Survey are both a big waste of time. The former is yet another punch-drunk summary of the passage of the ERA through the Congress, with many heroes taking a bow. Conscious of the fact that there need to be words that aren't just repeating earlier words, the article ends with some thumb-sucking about how ERA relief can't be just relief, that it must provide for getting Europe back on its feet, etc. etc. The article about taxing cooperatives discusses some court rulings in Colorado on the question of just what kind of tax relief cooperatives deserve compared with businesses.

American Notes

"Waterloo in Wisconsin" The Republican primary in Wisconsin has popped the MacArthur balloon and damaged Dewey due to Stassen's overwhelming victory. Next up, Nebraska, which will be a truer test, since Taft, Warren and Vandenberg are all on the ballot.

"National Mobilisation for Peace?" You know all of the issues: The aviation industry wants and needs big appropriations. The Russians are about to run amok in all directions; on the other hand, spending one more dollar on guns must lead to people taking wheelbarrows of money to buy a loaf of bread. Mr. Baruch therefore proposes a plan to prepare the economy for mobilisation, rather than shifting to more armaments before events warrant. You may know this, but it all needs to be repeated, or a story about the President hinting that a major defence appropriation request is coming, would be a one sentence story about a rumour, and The Economist can't have that! A separate story, but germane, accepts reality because it has happened. Yes, the GOP put together a veto-proof majority in favour of tax cuts. Does that mean that there will be tax cuts, or will the party of fiscal probity listen to the warnings? Answer: It will not. The tax cuts are on.

"A Federal Minimum for Education" Taft's bill to equalise educational opportunitites between the states by distributing $300 million in Federal aid has passed the Senate. The bulk of the spending will go to the South, where Mississippi spends $25 per child on education ($52 for white children, $7 for Negro), compared with New York's $234. Thanks to carefully spelling out that there will be no Federal control to go with Federal money, this bill satisfies the states, but language requiring that the money be spent "fairly" is deemed sufficient to protect Negro students in the South, who will, in fact, experience something of a revolution, given how little is being spent on them now.

(In case you've ever wondered where the "Abolish the Department of Education" shibboleth got its start, $7/year per Negro student isn't a bug. It's a feature.)


Raymond Blackburn writes to say that he thinks that there should be a conference of the Big Three just as soon as the British and Americans are done standing up to Stalin, so that they can sort out the issues. D. Allhusen is convinced that a mass movement of people in the political middle could sweep to something close to power on the strength of two million votes if it were only properly organised.

From The Economist of 1848 The Economist has been reading about France in the Times, and thinks that those silly and excitable French might be coming around to good sense, as represented by M. Bastiat and the "freedom of industry," and away from bad ideas about levelling and the "organisation of labour," as exemplified by Louis Blanc, who is awful.


Arthur Slater has written a book about Personality in Politics," which is either a look at how personalities matter, or an excuse to tell stories about politicians he has known. I'd say the latter, because he has short essays about Wells and Keynes at the back, and both of those men would have explained to him that it is possible that personalities don't matter. Speaking of, Halevy's last book, The Age of Peel and Cobden is out, for those who want a more serious mind on political history. The Economist is sad as at least one of my profs about Halevy's early death.

The World Overseas

"France Leaves the Doldrums" France hasn't exploded. The Gaullists haven't taken over, the Communists haven't either, and the Socialists haven't disappeared, even though they are out of power. Some prices are down, and industrial output is up. The sky won't fall today. Maybe after the end of the spring recess of the Assembly? Something to look forward to if the Italian election doesn't end the world first! A note of equal length explains that Denmark has, in fact, a foreign policy. They're anti-Russian. Who would have thought? And, just as Denmark has foreign affairs, so South Africa has politics! Or so the title assures me. (Okay, okay, "South African Politics.") As to what that is, the Afrikaner Party is anti-British, anti-labour, and anti-Colour. The Labour party is pro-Labour, pro-(White) poor, vaguely pro-Coloured, as long as the current 8-1 difference in Coloured and White wages is kept up; and Smut's United want a coherent Native policy and think that the foreigners will eventually force one on South Africa, which is why they're talking about calling an election they're likely to lose. 

"Chaos in China" The United Kingdom Trade Mission has been to China to find out what is going on for itself. They have concluded that the country is in a state of "economic chaos" that "makes nonsense of any talk of an early recovery." Corruption, inflation and disorganisation plague the land; but the Trade Commission points out that the industry of the Chinese people and the wealth of its land would make for unlimited opportunity, with no need for competition between Britain and America, if the civil war could only be brought to an end.

The Business World

"The Budget Analysed" The Economist points out that it still hates Hugh Dalton, who was responsible for overstating the budget surplus at £636 million instead of the real figure of £338 million, and that hte sam mistake carries through next year, and in fact by moving numbers here and there you can get it down to a deficit of £14 million. 

Hmm. But this is good news, as far as The Economist is concerned, because bygones are bygones, and if the true figure is a deficit of £14 million, then generating a surplus of £300 million next year, necessary to contain inflation, will require huge economies, and this magazine loves economies! Cripps has raised the minimum income for the standard income tax rate from £50/year to £200, which means that most wage earners won't see the standard rate. This will cost £50 million per year., plus another tax loss of £40 million by a small reduction in the earned income relief. Balancing this, beer and liquor duties are up, as is the football pools tax, and the purchase tax, which applies to various goods at various rates and is very confusing.  

"The National Income" The White Paper on the National Income is "heavy going," The Economist concedes, and that is why it is going to explain it to us, so that we can really understand the budget. The Gross National Product, plus borrowing from abroad and the sale of assets to foreigners, forms the national income.

Due to inflation and this and that, it is unlikely that Britain's actual product increased by anywhere near as much as the figure shown. Probably, the increase was more on the order of 1%, but this is still far better than was hoped a year ago! The country is earning more and spending more, often to less effect due to rising prices, but also sometimes so that it can consume far more. (Electricity prices are down 13%, consumption up 132%.) Unfortunately, the White Paper has no way of estimating savings accurately, which means that this data can't be used to figure out inflation, which his hard to measure with all of the price controls.

Business Notes

"Budget Reactions" The City was pleased with all the inflation fighting, but upset about the Special Contribution. This can be deduced by the fact that some stocks are up, while others are down. I wonder if even the most crackpot Jungian would get away with this as a diagnosis of a patient! Three more stock market stories lead into the Cotton Board's report on the Musgrave Mill Experiment, in which mill labour was redeployed according to a new scheme, resulting in greatly improved productivity, although not as much of a gain in profits due to increased wages being paid to some. There are quite a few details that will be interesting to anyone who knows how many cards tenters were responsible before under the old and new system. Operatives are fine with it, however, so there's that.

"Offshore Purchases" The first note, which is about an effort to help Canada with its sterling balance leads off two notes on a similar theme, the first being British studios making plans to increase their output under the new scheme, and American plans to make full use of it, and a question now raised over whether Germany can actually afford to send over the amount of scrap that British iron and steel production plans call for. (British steel makers think they can, because Germany has a lot of scrap.) This comes in connection with a polemic from the British Iron and Steel Federation, which is very upset at being labelled "the worst bottleneck," as, in fact, it is only a "bottleneck" because it is not producing even more steel than it actually is. That number is well up from prewar, while textile targets are below prewar, and while the automobile industry's targets are up 199%, they use steel. So, yes, there are real bottlenecks, ,for example of roller bearings, but even that is because the coal mines need so many for all of their new conveyor belts. 

Notes explaining that the National Union of Mineworkers have voted for another four months of mandatory overtime, and that the Index of Production is comfortably up, draw my eyes through four more "financial notes". (Cunard is doing well, for a financial we care about.)

Flight, 15 April 1948


"More State Competition" Flight is upset that the British airlines training school at Aldermaston is going to start training ground crew in competition with Air Service Training and other schools.

"First Turbo-jet Transport" The Nene-powered Viking isn't actually a jet transport, because it won't transport anyone, being a test prototype and all. Nevertheless, Britain has the first turbo-jet transport, so neener-neener, America! It's also too bad that we decided not to go ahead with the Vickers Viscount.

"The Cost of the Giants" The ongoing cost of the Brabazon is up from an estimated £3 million to £4,160,000, and of the associated airfield to £5,220,500, while the Saunders Roe flying boat is now expected to cost £5 million for the three.  

"White Waltham at Work" White Waltham airfield is where Fairey assembles the aircraft made at their Hayes plant in Middlesex, so that they can be flown to Heston, where they are painted, and radomes are installed. On the other hand, gyro gunsights are installed at White Waltham, and the article makes a fuss about the "hydro-booster" controls, so I think they're done up at White Waltham, but Flight isn't allowed to see it. Gyrodyne flying is done at Heston, among other things that are done at Heston, which are described at length, because why should an article be about what its title says it is about? Other things are done at Fairey Avions at Gosselies in Belgium, because once you've unhitched from your title, you can go anywhere, and who doesn't want to see Belgium? Fairey might or might not have a relationship with Air Survey Corporation, because the last paragraph of the article is about Group Captain McBratney, who is charge of flying for Air Survey, and also Air Survey's projects in India and Canada. On the other hand, Air Survey might have nothing to do with Fairey, and this might be bad typography.

"Tail-less Triumph: Mr. John Derry, in DH108, Raises 100-km Closed-circuit REcord to 605.23mph" It's not completely fair to say that this is only news because it is a British plane, but nearly. 

Out of respect for Derry's accomplishment, the DH108 is going to wait 'till September to kill him..

Here and There

Hawker test pilot, E. S. Morrell, is congratulated for saving his Tempest after it parted ways with its airscrew and reduction gearing in mid flight. He made a belly landing back at Langley, "some thousand pounds lighter, distinctly tail'heavy, but still controllable." A thousand pounds! Oliver Lucas, managing director of Joseph Lucas, has died. Mr. W. J. Hooper, of Pilot Officer Prune, has a new job doing cartoons about "Davy Lump" for Coal. Tasman Airlines has fixed their overheating Pratt and Whitneys. The BBC is going to do a nice radio show about how Frank Whittle invented jet propulsion. BOAC Constellation Baltimore recently landed at London Airport, marking the 1000th Atlantic crossing by (BOAC?) Constellations, and the 3,843rd BOAC crossing. The captain of the Baltimore has made 250 Atlantic crossings!

Civil Aviation News

The lead articles feature a meeting of members of international pilots' associations, who are forming a permanent international association to advise ICAO on piloting matters, and a summary of recent airlines statistics that show that more people and freight are flying more places than ever. A BEAC Viking flying out of Berlin collided with a Russian Yak on 5 April, killing the Russian pilot (who may have been a trainee), and the five crew of the Viking. (Also, ten passengers,but who cares about them?) South Africa is to spend a million pounds on radio aids for its airports. Delos Wilson Rentrel has been nominated to be the next head of the CAA. Admiral Towers has been elected to the board of Pan American, so perhaps he will be too busy assistant vice-presidenting to backbite his former colleagues. The first Solent has arrived in Belfast, coincident with the last Solent delivered to BOAC from the now-closing Short works at Rochester. Future Solents, if any, will be built at Belfast, and Flight is enthusiastic about their possibilities, as the South African press was kind, which surely presages the immediate worldwide revival of the flying boat airliner, as all the airlines will immediately realise their error  once confronted with the opinions of the South African daily press. 

"Airscrew Testing: Between Drawing Board and Flight Test Lies a Long Period of Searching Trial"It takes easily 500 words for Flight to get to the point, which is a list of test designs, beginning with stress tests of roots and continuing through rig spinning of the hub, distortion tests of the piston and cylinder assembly, de-icing equipment tests, spinner spinning, governor bench runs,  blade pitch and flutter tests in spinning rigs, and strain gauging tests. I omit various routine strength tests, and the details of handoffs between Rotol and Farnborough, as one place does one test, and the other does others. 

Foreign Service Intelligence

Belgium has an air force. The XB-36 had a proving flight from Muroc to Las Vegas, and was quite fast. Not to be outdone, the YB-39 may make a Washington-Los Angeles run. The Northrop Pioneer has been adopted by the USAF as the "Raider," in spite of the prototype crashing. It will be used as an "assault transport," as its large, full-flap Northrop ailerons, previously used in the P-61, will be handy for small field landings. The French will probably buy Meteors while continuing to work on indigenous jet fighters and also bombers. The national industry has a dizzying number of jet fighter designs, prototypes and near-prototypes, mostly powered by license-built Nenes. 

"Airways Training: The Establishment at Aldermaston Formed by BOAC and BEAC for the Training of Air Crews and Ground Staff and Which has now been Made Available to Other Operators" The title is very much the article, although there is an interesting list of tuition charges for various courses. So even if the training is being made available to operators, money is being made by charging young men to learn to fly. Reggie thinks that this is a bit predatory, and compares it to all of the radio technician correspondence schools that advertise in Radio News. Only this time it is the government-owned airlines involved, and they wouldn't be so unscrupulous, would they?

Sir Alan Cobham, "North Atlantic Refuelling Trials: An Answer to Two Queries" I'm not 100% sure what the two queries were, but the article boils down to arguing back against critics who say that flight refuelling is a dangerous, and exposing airline passengers to unnecessary danger is bad buisness; and people who think that the weather is too bad for refuelling over the North Atlantic, especially in the winter, when it is  most needed, because the day is so short. I'm not really convinced that Cogham deals with these objections very well. 

Aviation pioneer Harold Perrin has died, as has Captain Frank Searle[unfortunately not]

"The SG Mark VI-D Helicopter: A Result of Collaboration Between America and Canada" This is the Sznycer/Gottlieb helicopter again. They are understandably proud of having done all the design and stress work, and there is  flying prototype, and funding from a company called Intercity Airlift, of Montreal, which has a very long list of directors, and so must be a going concern. That probably sounds like me being sarcastic, and, well, I am. In my defence, I am echoing you talking about the Vancouver Stock Exchange! I'm not just being dismissive because I don't want to summarise the technical details of a plane that isn't going anywhere. This article actually doesn't have any technical details. 

"Combined Exercises" The Royal Navy and RAF are undertaking large-scale exercises even as Flight writes. Eight Fleet Air Arm and an unknown number of RAF squadrons will take part.

It looks like nothing came of Masefield's adventure.
"Circuit of the Earth Record Attempt: New Zealand Pilot Plans to Fly 26,000 Miles in 11 1/2 days in a Proctor"[?] Captain A. A. Masefield plans to set out  5 April and fly the FAI-approved route, with stops in London, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Karachi. He is hoping to set a few point-to-point records on the way. He will spend only 6 hours out of 24 on the ground. The longest over-water portion will be 1196 miles between Attu in the Aleutians and Tokyo, Japan. 


J. L. Mitchell points out that a caption that describes an airborne pressure cell as having been used by the Prime Minister is incorrect. The pressure cell was built for the Prime Minister's York, but was not installed, because it would have taken too much fitting, It finally went into a Ministry of Civil Aviation Skymaster that was never used by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister made his wartime flights, including a 13,000ft cruise to Teheran. Leslie Crawford is upset at the way that the Ministry of Civil Aviation gives too much paper work to Ground Engineers. Anthony Miles thinks that the state airlines has too many kinds of planes. 


"The Dollar Standard: It is Based on on the Idea That Money is on the Side of Freedom" We live in an age of rediscovery, Fortune tells us. Specifically, we are rediscovering that money matters. In the old days, money was "a store of value," and a "means of exchange," but the old days were days of free markets and the gold standard. People earned money and used that money to bid for goods, and the bids told producers what to produce. Government's job was to mind money and nothing else.

Well, so far so good. The shadow of planning is darkening the pleasant dell, with just enough darkness to shadow the  notion of minding money. 

Then comes the terrible Depression, brought on by what, we do not yet know. Faced with disaster, Roosevelt goes off the gold standard by setting the price of gold wherever he wanted, by whim and whimsy. Around the world, the idea arose that money did not matter, that it could be released in any quantity wanted. To counter the possible result (INFLATION!), Hjalmar Schacht introduced  the dreaded planning, an obviously Nazi idea. In wartime, everyone planned, but as soon as the war ended, America's Treasury heroically set about to restore a surplus, which did more to fight inflation than all the planning in the world. But, meanwhile, the rest of the world was so ruined that America was forced to export $20 billion dollars of relief, including Marshall Aid that hasn't been spent yet. And yet all of this will be futile if the Europeans do not set their currencies aright. It is pointless to say that a pound is worth 4 dollars when you cannot buy dollars with pounds! Notice the shadow of planning, ever darkening?

In case you're interested in the intellectual history of it all, while the article sedulously avoids the dreaded name of Keynes, it does take an extended swipe at an un-named Hansen, consigning "stagnationism" to the dustbin of history. Oops.

In America, the GOP asked for tax cuts while the economy grew, then faltered when commodity prices broke. This is "countercyclical," and bad. In a well-managed economy, a central bank like the Federal Reserve takes charge of such things, and arranges for the interest rate to rise when the boom sets the economy awash with money. There is nothing sacred about 2 1/2%, and in an ideal world, the national debt would be in long term bonds, free to rise and fall like the old time British consol. But it was not, and in 1947, the economy had far too much weight for the Federal Reserve to steer. Too much easy money! 

And of all the things that was done with money, investment in capital goods was the most dangerous, because they do not come into fruition for many years, and investment is the driver of the economy. Too much investment creates booms, and too little investment causes depressions. And when does the level of investment change? When sentiment changes at Wall Street. (It's all quite mysterious, and I assume that the lesson is that you should never spook Wall Street.) Meanwhile, our trading partners have all gone to planning, and they are all experiencing inflation, sometimes, however, hidden inflation as in Britain. This has deranged the Bretton Woods system and made Marshall Aid necessary, although America's reluctance to back the IMF was a factor, too. We're not blameless. Anyway, without a sound dollar, there would not be that miraculously efficient technological society that is America, and the Communists would win. 

So, there you go. Money is important again.

The Fortune Survey
This is not one of the more useful surveys, since it focussed on inflation just before the commodity price break, but it does show increasing anxiety about the state of the economy. Which it should, considering how much magazines like Fortune are talking up the coming business depression!

"The Fortune Consumer Outlook" 

People are worried about inflation, which is making it harder to make ends meet. They are less concerned about income, which is increasing for most. There are interesting differences between regions (go West, young man!), race (don't be a Negro, young man!), education (stay in school, young man!) and employment. That last one, I want to parse for a moment, because Fortunes interpretation is that white-collar, supervisory workers are doing best, with 35% reporting that their income has gone up in the last year. What Reggie is going to hotly demand of me is information about their background. That is, did they graduate from a good high school, go to the Ivy Leagues, hold a commission in the war; what is their parents' address. Then he will nod, knowingly, at the news that Fortune doesn't report these things. 

Americans can't be doing that badly. They clearly don't care about their food budget, for example. I have a feeling that the numbers might be different if you asked their wives!

Books and Ideas

The lead review is Kurt Bloch on R. G. Hawtrey's The Gold Standard in Theory and Practice a twenty year old book that is more popular than ever, in a new edition that carries Hawtrey's history of the gold standard through the end of the interwar period. Hawtrey explains that inflation is bad, but that the gold standard does not promote stability. Only credit regulation can do that. Bloch thinks that Hawtrey overestimates the contribution that central banks can make to stability, since they tend to "accentuate the fluctuations of the business cycle.  On the upswing of the cycle, they fail to curb overexpansion of credit soon enough; on the downswing, they relax credit restrictions too late." One reason for this is that money must be managed internationally, especially when it is on a gold standard. French gold purchases played their part in the Crash, for example. Bloch looks back at the American refusal to participate in the interwar efforts towards international monetary cooperation as a cause of interwar stability, and is pleased with the Bretton Woods system and the IMF, but upset that the IMF can only expand the money supply, not contract it. He also points out that the modern gold standard is actually a dollar standard, since the wealth-value of gold depends upon American monetary policy.  Next is a short essay on bank decor by James M. Fitch.  There follows an unsigned review of Harold GrovesTrouble Spots in Taxation, the book form of his Taft Memorial Fund Lecture. Groves' main trouble spot is the corporate income tax, which he deems to be double taxation of risk-taking capital, and local sales taxes, which hit the poor hard.  He is not sure whether curent income tax rates are a disincentive. We are all waiting for a Harvard study on taxation and incentives to settle the matter. The final long bit is a discussion of Representative Edith Rodgers' bill to change the design of American paper money into something more colourful, but there are in brief reviews of a number of useful books, of which the only ones I am going to mention are: Henrietta Larson's Materials for the Study of American Business History, since any woman making her way in academia needs all the notice she can get; and the Machinery and Allied Products Institute's Technological Stagnation in Great Britain, which blames technical obsolescence, backward re-equipment policies, management inertia, restrictive practices to exclude competition, labour resistance to technological change, and confiscatory taxation. 
Also, the leadership of American business is smart and sophisticated.

Fortune's Wheel

This issue's version of Fortune's Wheel is a synopsis of readers' responses, in lieu of a letter column. Lever Brothers really liked their feature. Many readers want offprints of the Executive Survey article. Most readers have no sympathy for the financially struggling $25,000-a-year families, although some do. Florida readers were upset at some criticisms of the state in that article. Most readers found the article on foreign cars to be fun and possibly nostalgic, although others wrote in to defend Detroit. 

I'm personally sorting out my feelings about the article about "$25,000 a year in AD 1948." My father is the equivalent of a $25,000/year man in 1848 (inflation!) --or  perhaps a little better, now that I think about my Jane Austen, since I would peg him as a bit richer than Mr. Darcy-- and I was brought up to want for nothing. Now, on the other hand, I want for everything, and at a waitress' earnings, even with tips, $25,000/year looks a long way away. I think I pinch my pennies, but then the girls just laugh at me for complaining about the cost of butter. Because there's something called "margarine," which I knew, but I never realised it applied to me!  I read about these families, and think about how free would be on $25,000/year --But has anyone told them about margarine, and how should I feel about those who haven't yet got the word?

"Inflation: The Fire That Rings the World" 
The world is afflicted with inflation. Examples include the high price of beans on the Paris grayish market, of chicken on the London black market, and an orphanage in Japan that let 165 infants die so that it could use their ration cards. The reason for inflation is the war, in which so much military equipment was produced and paid for in lieu of homes and clothes. Abroad, where the Allies bought their raw materials, Latin America and Africa have built up strong dollar and sterling balances,w hich have fuelled domestic money expansion that has run far ahead of domestic industry, for which imports cannot make up. Too much money chases too few goods, and an inflationary spiral results. The Dominions, where war did build up industry, have been less heavily afflicted. Colonial, occupied territories like the Philippines have to deal with the aftermath of an unscrupulous occupying authority's script. China and Greece, wretchedly poor countries where the war is still going on, have galloping inflation that can't possibly be explained. By the Luce press, anyway. Germany's inflation is because the mark is useless, and reminds everyone of the Weimar days, as just about everything does. Germany's economy is held in check, and industry waits for currency reform. A colourful story of a man who is hiding three fine lathes in his cellar, and is waiting until he can actually employ men at unfixed wages, selling products at unfixed prices, and so make a profit. IN the mean time, he cuts roots for firewood and sells off the rugs and pieces of furniture from his wife's flat. 

In Britain, the inflation is hidden. It was not the cruel winter of 1947, but a trade deficit of £700 billion that is ruining the country, and the hardest money is the ration coupon. Because the inflation is hidden, you can't find it unless you to to the black market, but the consequence of high prices for furniture and such on the black market is to draw production into "luxury goods" for the home market instead of exports, which are "England's basic hope for solvency."In India, the depreciation of the rupee has allowed landlords and peasants to clear their debts. The former, in particular, also benefit from rising food prices, while the rich get richer, as taxes have not increased in proportion to incomes. Attempts to regulate the economy have produced a class  of fixers, notably of import and export licenses. 

Japan's inflation is also benefitting the farmers and fishermen. China's inflation is due to the Koumintang funding its war by issuing money. The Chinese used to have recourse to using American dollars instead, but that was made illegal in 1943. They also store value in gold, although private holdings of gold are illegal, too; the latest is cheques drawn on American banks. Meanwhile, the Americans continue paying in dollars, which means that American dollars remain in circulation, defying the government and police. Nevertheless, the police do keep trying to crack down, which can make exchanging dollars for yuan in Shanghai a frightening business. 

"The Dollar Crisis in New England: An Economic Fable for Our Times" When I saw this in the table of contents, I thought it was going to be a discussion of the War of 1812, in which New England sort-of seceded from the Union. But, on the contrary, it is a "fable" about how New England would have experienced an inflation had it seceded from the Union some years ago, mainly because it had a negative trade balance with the rest of the Union. I think that it is a wink-wink allegory for Old England (with references to old, inefficient exporting industries shutting down), but I haven't the free time for this nonsense. Call this a Fortune misfire, and bring back Mr. Blandings!

"How Sound is the Dollar?" First, America is confronting a wage-and-price spiral that probably won't be ended by the commodity break. However, wages only count for about half of spending. The rest is due to investment, which is therefore a powerful inflationary stimulus in itself. Thus, while it is said that the only solution to inflation is more production to mop up demand, it is as well to look at how the money enters the economy as well. We can set aside the postwar surplusses as deflationary, and a prospective deficit as stimulative, because they are small in comparison to spending in the larger economy. And so we need to look at the money supply. Where this was once limited, with serious effects resulting from the "stop of credit" in business crashes, now it is unlimited, and this fact was much abused during the war. Where a war might be sensibly fought by a combination of taxes and bonds sold to investors, so that for any spending there was savings, either by bonds or the Internal Revenue, in practice most bonds were bought by commercial banks, whose holdings rose from $16 billion at the beginning of the war to $90 billion at the end, all paid for by increasing their commercial deposits, and so increasing the money supply. 

However, government bonds only increase the money supply if they can be sold, because then the bank has money deposits on hand that can be lend, according to the magic of fractional reserve, five or six times over. Selling all of the bonds on hand would just about double the US money supply, which is why Marriner Eccles' special reserve plan, which would have required the banks to hold some of their bonds, is the only practical limit on the expansion of the American money supply. So far, the banks have defeated this proposal, and the American money supply is functionally unlimited, something that seems to have had few negative, and some positive effects, so maybe we shouldn't be worrying about it. 

"Masters of Money" A potted history of various old financiers like the Medicis and the Fuggers illustrates that money has mattered through the ages. 

"The Land of the Big Rich" Rich men in the Southwest are very rich. They laugh at anyone worth less than $5 million, thanks to their wheat, cattle and oil fortunes.

"What Makes the Boss Work?" 

The answer is, nothing. He was born in the wrong age. If he were a Ford or an Edison, he would be rolling in money, but he rose through the ranks to become President ("Captain of the Hesperus") in 1934, at the age of 46, after struggling for five years with the wreck of his finances after the Crash, and since then, he has struggled on, losing ground, due to the 75% tax bracket. Now, five years from mandatory retirement, he is too old to make good. He is ruined, and that is why he is not motivated to work, and the wheels will come off soon. 

. . . Because he can't sell his company stocks ("it wouldn't look good") and because so much of his salary goes into the company's "complex pension and annuity scheme."

 In short, the $65,000/year man is telling the $25,000/year man that he's got nothing on the financial ruin of a man making almost three times as much. 

(Before stocks. To its credit, Fortune does eventually get around to explaining the various stock incentive plans at different companies that skirt the Bureau of Internal Revenue's rules on compensation.) Then there's a lot of gas at the end about how an executive's income should track his life with the company. I especially like the part where the company "lets him down" into retirement by cutting his income over the last ten years of his career so that between 55 and 65 he gets ready to live on $15000/year for the rest of his life, enjoying "wisdom" and "leisure." That's just how I think of Dad!

There's a feature on the difficulties that insurance companies are having in finding investments for all their $190 billions that will provide for all those fixed-annuity insurance payouts that are being eaten up by inflation, which is bad. (I thought I'd clear that up.)

"Gutt of the Fund: His Job in the International Monetary Fund is to Reconcile the Operations of the Bretton Woods with the Realities of World Inflation" Carmen Gutt helped engineer France's devaluation, which violated Bretton Woods.

"The City" A photographic essay about the Square Mile of the City of London, which "remains the world's centre of financial probity." 

Is that . . a woman? Behind the second man? Perhaps a charlady has got disoriented and is going the wrong way?

Photographs aren't enough, so then there's a text esay about the City being a citadel of free trade, sound money and confidence. That seems a bit . . .self-congratulatory.

Gilbert Burck, "The American Genius for Bankruptcy: Europe, Not the USA, Has the True, Unswerving, Passionate Love of Money" That pretty much says it all. Americans save less and are less prudent than Europeans because they can get away with going bankrupt. 

Shorts and Faces

The first feature covers Charles B. Harding of Smith, Barney, a brokerage previously associated with Jay Cooke. The second one is about "queer shovers," which is the new lingo for conterfeiters, who have had a bad year, because of inflation. Arthur T. Roth, of the Franklin Square National Bank, is running his bank as another retail operation, which is why he has given away 25,000 lollipops in a year to children accompanying their parents, or in the home, since the bank has door-to-door salesmen, and Santa in the lobby at Christmas. 
"Funny Money" Tells the tale of various crackpot schemes to distribute money, including Dr. Townsend's Old-Age Revolving Pension scheme, Upton Sinclair's Retirement Life Payment Plan,  the brief period in Alberta when the Social Credit government actually tried to implement Douglas' ideas, and Technocracy, which sounds like the silliest of them all.

Another feature explains how New York banks got into the personal loan business, and another on the Free City of Tangier, which is doing quite well in the current uncertainty, smuggling American cars into Spain and selling black market streptomycin to whoever, for whatever reason. 

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