Sunday, September 8, 2019

Postblogging Technology, June 1949, I: Class of '49

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

I hope this finds you well after your recent scare. Please take care of your ticker! 

Here in the Greater Bay Area, Ronnie and I live two lives. Uncle Henry has decided not to wait until September, so she's driving her brand new Kaiser De Luxe to all the shows. I'm flattened, I'm gobsmacked. She's so beautiful, the car's so fine.

Meanwhile, me? Most of the time, I'm up at Livermore, which is the wackiest corner of the Bay, if you ask me, and it's not exactly short of wackiness. There's a whiff of Mary Jane in the air, and the "Beat Generation" is everywhere, living under the canvas backs of their war surplus Jeeps. Fortune says the Class of '49  is boring, but it doesn't know the half of it! 

If you're wondering, the Administration put a burr under the Air Force's saddle in the spring, so they're now flying radiation sampling flights officially and regularly. The Navy can't match the range and endurance of Air Force B-29s, so it's official position is to poo-poo it all. Fleet says they'll know the Russians have tested an atom bomb from rainwater samples, never mind high altitude recon flights over the Bering Strait! Which is probably true, but doesn't change the fact that we've got all the hush-hush top secret flying that we're also doing, mainly trying to pick up Russian air defence radar emissions. It's not really practical in itself, but it'll be important when we're chasing their cruisers at sea. Ernest Lawrence has bestirred himself to extend his interest from all the top secret atom smashing stuff to a bit of radio work, and we've seen His Eminence a few times around the field, although usually his presence is felt through eager graduate students driving up from Berkeley. 

We're also doing a little, here and there, with interception. Down below, you'll see Aviation Week blowing the lid off the new English Electric bomber. Near as I can figure, if it can carry an atom bomb --it has the same problem as the Neptune, bomb bay's too small-- it's the first practical atom bomber. It just needs bases close enough to Russia. And better bombs. The Neptune will take the Hiroshima bomb, which the Navy is now selling as a submarine pen-buster, since it's tough enough to drop through a few feet of concrete. Of course, that takes some very precise dropping, and we're not exactly sure how to do that. The Air Force sure can't! 

So that's our news. See you on the Third!

Your Loving Son,

So first let's look at Aviation Week for the first half of the month.

The big news in the 6 June number includes some doings over at the commercial pilots' union halls, the installation of a looted German supersonic wind tunnel at the Air Force Development Centre until they can get theirs working. Meanwhile, NACA sent a long report to Congress on what they're up to. Their wind tunnel is working fine, and they're getting results on boundary layer control, sweepback and sweep forward. Senator Tydings trying to push an Air Force budget cut through, and the ongoing politics of the United States cancellation/B-36 contract. You know how I think about that. Unless we just give up on bombing Russia for a few years, we're stuck with the B-36. United States wasn't a solution to that, it was something for the surface admirals to play with in the bath tub. Important, if not big news, is Vickers' G. R. Edwards revealing that the Nene has a 180h overhaul period, the Goblin 200h, with specific consumption of 1.5lb/lb thrust-hour for the jets and 0.75 for the turboprops. Aviation Week thinks that this undercuts glib British claims about superiority and makes American jet engines look more competitive. Aviation Week is just as pissed off at the tone of Smith's Flight as I am.

Speaking of British whining, the Air Force has told the CAA that omnirange VHF beacons can't begin to meet Air Force needs.

Less news than crystal ball gazing is word that the Navy is working on advanced radar pickets for the carrier task forces. Destroyers don't cut the mustard, and it is playing with B-17s and Constellations, because Neptunes don't have the legs or the space for a bunch of radar operators. This is good news for Martin and Convair, because it gives their new flying boats a reason to exist. If they can cut the mustard. I guess what the Navy really wants is an early warning radar picket that can fly off a carrier deck, but that will take some serious miniaturisation. Also, the Navy is experimenting with turning two of the light carriers into specialised antisubmarine escorts, and has given the Marines some C-119Bs so they can play with parachutes. Word is coming in, awful quick, of reversible propellers reversing in flight and blades cracking. The reversing victim was a Convair, and the cause was a burned out solenoid. It might be the same failures that are leading to some inadvertent landing gear retractions. Cracked blades are showing up on DC-6s, too. DC-4 crews and passengers may be cleared to put their oxygen masks away, as the carbon dioxide release problem is under control, but they still can't turn on the cabin heaters due to fires from hydraulic fluid in contact with the exhaust stack.

There's a big story about the latest Viking rocket launch to 51 1/2 miles. The Navy tries to one-up that with a story about the new transmitter on its Aerobee. Aviation Week summarises a paper about  blocking off turbine engine intake annulus to reduce air flow at constant power needs, which is more efficient than leaking waste air through the compressor and rotor fittings, which aren't always gas tight; and another one about   G. L. Rogers of McDonnell publishing a calibration chart that reduces the number of strain gauges currently used. Did you know that Baldwin Locomotives produces 55 sizes of strain gauge? So much for doing all that math! Speaking of, MIT is giving a summer course on "analogue computation for engineers." See? You can do something with your slide rule even when you don't need it as a hammer substitute!

James McGraw has one of his editorials up. He points out that the big increases we saw in in per worker productivity from 1900 to 1940 have stalled in the past few years, blames the shortage of machine tools that developed in WWII, and calls for lower taxes and less government, which "terrorises private industry." (Of course.) Lower taxes means more business investment means higher productivity means prosperity for all. Aviation Week calls for more publicity for Air Force contracts.

A little less going on in the 13 June number. The Navy wants a new generation of Goodyear blimps, because they're the only aircraft that can carry that magnetic submarine detector that the Navy suddenly can't describe straight up. Shh! Commies are reading! Canada is spending $12 million or so annually on its northern radar network to defend major industrial and population areas. Canada has those?

It's not just downtown Rock Creek on a Saturday night, it's Meat Draw Night at the Prospector!
he B-36 probe "widens in scope" to a full three ring circus as the Administration comes in the cross hairs. Someone's toted up the bill, and the Air Force and Navy are spending $172 million on electronics this year! Lots of old wartime junk finally getting the heave-ho, like those crappy British IFFs and the old time coding machines. The Air Force is paying for distance measuring equipment to make the CAA's radio navigation beacons useful, amongst other tower electronics stuff, and, of course, there's lots of lighting going in. Eddie Rickenbackers' plan to take over all the East Coast airmail routes on the Eastern basis of business is getting panned by everyone who isn't Eastern. ALPA is blaming the recent TWA DC-4 crash at Gander (you haven't heard of it because no-one was hurt), on bad GCA. Mainly because the tower blames the pilot, Frank Saylor [pdf]. Aviation Week's editorial welcomes shakeups at the CAA, notices Johnson's decision not to go ahead with the Banshee/B-36 trials so we can keep our heap big secrets from the dirty Commies. It also welcomes Karl Compton to Aviation Week's board of advisors. Root-te-toot!

Flight, 2 June 1949


"Ominous Hints" The Government has not denied that it might start appointing the members of the Air Registration Board! To the barricades, as Ronnie says. (Actually, she says it in French, and it is ooh-la-la.) For more to-the-barricading, Flight is upset about the plight of British flying clubs.

"Belfast's Royal Day: Princess Elizabeth Names the Tasman Solent 'Aotearoa II" The Princess went to Belfast and christened the first of four Solents to go to Tasman Airlines. It's the Native word for New Zealand, and I'm told it means "Land of the Long White Cloud." Fearing that this might not seem like news, Flight rounds up the bottom with a review of a play put on by staff of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and a blurb about the recent memoir by the editor of The Autocar. In comparison, the sale of what's likely the last flying boat airliner ever does look like news!

Here and There

The revived Gordon Bennett balloon race has been cancelled due to Communism. (The Russians won't let the balloons float across their territory.)
Bristol's chairman recently told the board and the press that Bristol is redesigning the Bristol 175 airliner to take the Proteus instead of the Centaurus, and that they have a "guided weapon" contract from the Air Ministry. I have been very vocal about a Centaurus airliner being a horrible mistake, mainly because sleeve valve engines need specialised maintenance equipment. So this is a very positive development! The Proteus is a much bigger engine than the Dart and Mamba, so the 175 won't be competing with the Apollo and the Viscount. It will be the "Empire" airliner, which in practice means that it will the one that has to fly through Nairobi to get to South Africa and Australia. That is where the Tudor came up short (before the whole "mysteriously disappear somewhere near Bermuda" thing), but that was down to aerodynamics, not the engine. (Although, as Ronnie points out, there are also reasons that a Merlin airliner is a mistake. We'll see if the upgrades to the North Star fix the noise problem.)

Anyway, the Proteus will be powerful, economical, and silent. So good luck to Bristol! 

Boeing lost test pilot Scott Osler, on 12 May. He was killed by the dislodged canopy of the B-47 he was flying.  Stratocruisers continue to fly the Atlantic without turning into frogs, or whatever the alternative is. The Russians are being annoying in Germany, declaring AA firing practice exclusion zones up to 35,000ft on Berlin air corridors. BEA's chartered S-51 recently suffered severe hull damage after an engine failure. BEA is thinking about whether it wants to be in the helicopter business. Group Captain R. C. Hockney has left the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield to be aviation divisional engineer at Smith's Instruments. I mention this out of all the other personnel moves in News in Brief because scuttlebut has Smith's working on a very elaborate blind bombing and navigation system for the new British bombers. Is Hockney in charge of that? Inquiring minds want to know!

"Entertaining Weekend" There were "displays and competitions" at three airfields. Three! 

Captain D. A. Brice, AFRAES, "The Instrument-rating Test: A Candidate's Experience: Helpful Attitude of MCA Examiners" The test is taken on an Anson, and consists of five parts, each of which must be passed: general instrument wor;, limited panel; asymmetric power; QDM approach and let-down; SBA, ILS, Babs or Radio Range approach, to be specified by candidate. There is no requirement for a blind takeoff, but the candidate must fly on instruments (under a hood) upon reaching 100ft. Limited panel means that the artificial horizon and directional gyro are screened, requiring flying off the clock on the basis of calculated rate of turn. Various criticisms of the procedures are offered. SBA approach is at too low an altitude, too much attention to yaw control in the asymmetric power test, for example, inasmuch as it is more important to regain the initial heading than to check minor changes in course immediately after the failure. 

"'Open Day' at the NPL" Flight spent most of its time at the wind tunnel looking at tests of delta wings and related investigations of boundary layer control and leading edges. It saw the new supersonic tunnel, but not any of its experiments, and a fine time was had at the static loading rig. 

The Dutch are having an air show, and someone is hiring a helicopter test pilot. 

"Link to La Guardia" La Guardia airport requires airline pilots to pass  a special course of instruction on traffic-control procedures carried out on a Link trainer. Learning American slang seems to be a very important part of the training, according to Flight. Hep hip hop twenty three skiddoo gams ahoy heater on the square. I think I need to learn American slang. 

"That Keep the Jungle Law" Flight goes to visit and photograph the RAF squadrons that are bombing Malayan communists. 

"Continuous Position Fixing: Latest Development of the Decca Navigation System" The Decca Flight Log is the latest addition to the system, and consists of a rotating drum driven by a torque amplifier and drive unit, with a traversing style cursor that sketches deviation from course. Decca reminds everyone that the world's navies like it, so it's clearly a fine thing for your airplane, and only weighs 30lbs. Flight's Caroline Bailey Watson took it for a walk (literally) and found it very accurate. 

Civil Aviation News

"MCA Airfield Policy" Flight is upset that the MCA isn't making sure that everyone can use private airfields for anything they like. On the other hand, it saw a de Havilland Canada Beaver and quite liked it, and has heard that a Drover is being shipped from Australia, and might arrive in time for the SBAC show, and is sure that it will like the sibling's plane just as much. Flight doesn't play favourites with the Dominions. (New Zealand is so precocious!)  The recent decision to fit a Qantas Lancastrian as a breakdown aircraft has led to a tardy explanation. It is because Qantas Constellations are breaking down left, right and centre, and are hard to recover for lack of spare parts. Pakistan may nationalise two airlines. Canadian Pacific's endlessly-talked-up Pacific service from Vancouver to Sydney is going to finally start on 13 July, and will fly twice a month in competition with BCPA's Sydney-Vancouver route, but with a stop in Auckland. Pan American will offer a weekly luxury London-New York service with a sleeper version of the Stratocruiser, starting 10 June. It will be called "The President," and the single fare $360 will only be $10 more than the current fare. 

"Anglo-American Conference: Some Important Papers Read: British Designers' Lecture Broadcast to Public" Six paragraphs isn't enough to summarise all the papers, so Flight doesn't try. G. R. Edwards did a talk on "Turbine-engined Transports," which was broadcast on the radio. Edwards concluded that while it is possible to compare efficiencies, once people have actually had a taste of turbine-powered aircraft, they would turn away from the piston engine, compound or not. 
"An ARB year: Lord Brabazon of Tara Reports on Another Twelve Months of Valuable Work" The ARB has certified many new planes and engines, and Lord Brabazon has no comment on the possibility that Labour will appoint some hacks to the ARB. It's all just hot air to him!


Dennis Powell thinks that Britain needs more, better aeronautical museums, "Falstaff" thinks there should be better food with less queuing at the next SBAC show in Farnborough.

The Economist, 4 June 1949


"Recession Policy" Now that we can all agree that there's a recession on, it is high time that Britain got back to the good old days of high unemployment and wage reductions. The Economist thinks 7% is a fine target, the sooner the better. There's an election coming, after all!

"Germany: East or West?" Communism is awful, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't trade with eastern Europe for all you're worth. That's how you make money! Hmm. How are we going to sell this to the cold warriors! Wait, I know! If we don't, western Germany will join up with the Russians and we'll lose the Cold War! Sounds plausible. Let's run with it.

"The Price of Admiralty" We here at The Economist's editorial office just noticed that the Navy is expensive, too! That's why we're going to tell you what kinds of ships you can have. The Navy came out of the last war focussed on better antisubmarine escorts that could deal with the new fast submarines, and better planes for the carriers, to protect shipping from aircraft. Well, that's fine and dandy, but what about expeditionary forces and overseas bases? For that, the Admiralty ought to make some provision for minesweepers, cruisers and landing craft. Well! We're not getting very far at saving money so far. I think it's safe to say that the Russian fast submarine menace is completely exaggerated, that those "Walther submarines" are probably no big deal, and so the current destroyer force is "if anything, excessive." And probably if Britain slacks off a bit, Canada and Australia will pick it up.

I think the Leopard AA frigates might be the first postwar RN class? By Peter Smith - Contact us/Photo submission, CC BY-SA 3.0,

"Russia and China" Russian Communists are bad, and Chinese Communists are also bad. The question is whether they are bad together, and will continue to be bad together, or whether they will be bad against each other eventually. Who can say?Also, Manchuria is important. Yes, I'm feeling facetious today, but this really is a set of dreadful leading articles. Because it took me forever to write this letter, I did see the Leader from the 18 June number in which The Economist defends the first leader as only predicting, and not welcoming 7% unemployment. It's very weak, if you ask me. The other two notes are both "thumb suckers." That is, there's no real conclusions, just grave apprehension about what might happen in the future due to Communists being Communists. (And Germans being Germans.)

Also a Note below from Shanghai reveals that the occupation of Shanghai has so far been peaceful and orderly, and that Russian diplomacy has tried to be very proper, in that the embassy, which is, after all, accredited to the Koumintang government, evacuated Nanking for Canton. Although, The Economist being the Economist, a studied insult to bumptious Chinese communists is detected.

Notes of the Week

"Chaos on the Railways" the Economist covers the strikes and stoppages over wages and "lodging turns" that have caused chaos on the British railways over the last two weeks. Frankly, even if it devolved into another "bash the unions" bit, this should have been the Leader. 

"Palestine at Lausanne" The Israelis and the Arab nations are talking about peace, permanent borders and the refugee question, and getting nowhere. The Economist thinks that the one thing everyone should hold firm on is to make Israel financially responsible for the refugee resettlement in Transjordan and Syria. That actually makes sense!

What if Britain is invaded by a Dark Elven armoured cavalry
brigade? What then?
From Britain's right and tight little shores, word of a development plan for the rusty, coal dust shrouded valleys of South Wales; the Army Staff College war game for the senior officers of the Army, Home Office and "other government departments concerned [with] . . civil defence; and the government's decision to accept Lord Oaksey's recommendations on police pay. The Economist agrees with the idea of spending £4 million more on the police; would prefer that the government do something about coal tips and rural slums, as opposed to afforesting the heights of the Welsh mountains, which will just make the valleys more "claustrophobic," and is vaguely worried that civil defence has not achieved full administrative efficiency.

Skipping to the end, in righty-tighty news, the next phase of the Agricultural Act will procure a million acres as 29,000 smallholdings, because smallholdings are good; and The Economist is pleased  that Gerhardt Eisler is free to walk the streets, because everyone over there enjoys seeing anything that gets up HUAC's snoot.

On various foreign shores, the British have issued a statement saying that the Cyrenaicans can and will govern themselves. There's more detail than might be wanted, where we learn that Cyrenaica is the eastern bulge of Libya and that the Cyrenaicans in question are the Senussi, which are the dominant group in the region and are defined by some kind of common thing that no-one can be bothered to explain --that is, as far as I know, they're not actually a tribe-- and that France and Italy have interests that lead them to respond cautiously. But it is, as The Economist says, progress. In India/Pakistan, specifically Kashmir, there is to be a plebiscite to determine the future of the state under the auspices of the Uno, although I get a faint hint that it won't be held until India, which controls most of the state, is sure of the outcome.  In Prague, the Czech Communist party had its ninth congress last week, and was pretty awful.

"New Houses for Old?" There is a Housing Bill before Parliament, and it went to third reading on Monday, which is the reading where the Opposition gets up and does its best to hurl some stones through the windows. It seems that the Bill is terrible because too many people with too much money are getting into public housing, and the opposite is even worse, since it will lead to the poor being all jammed in together, and that will not end well. Nothing like a good old "damned if you do, damned if you don't"!

Shorter Notes retracts the statement that various Groundnuts Scheme employees were fired without regard to contract, and also retracts its glee about these "ruthless dismissals," which now would have been bad, had they happened, which they didn't. The pre-approval board that oversees Britain's dentists isn't really working, and telephone rentals won't go up, after all. A longer, not shorter note covers off Belgium's new trade policy.

From The Economist of 1849 comes a smug little bit about the current revolution in France, which happened because the French election law is stupid. The reason that Britain isn't having the same is that revolutions happen when people are poor, and since Britain has "set industry free," it has no poverty worth speaking of, and so no revolutions.


By Andysmith248 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, h
A. M. Lester writes to the effect that the American recession might be reversed by some timely government spending, but on the other hand it might not, it's hard to say, and therefore hardly worth trying. In conclusion, what do economists know? Nothing! R. K. Holloway points out that it is all very well to have trade  unions, but what about when you wander through a thicket of windy metaphysics and get lost? Eh? What then? J. Spedan Lewis is quite upset that The Economist is misrepresenting him. Join the club, Mr. Lewis. Join the club. J. R. Whitehouse thinks that The Economist is grossly exaggerating the powers given the Government by the Investment (control and Guarantees) Act. A. W. Joseph, who is in the insurance line, writes to take issue with another writer in the insurance line on the amount of life insurance annuities that ought to be subject to tax.It's all about proposed nationalisation, I think.

The American Survey

"The Hounding of Public Servants" The ridiculous campaign to secure the resignations of Lilienthal and Acheson, and the scuttling of Wallgreen's candidacy lead to a meditation on the way that Washington destroys the lives of American public servants. Especially, it turns out, if they are Wall Street men in Truman's cabinet.

The piece is actually largely about Forrestal's suicide, and the unsavoury spectacle of Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson suing Westbrook Pegler for alleging that they drove the Secretary of Defence into taking his own life. Reggie was very frank with his father, but not about suicide. And, frankly, this repulsive episode shows why that was a good idea in 1949. See the fifteenth paragraph here
That delightful Dulles fellow is going to win
 "Empire State and Island City" Governor Dewey is taking a trip to Europe and Mayor O'Dwyer won't run for a second term. Somehow, these facts are related to each other, the 1950 senatorial race to succeed Senator Wagner (who hasn't said that he is going, yet), and the 1952 election that Dewey has repeatedly denied being interested in. To explain all of this, we need a two-paragraph geography of New York to punctuate a four paragraph political history. (Two before and two after.) It is very interesting that the city of New York has a larger budget than the state of New York, and that means that the next mayor of New York may or may not be from the "Tammany" faction of the Democratic Party.

I'll give the American side of the bullpen this: When they take a meander through pointlessness, tehy provide facts, and not handwringing about communism and attaining full efficiency.

American Notes

"No Priority for the Pact" Dean Acheson can't get the Senate to sit still and listen to him about the Atlantic Pact.

"Steel's Rainy Day" The steel industry is cutting back and may soon be at 75% of capacity, and so much for the President's attempt to increase steel productive capacity.

"Shooting Down the B-36" The Navy's giant carrier partisans have determined that Secretary Johnson's Convair connections are the weak point in the B-36's defence, and not anything as picayune as the Banshee being able to intercept it. (Which it can't. People just can't get their heads around the idea that it isn't a fighter's position or its maximum speed and altitude that determines success in an interception, but rather its vector. It has to be in the right place at the right time, facing in the right direction and going the right speed, in order to fire the fatal shot, and no fighter around can do that right now unless the bomber it is trying to intercept has been held on radar from before the fighter takes off. No radar network in the world can do that, and certainly not the Russian one! Rocket fighters will change that, of course; but by that time we will hopefully have supersonic bombers.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, ranting at the fighter-and-carrier crowd again. Anyway, they must see how weak their position is, considering that they're using the B-50 cancellation as their angle of attack. Which is actually a pretty good angle. You don't have to believe in the Neptune as the bomber of the future to see that there's something off about the B-36.

Just to reiterate, in 1949 the Washington press corps thought that
a President getting up at 6 was outlandish.
"Early Bird from Brazil" The Brazilian President visited Washington and astonished everyone by getting up even earlier than the President's outlandish 6am reveille. In less important news, he also seems to have got Brazil first in line for all that American private capital that is going to be flowing into Latin America any day now under the Fourth Point.

"It's That Wheat Again" The Eightieth Congress lost the farm belt by getting in the way of the Commodity Credit Corporation's efforts to deal with the bumper crop of 1948, and so far the Eighty-First Congress hasn't learned the lesson. Although, in fairness, it does seem likely to pass the Wheat Treaty. So we'll see where it all ends up. (Fortune predicts dire doom, fire and flood. Or excessive subsidies, which is the same thing, really.)

Shorter Notes The Tidelands cases are to go to the Supreme Court; Americans are eating 10% more than they did in 1035--9, although consumption is falling of the all-time 1947 high. That's 147lbs of meat instead of 126, 48 eggs instead of 37, and more vegetables. There has been a fall off in starchy food consumption, but that's probably because of "fatter pay packets," and not an eye to the waistline. The Economist notices "closed circuit" television about three years after Radio News, but vindicates itself as a serious journal of opinion by worrying about "Jeremy Bentham's Pentagon," which I looked up, and you can too. Weird. And missing the point, if you ask me, since it's not the view, it's the watcher. Now maybe if they had a robot watchman!

The World Overseas

"Can Israel Pay Its Way?" Now that Israel is a country of a million plopped down in the midst of the Arab nations, maybe it is time to answer the question of whether it is all financially sound. The Economist is pretty sure that nothing is financially sound, but is willing to wait and see on Israel. it likes what it sees in terms of austerity, disinflation and an export drive. We can only wait and see if the billion pounds in investment capital needed to absorb an anticipated million immigrants over the next decade will materialise from abroad. The disinflation obscures the inflation in this article, but down in Business Notes it is the main story because of the way it affects the unlocking of the country's sterling balance.

"Divided South Africa"   The Economist explains at length how Malan's National Party justifies its apartheid policy. Basically, it is defending "white civilisation," and that means all whites are on in its side, even if they think they aren't. And since the whole point of apartheid is to take away the democratic rights of non-whites, obviously you don't have to take them into account. So with this math, a bare majority becomes a two-thirds majority, and the Nationalists can get on with stripping the vote from Coloured voters.

"Germany's Refugees" Eleven million of 70 million Germans in Trizonia are evacuees. No-one has any statistics that would tell you anything about them, but, come on, it's obvious that they are a breeding ground for political extremism. That's what unemployment does!

"The Record of French Communism" Is terrible. If you were wondering. And, no, I am not reading a two page history of the postwar French Communist Party to find out if there is anything vaguely relevant in there. I just subjected myself to a lesson on why the fact that the St. Lawrence goes this way and the Hudson goes that way leads to Tammany Hall.

The Business World

Twiggy won't even be born for another three months,
"The Wages Line" Dear The Economist: I am shocked and appalled by wages these days. They are much too high. Please lower them decorously below the ankle, or the starvation line, whichever comes first.

Rubber in Perspective" Prices are going this way, supply is going that way, political instability in Indonesia, consumption in America down, but consumption in Europe up.

Business Notes

Stock markets down, agreement in principle with Argentina, interesting developments in the inter-European payments scheme, bank deposits up,  surprising amount of capital being raised for the steel industry considering imminent nationalisation, ICI Chairman gives a speech on nationalisatoin (he's against it!), Israel's economic "problems" emphasised due to recent release of its sterling balance in London, trade talks with the Czechs and Swiss, who are in the opposite case one to the other,continuing talk of insurance industry nationalisation.

"The Index of Production Explained" The Central Statistical Office has been under fire for producing figures of productivity that avoided the usual exchange rate and tax law pitfalls of comparing international productivity figures. This led to results that were very controversial, in part because the Office didn't "show its work." Now it has. The Economist is pleased, perhaps because it was pleased with the original report. The Ministry of Supply has increased the auto industry's steel allocation so that it can produce 400,000 cars next year instead of 335,000. The Economist is skeptical that the industry will be able to export more cars than it is --16,000 a month or so-- and doesn't say who is being shorted of steel to give autos more. Although with production up, maybe no-one is?

"The Fawley Refinery and Dollar Oil" The Fawley refinery will be expensive in dollar terms since much of its equipment will come from Standard Oil of New Jersey. But once complete, it will replace substantial amounts of oil from America with oil from elsewhere, so the long term impact on the sterling balance will be significant. Britain is also in a position to save on dollars by importing Cuban molasses. This will also impact the petroleum industry, since molasses processing yields solvents and alcohols that are also obtained from petroleum. More molasses imports (from non-dollar countries or under non-dollar conditions) means less American oil.

The Avonmouth Dock Strike is very complicated.

"Difficulties of Defining Cloth Content" Australia wants to impose a requirement that cloth sold in Australia be labelled as to the material in it. If it is a mixture, there must be a percentage of each kind of fibre. The original intention was to apply the regulation only to wool, but then things got complicated, and now  the British industry wants protection from this labelling law. Something about "resinous fillings which 'add an enduring quality to the cloth,'" which sounds like something that Australian housewives would avoid if they knew about it. Or maybe I've been associating with too many "nature boys" around Livermore.

The price of gas is coming down in Britain and the coal output is up again, 4,475,000 tons this week, so over 88 million tons in the first 21 weeks of the year.

Flight, 9 June 1949


Where did it all go wrong? "During the first eight months of operational trials,[N 1] 
a total of 16 in-flight engine failures and 49 unscheduled engine changes
punctuated the ongoing engine dilemma and delayed the in-service date until February 1957,
roughly two years late." 
By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
"Momentous Months" Flight is very excited by the fact that the Brabazon and Comet are about to embark on development flying, following the Apollo, Viscount, and also the turbojet-proving planes that it won't shut up about. It is also excited about the turboprop Hermes V, Nene-Viscount and Mamba-Marathon that are likely to follow, and the Princess and the "Bristol 175 Constellation replacement" that won't be flying "for a year or so." America is backwards and jealous but will soon accept its role as loyal colonial tugging forelock before the Squire-of-the-Air. Pip, pip, cheerio, Rule Britannia, etc.

"Dangerous Road" Flight is worried about the future because of horrid Labour.

"A Study in Tactics: Modern Air-support Methods on Salisbury Plain" The RAF got together with the Army to beat up the ground only with Meteors and Vampires as well as knuckle-walking, Stone Age Mosquitoes and Spitfires.

Charles Gardner, "No-one Cares About Balloons But Here's Some Balloons!"

Here and There

There is Activity at Woomera, where Britain is going to launch all its rockets, because if they come down on Australians, well, it serves them right for being down there.
Shh. It's  a secret.
Howard Hughes is working on a helicopter, yet another Stratocruiser Atlantic crossing still counts as news; the one thing that Flight reports from G. R. Edwards' talk to the Institute of Aeronautical Science is the pure-jet version of the Viscount; Fairey Clyde, which is the Australian division of Fairey, has taken someone named "Lieutenant Colonel Elvish" on board as an advisor (does Santa know?); there will be a celebration of the fourth anniversary of D-Day involving planes; the RAF will investigate the enormous fire at its ammunition depot in Buxton; fifteen F-80s have made the third jet crossing of the Atlantic; The Joint Chiefs have voted down the proposed Banshee-B-36 trial because the Russians would learn too much; work on the Anglo-American refinery at Fawley, near Southampton, has begun.

"The Pressure-Jet Helicopter: An Analysis of the Design Factors for Optimum Performance: Precis of a Paper Given to the American Helicopter Association by L. L. Douglas, Chief Engineer of Piasecki" These are the helicopters with at least jet nozzles or maybe jet engines in their blade tips. Ram jets seem like the least crazy of the proposals, but would need to be spun up, I guess. Yeah, yeah, I'm poo-pooing scientific progress, but these things have to go around real fast while sticking out on a stick! Pulse jets also have simple mechanics, but they shake and make a lot of noise, which is already a bit of a sore point with helicopters. (It's not that planes don't make noise too, but we leave it behind us, like Heaven intended.) Turbines in the fuselage don't have to spin around fast in directions other than intended, but now you have ducting losses and all of the heat getting into everything. However, the potential lift supplied is so great that Douglas thinks that there is already an application for lifting large payloads over short ranges. (Short ranges because economy is so poor with large turbines, but I can't help thinking that you want to get the thing down quickly, before hot spots can develop.)

"Pre-Fabricated Radio Stations" As we've heard, International Aeradio is doing up radio stations for the Burmese government. Since it occurs that other governments might similarly want to have a bunch of radio stations at a bunch of airfields all of  a sudden, the company is going in for three models of radio stations that are prefabricated and can just be flown in and set up at the field. Since that's not enough news for a whole page, we are also told that Frank Halford has told the de Havilland board that, after jet planes, rocket planes are the next big thing; plus some more short news about air tourism. For example, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is putting out a guide, and the president of the French club in Normandy invites British owners over for a summer rally.

Follows a several page history of No. 2 Squadron RAF, which is apparently Britain's premier close support squadron, which is news to me, as I've been distinctly told that the RAF forgot all about  close support as soon as the curtain came down in 1918 until reminded by current events in 1940.

Civil Aviation News

"BEA and the Viscount" Everyone was surprised that BEA decided not to buy the Viscount eighteen months ago, and now everyone is surprised that it is thinking about buying it, after all. At the time, it was "disappointing progress in traffic control" that ruled out the Viscount, along with other turbine aircraft, as they lack the endurance to "stack." So while part of the decision comes down to improvements in the Viscount as it grows longer and the Dart grows more powerful, part of it is also the success of the Airlift. (Says I, anyway. Hurrah for all of us navigation and radio long hairs!) However, the fact that BEA will have to run Ambassadors and Viscounts will add to expenses, and Rolls Royce might not be able to manufacture all those Darts. The British Air Charter Association is pushing ahead with this "Baltic Exchange" for making air charters more . . . whatever it is that this whole thing is supposed to accomplish. Spraying pesticide from helicopters is somehow still news. IATA has a number of recommendations about adding approach lights to the estimated 1400 airports that don't have them, and need them, along with recommendations for standardising them, along with a variety of recommendations for improving instrument landings (including finding ways to reduce the critical height where an instrument landing must be abandoned if you can't see the ground, which should help with regularity and landing turbine aircraft before they run out of gas.) Nice Airport has been renamed "Okay Airport." Nice-la-Var. Australia will improve Essenden Airport in time for the 1`956 Olympics. Turin is getting an international airport.

"British Contribution: A Review of Various Papers Presented at the Anglo-American Conference" A  half page is enough to cover six papers. Turboprops are better than turbojets for speeds up to 500mph. The primary problem for structural designers is the behaviour of panels under compression. No, wait, it's material performance at low (stratospheric) temperature and with respect to fatigue, neither of which have been at all adequately investigated for aeronautical conditions. The chief designer at Shorts thinks that flying boats have the advantage over airliners at all up weights of over 250,000lbs, which are right around the corner, any day now.

A. W. Apollo*
Having nothing to do with the conference but being on the same page, short news that "while engaged on a routine handling flight on May 30th," the "first prototype" of the ArmstrongWhitworth AW 52 flying wing crashed and was destroyed, with the pilot, J. O. Lanchester, becoming the first pilot in Britain to escape a wreck in a Martin-Baker ejection seat. (No word on his condition; those things are supposed to be very hard on the occupants, as being shot out of a moving plane by a rocket  before being braked by a parachute, would be.)

The plane actually glided in with very little damage. Unfortunately, the designer had already destroyed it. 

"Turbine-Powered Transports: A New Conception of Passenger-Comfort: Mr. G. R. Edwards Paper at the Anglo-American Conference" It will be interesting to see if this precis contains a summary of the pedestrian "practical" endurance and hours-between-maintenance figures recently mentioned at the Conference and pounced upon by Aviation Week as proof that the British industry isn't really that advanced, after all.

. . . And no. Although Edwards does cop to the continuing economy problems with pure turbojets, the talk is mainly confined to claims that Vickers has solved the main problems of the turboprop: airscrew control; the loss of idle braking compared with piston engine installations, requiring high drag flaps; icing of air inlets and jet tubes; ventilation.


D. Smith doesn't understand how jet engines work. I. Scott-Buccleuch writes to point out that jet flying boat fighters might be useful in places that need fighters, have water, and lack runways. Odd Medhoe(!) has complaints about how flying hours credits are handled for British pilots flying for foreign airlines. Charles Nicollas thinks that there is too much unskilled labour in aircraft maintenance nowadays, and puts the blame where it belongs: The government. D. P. remembers a plane he saw back in the old days of 1907 or 1908, and wonders whether anyone else remembers it, too.

The Economist, 11 June 1949


"Europe's Markets" The eight ministers of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation have met and had a fruitful talk and released a report. The Economist explains what is in it. First, the European production problem is over, with output rising rapidly above 1938 levels. Second, the dollar gap remains serious. The 1948 uncovered trade deficit was $2.3 billion, and even if $1 billion of that was due to the inflationary run-up in American export prices, that's still a lot. The problem is that North America accounts for 47% of world foodstuffs exports, with the rest of the world only able to cover 2% of Europe's needs. And while the American deflation, especially in commodity prices, won't hurt, it will probably be constrained by price supports, and will make American exports much more competitive. The Economist warns about the risks of alienating eastern European trade, and scolds Belgium and Switzerland for exporting too much to the rest of Europe, and France for importing too much. It predicts that the dollar gap will still be huge when the Marshall Plan aid ends, briefly surveys the chances of replacing American food with eastern European or from France or its dependencies, calls for liberalised terms of trade, and then goes on a tirade against planning. Backing up to before the bits about trade and planning that I think are just padding, and what bugs me is how Europe can't even imaginably  feed Europe. I mean, yes, Europe is small compared with America, we all know that. But France, just for example, is almost five times bigger than Ohio. Or, put it another way, western Europe is basically the same size as the Midwest. Which just obviously can feed the whole world.  I mean, The Economist is completely frank about this. It doesn't want European agriculture to succeed, because food prices would go  up, so wages would go up, so European exports would become more expensive, which would--. How dumb do they think we are?

Baron Rusholme was a fierce proponent of meritocracy, by
which he meant academic streaming. A Tory life peer, he
married into the Wintours. He was uncle to Anna and Patrick.
"The Cares of Office" It seems like it's been a half hour since the last article about the Labour Party having a to-do and various people giving speeches The Economist doesn't like, but apparently the to-do in Blackpool is an annual event, so The Economist's correspondent won't have to go to Blackpool for a whole other year. That's good, because any place named "Blackpool" must be awful. Clean your pools, guys. It's not that hard! So up went the various Labour ministers to speak about this and that, most of which doesn't need to be explained because we're already supposed to speak the language. Mr. Cripps was in his "Mr. Jekyll form." That's helpful! "Monday's debate on the expulsion of Mr. Zilliacus and Mr. Solley" must have been a blast. Who doesn't like arguing about that? Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot placed above Herbert Morrison in the poll of people who are polled about people who are on polls. Tom Driberg! Keir Hardie! "cloth cap socialism." The point is that Labour is worried that it might lose the next election. And, of course, The Economist applauds heartily any time anyone suggests that a horrible economic disaster lurks just around the next corner. It has come to The Economist's attention that, due to a printer's error, the word "applauds" was substituted for "boos" in the previous sentence. The Economist regrets the error.

"The Supply of Brains" Traditionally, Britain had excellent education for too few people, so there weren't enough brains. Now, it has education for everyone, so it will probably be awful, and there won't be enough brains. Lower class people who don't read books will be given a general education by terrible teachers and it will all be useless. Furthermore, a fellow who teaches in Manchester agrees with The Economist, showing that it is spot on.

"Terrorist to Statesman" A fresh and exciting look at up-and-coming figure Joseph Stalin, occasioned by the recent Deutscher biography.  Two pages!

Notes of the Week

"Vishinsky Stands Fast" and "Asking for Trouble on the Ruhr" The Russians are being intransigent about the composition of Berlin's city council, which shows that there is trouble in the way of smooth economic relations across that little old Iron Curtain thing that Mr. Churchill was talking about the other day. Once again, on the one  hand, Communism is bad; on the other, let's get on with buying cheap eastern European grain. And speaking of trade and employment and Germany, there was a demonstration in Dusseldorf that prevented the  dismantling of four of the six Fischer-Topsch artificial oil plants. The Economist is appalled that the Military Government is provoking German voters with the election only a few weeks away. Now let's get cracking on that 7% unemployment here at home!

"Controls for Ever?" After checking its notes, The Economist determines that it is against some legislation that allows for economic controls that was extended this week. On the other hand, when it comes to "Socialism on the Railways," it is well past time for the Government to get cracking with the controlling already.

The Economist's editorial, accompanied by Japanese colleagues.
The Hundred Kingdoms of the South
"Mr. Alexander in Hongkong" The British have decided to demonstrate their resolve to defend Hongkong against Communist takeover by sending the Minister of Defence to walk around the place and make approving noises. On the way, he stopped over at Saigon airport and had a talk with the French commander, "possibly a sign of a new tendency to co-ordinate defence measures." A Communist spokesman responded by denouncing British imperialism in Hongkong and Malaya, which The Economist jumps on as a chance to defend defending Hongkong. For if Britain lets Hongkong go, next it will be Malaya with all that rubber and tin. And freedom and democracy. Except for Chinese Malayans, who don't deserve it, being foreigners and all. The Economist is quite confident that Hongkong can be defended militarily against the Communists with "foresight, intelligence and plenty of artillery."

"Southward From China" The French have 130,000 men in Viet Nam, which hasn't proven to be enough to do more than secure the cities and key communications lines. Soon, the Chinese Communists will arrive in force. Some in France think that the war is unwinnable, which, while pure leftist defeatism, will prove true unless assorted French puppets create a Vietnamese state within the French Union invigorated against the enemy by a spirit of national resistance.

"Green Light for Japanese Industry" We're going to get into this at length elsewhere, so for now it's enough to say that MacArthur's headquarters have given up on reparations and want Japanese industry to go ahead any way they can. It's especially worried that if it doesn't get out of the way, the Japanese will start trading with China.

"Building Time," "--And Motion" Everyone is on about how new homes aren't being built fast enough, but now there are some statistics that seem to show that the problem isn't that bad. The Economist is pretty sure that they're bad statistics, and explains why that might be. It is certainly confident that the industry is wasting all that labour.

"Sorry, No Sweets" Candy was derationed in Britain a few weeks ago and now the shelves are bare. The minister was pressed to reintroduce rationing on Friday, and didn't. The Economist draws the same conclusion it always does, which is that the still-controlled price is too low. It is very, very upset at the suggestion that rich people bought all the sweets, as rich people aren't known for naughty behaviour like that. Also, it helpfully suggests that if all other forms of food were more available, people would buy fewer sweets.
Don't be fooled by the cuteness. They voted for Brexit.

"Petrol and Politics in France" France was going to have a political crisis about the particular way that it has decided to move towards unrationed gasoline, until it didn't due to the moderate parties supporting the government. Better luck next time, crazy French extremists! Due to a printer's error, the previous sentence said "Better." It was intended  to say, "As bad." The Economist regrets the error. But not as much as it regrets the absence of exciting political crises in France!

"Constitutional Troubles in Australia" On the one hand, that's better. On the other hand, it's Australia. It's also about gas rationing. The Australian High Court has struck it down because it was implemented under the defence acts, and Australia is no longer defending itself against anyone very much. The Economist detects doom on the way, perhaps because of the end of butter rationing (which is intended to make more butter available for export to Britain), or because the power to ration gas devolves to the states, which are run by local yokels who can't understand these complicated things. The Economist recommends that the Australians change their constitution before some nitwit from out in the tulares makes all the gas tractor gas or something like that.

Notes finishes up with a worthy (but very cheap, at £300,000) scheme to improved marginal agricultural land) and an unworthy shortage of health services for the chronically sick poor.

From The Economist of 1849  The Economist notes the riots in New York that cost 22 lives, the sinking of the steamer Empire on the Hudson, with the loss of 200, the floods on the Mississippi, the raging cholera epidemic in the West. These seem bad, but are actually just "youthful exuberance." America needs to be more careful about suchlike things as laying rail, clearing land, building telegraphs, and conquering Mexico.


The Economist reviews Two Memoirs by John Keynes, a work prepared for posthumous publication. The Economist wishes that publication had been delayed until after Harrod's biography comes out, because it makes Keynes seem frivolous. Walter Moberly's The Crisis in the University is the most outstanding book on the crisis in the university since Newman's 1852 book about the crisis in the university. If there's one thing old people can agree on, it is that the university is in crisis! (Had the misfortune of running into old friend of the family, B., at a graduation party, so let me tell you, I know all about the crisis in the university down at Yale. Guess what!? It involves God and Keynes!)

. . . Oops. Should have read on. It's not a crisis at the university so much as a crisis in "western civilisation." Well! That's drastic. It involves atom bombs and there being too much police these days, and, yes, God. Specifically, not enough of Him. The Economist likes the material, but not so much the book, and wishes there were others just like it, but by wilder-eyed people who aren't tediously devoted to giving every side of the story.

Thomas Russell Pasha has quite the appropriate family name for a man who spent 44 years in the service of "thirty-two Egyptian governments," although this book is only Egyptian Service, 1902--14. Per the title, but I think that might be a typo, as the review makes it seem like a single volume account of Pasha's years organising and running the Egyptian police. As with the Moberly book, The Economist approves in principal, but objects in practice. It detects signs that Pasha wasn't all that keen on actual Egyptians. Oh, wait, in late breaking news, it turns out that his real name isn't actually Mr. Pasha. It turns out that that is just an affectation. Well, sign him up to run my police! Three new books in the "Britain in Pictures" series covers the three British political parties: The Natural Governing the Party, the Awful Party, and the We Pretend We Care Party.  The Economist says nice things about Caroline Haslett's Problems Have No Sex but then comes down hard. Haslett's opinion that women should be able to start a career, leave for a few years to  have a family, and then return to work is a "remote and facile view of domestic realities." It's suitable for a small number of superwomen, but beyond the reach of most, it thinks. Sobering considering what Ronnie and I face over the next few years. Three years of law, and one of articling before we can start our family! Yes, in theory, she can sit the California Bar in a barracks in Subic Bay while dilating all the while, but I have a feeling it is not going to turn out so neatly.


T. Balogh explains why The Economist's proposed solution to the intra-European trade payments scheme is in "flagrant contradiction" to its own analysis. I don't know. Thinking about what The Economist says is kind of like  stealing candy from a baby. Balogh says that only monetary unification will make it practical. Walter Fletcher writes that if Britain would just shut up about Hongkong, the whole thing will blow over, as Communist China needs trade, too. Michael Lindsay fights with the editor about Communists, Nationalists and Japanese industry in Manchuria.

American Survey

"The Class of 1949" Graduation is over at America's 1681 colleges and universities and 27,608 secondary schools, with at least 1.6 million proceeding out into the world to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance," "Gaudeamus Igniteur," and "The Beer Barrel Polka." Fortune has an article about that, which allows The Economist to save some time and effort by telling us what Fortune says, which is that there's a recession on, so the graduates should suck it up and work for cheap. The graduates themselves all grew up in the Depression and seem to think of "security first," and aspire to "a middling job in a very large corporation of excellent financial standing engaged in offering a product or a service likely to be saleable in the midst of a slump --the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, for example." The silly fools don't realise that "technology makes skills obsolete," and that they can't count on a half century of working life as a sure thing. For example, in 1870, there were ten times as many coopers as barbers, but now it is all barbers because there are no barrels and beards are out of fashion. Speaking of which, everyone is worried that all the graduates will go into the professions and leave no-one for the trades. On the other hand, there aren't enough doctors and teachers; on the other other hand, there are too many engineers(!!!) Also, there are too many managers, and every prospective salesman should go see Death of a Salesman, which sounds like it has gloomy news. There are people who want to be salesmen? (Fortune say that there aren't.) On the other hand, the demand for clerical workers keeps running ahead of the office equipment business, so that's safe. What about designing office equipment? I wonder if that is safer than designing planes and radios? Care of the elderly is a growing field, while there are danger signs in the skilled trades, which took on few apprentices during the Depression. Farming is in decline, but repairmen are needed everywhere, because no-one knows how to work all that machinery right.

American Notes

"Rewards for the Generous" The Economist is appalled that large donors like Floyd Odlum and Ed Pauley get what they want from government, while talented men like Ralph Bunche stay away from government service because the pay is too low and because they'd probably be lynched if they were seen out and about in Washington. Also, various appointments are political. It sure would be nice if we took up Mr. Hoover's very sensible suggestion that ex-Presidents should be able to sit in the Senate without a vote.

"Senate Initials on the Pact" Somehow, Taft-Hartley got yoked to the Atlantic Pact in the Senate, but Senator Vandenberg engineered a fix, and it looks as though the Senate will pass the Pact in the time it could have spent on repealing Taft-Hartley.

"Golden Door or Needle's Eye?" The Eighty-First Congress' Displaced Persons Act put a maze of bureaucracy before the poor DPs. The House has now modified the bill to make it clear that the country is damn well going to let 339,000 people in, including 15,000 Polish soldiers from Britain and 4000 "Shanghai refugees," mostly White Russians. Now it only remains for the Senate to consider the bill, which it is in no hurry to do, on account of the 500,000 over five years now being envisaged are no doubt a bunch of Communist infiltrators. (Which is why the House bill requires a loyalty oath.) The one problem so far is that some of the 44,000 DPs admitted so far are working in the fields alongside Negros!

Shorter Notes tells us that unemployment is up to almost 3.3 million, which is the  highest since the end of the war, but also there are 58.7 million employed, which is higher than 1948. Manufacturing employment is continuing down, showing a "postwar adjustment" under way, but agricultural employment is up. "Picture in a minute" cameras are so successful that owners have had to be rationed to six rolls of film (48 pictures) a month. Nebraska is using its new powers under the 1948 Rent Control bill to decontrol all rents.

The World Overseas

"How Real is the French Recovery?" Hurrah! A French Crisis! It has come to The Economist's attention that, due to a printer's error, the first word in this paragraph is "hurrah." "Boo" was intended. The Economist regrets the error. It turns out that in spite of huge increases in production, France is as far away from a balance of trade surplus as ever, productivity is declining; and, in reality, it is experiencing "demi-prosperity."

"Pressure of Numbers in Japan"  and "Incentives to Fecundity" "Japan's babies appear to be winning the war that its military leaders technically lost." By which The Economist means that a birth rate of 34 per thousand has raised Japan's population from 72 million at the end of the war to 80 million in 1949. Combined with a death rate of 12 per thousand, the population will be 90 million or more in 1958. Since Japan's population in 1934 was 66 million, it ought to have twice the level of trade as it had in 1930--34, and General MacArthur's staff have no idea where all that trade is to come from. (Contrary to clap trap from liberal economic publications like The Economist of London, there is only so much trade in the world, so if one country gets it, all the others just have to die in the streets.) MacArthur's National Resources Section has determined that Japan will need to import 2.1 million more tons of rice and 4.7 million more tons of wheat, as the country has a population of 570 to the square kilometer, compared with 418 for Korea and 176 for India, and only 20% of its land is suitable for arable, of which only 16% is in use. Thus Japan needs £200 million in food imports annually, if this were possible. "Clearly, Japan can attain its approved living standard [this is all about the Japanese government asking for increased food aid next year to raise the basic adult ration from 1600 calories to 2100] for its  mounting population only in a Utopian world of peace and plenty, with Japanese textiles virtually at prewar levels and all other industry at early wartime levels." In another note, or perhaps an extension with its own subtitle, The Economist tells the tale of Dr. Warren Thompson's visit. Dr. Thompson, an expert on population problems, says that only birth control can solve Japan's problems, which has led to furious criticism from the Japanese in general, and Roman Catholic missionaries in Japan in particular. Dr. Thompson believes that even with a substantial reduction in the current rate of increase, catastrophe is only eight years away. This leaves migration as the only possibility, but the Americans will only let them go to New Guinea and Borneo, and the Australians object to that. The Oriental Economist thinks that Dutch New Guinea has room for 20 million Japanese, and the Japanese Pacific Lumber Company reports "almost inexhaustible supplies of first-grade virgin timber in Australia as well as Dutch New Guinea." Which should put the Aussies on a tear.

Also, some lunatic Japanese Communists think that the country could support its existing population with more industrialisation and more efficient agriculture. One official has even offered a very modest level of support for this pie-in-the-sky madness, suggesting that Japan might be able to support a population of 70 million, which would only require getting rid of 20 million or so. New Guinea, here we come!

The Business World

"Freeing Europe's Trade" and "Price Maintenance" are too important and worthy articles about the inter-European payments mechanism and resale price controls in Britain.

Business Notes

Cripps' Blackpool speech failed to reassure the stock market, which is continuing its decline. Washington is upset about the UK-Argentina trade deal. Rumours of a gold strike in South Africa led to stock turmoil. Now that everything has calmed down, The Economist takes stock of stocks. Unrelated: The Chairman of the LSE is resigning due to health, and not because the LSE is rescinding its changes on commission sharing and taking a "fresh approach." Other financial news includes policy changes at the International Bank of Settlements, gold flowing to places it ought not (Belgium, Switzerland, Persia, Bizonia), trouble at South Africa's Union Corporation, Shell admitting that its books are too complicated to consolidate as it promised, the P and O being open to outside capital investment, and a Swiss banker giving a speech against British nationalisation.

In industry, the Films Council has produced a "fair and conscientious report" on its first year of work. It is worried that the industry is having trouble making up suitable double-feature programmes. Needs more bad films done assembly-line style straight from a decrepit country house shooting site to a cheap London-area studios, I say! Now if only someone can think of something for the films to be about. Anglo-Iranian's latest statement on the Middle East pipeline is the biggest one yet. Or the pipeline is. It will be 850 miles long, 35 inches in diameter, and carry 20 million tons of crude a year from the Persian Gulf to the Syrian port of Tartus. And it will be announced, year in and year out, until it is finally built. Unemployment is a concern  in the northeast as the shipbuilding industry shows signs of contraction. New industries are needed, but The Economist is skeptical that can happen. The dockers' strike continues, shipowners' associations think that they are suffering from double taxation, the Coal Board is getting government all over coal bunker prices, which are consequently higher in Britain than in Poland or America, while the thermal efficiency of British power stations is up 0.33% thanks to newer plant but also more efficient organisation of coal supplies. New plant represents 4% of total generating capacity, which is less than official estimates, so The Economist is skeptical about future reductions in the price of electricity. In contrast to other commodities, the price of wool is likely to continue high due to demand exceeding supply. Tin prices are under upwards and downwards pressure. The market has to wait and see what happens with the American strategic reserve. Steel production is up, coal production down.

Business Roundup

It's a strange recession. GM, IBM and US Steel all turned in record profits, and one list of 500 firms shows an average 6% gain, although if you take autos and steel out, profits are 8% down. The NYSE handed out $917 million to stockholders in total. Meanwhile, banks have dropped $1.6 billion in loans and picked up $1.2 billion in bonds. Unemployment is up, as seen already. The textile indistry in particular is "swooning," with production down 20%, some mills running four days a week, and another chain cutting wages 8%. Although as Barney Gimbel points out, profits of 20% on shoddy shirts means there's plenty of room for industry to suffer before anyone starts to care. Base metal prices are also down, meaning cheaper electrical goods. The Federal Reserve is loosening up its Regulation W restrictions on consumer credit, although the retroactive rent increases allowed under the new housing regulations might put a damper on consumer spending. (Because landlords don't consume. That's why.) It is also loosening reserve restrictions, although banks aren't sure what to do with the money if there's no good business to loan it out to, and might just end up buying bonds. In Chicago, Sewell Avery survived the latest annual general meeting in fine form, in spite of Sears going from being 20% bigger than Montgomery Ward to almost twice as big in four years. As Avery will tell you, however, it'll all end in tears when America gets a real close-up look at this Roosevelt fellow.
And over at Fairchild Engine and Aircraft, Sherman Fairchild continues to battle the ridiculous $25,000 pension for Chairman Carlton Ward, and, ultimately, for control of the company again. ATT is going to issue $400 million in stocks, American and Japanese steamship lines are having rate-fixing conferences, and Milliron's new Los Angeles store has rooftop parking in a miracle of modern civil engineering. Infra Roast, of Boston, is offering grocery stores a self-serve vending machine that will roast a pound of green coffee in a minute. Proven world oil reserves are up to 78 billion barrels, 24 billion of that American. The Ohio legislature has sent the proposed $210 million "rubber railroad" conveyor belt from Lake Erie to the Ohio River to committee, which will postpone it indefinitely. British exports dropped from $640 million to $550 million in April.

Fortune's Wheel This month, more about the abstruse new "mathematical theory of strategy," or "game theory" that is all the rage right now. Editor John McDonald interviewed John von Neumann for the article, and then ran what the great man had to say through Professor Ernest Nagel, who, Ronnie says, is even smarter than Neumann, which leaves us both a bit gobsmacked, since we know how smart our guy is, which leaves us wondering about the other guy. Economists are also impressed, and think that "game theory" might be the first mathematical tool that can beat the stock market. Wouldn't that be something? Although also the very definition of "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" On a more mundane note, there's a big article on Admiral Corporation, which is making big waves in television marketing and also in pushing back against that Zenith ad campaign about how only it has a turret tuner. It's all sales until Fortune gets its big article about "the technical problems of telecasting in both VHF and UHF" out. But guess what? Admiral's good at sales! finally, Fortune's Wheel talks about the article about the "Class of 49" that The Economist has also talked about. At some point we're even going to read the actual article!

Fifty years of UHF never quite becoming a thing to go!

"The Slump --And What To Do About It" A very reasonable introduction to Fortune's crackpot remedies. We even get a review of what Keynes thinks is the solution, which is a bit obscure, because it involves the "money illusion," which might, as far as I can guess, mean that we ignore inflation, which allows the economy to cut wages by stealth and restore employment. Maybe? On to the recommendations! Fortune stakes out Leon Keyserling of the CEA as the man who is too Keynesian, but says that Truman should start planning for public works now, in case the economy needs them to soak up unemployment and stimulate consumption later. They take a while to work. 

Beyond that, the seven point programme calls for no encouragement for wage increases; rolling back the Brannan farm support scheme; more credit expansion by the FRB, notably a cut in the discount rate; current account deficit spending, to be mopped up by "book-keeping reforms;"  an actual deficit budget for next year, perhaps via tax cuts; and disbursal of federal funds to current public works by states and municipalities. Boring, Fortune admits, but probably enough to do the job. The lesson of the Depression is that we knew all we needed to fix it, and we just didn't try hard enough, and this here programme is what is meant by "hard enough."

Call me a kid, but I had no idea that that was the lesson of the Dirty Thirties! I thought it was more like, "Capitalism is failing."

All of that was very sensible and reasonable, and you are probably wondering where the firebrands who've been roiling up Fortune in recent months have gone. Well, look no further!

"Who is 'Containing' Who?" Now that it is strictly a business magazine, it only makes sense to give an article to Edgar Mowrer, who thinks we need to face down Russia now, never mind namby-pamby containment. Mowrer thinks that if we keep pushing, the Russians will crack soon enough; but if we don't China will be followed by entire continent(s). I guess if we know one thing, it's that starting a war is good for slumps!

"Those Prosperous Farmers" Farm price subsidies will be the death of us all. Farmers never had it so good, Kansas is "burgeoning." The Department of Agriculture is too big. Henry Wallace is for price supports, which shows that it is creeping socialism. Etc. Mainly, America needs to cut price supports down to low floors.

John Hanes calls for a "Tax Policy for Enterprise" that eases up on depreciation and cuts taxes on dividends and other return on capital so that they are not taxed as gains and then as income. Canada, we hear for the millionth time, does things right. 

Another recommendation is deregulation of the railroads to prevent "The Coming Crisis in Transportation" when trucks take all the freight. 

"General MacArthur Replies" Anyone who read Fortune's article about SCAP would  have noticed that it was a "hit" job full of cherry-picked statistics, so SCAP's reply is an easy home run. Japan needs to export, and it took a heavy blow when it lost its empire. Fortunately, its 81 million industrious people are making rapid progress under the leadership of General MacArthur, with the second fastest economic expansion in the world after Germany, while the Koumintang goes down in endemic corruption and military incompetence, so suck on it, Henry. 

The Editors, left to pick up after Henry Luce, do their best, and basically end by saying that they have to admit that SCAP's record is good, but it could have been better. I wonder what Fortune will look like the month that the Koumintang flees the continent. Is there some new technology that will print a magazine directly on an apoplectic fit?

"Industrial Los Angeles" Ordinarily, we ignore at least two articles about growing businesses per issue. This month, we also ignore an article about "industrial Los Angeles." It's not th at it isn't interesting, it's that it's not relevant. 

Oil, ships, fish, steel. No aerospace?

"The Class of '49" Here it is, the article! Fortune talks about 1200 campusses and 150,000 graduates, the largest college class of all time. It is also the most senior, with an average age of 24. Seventy percent are veterans, 30% are married. They are focussed and eager to be useful to business. We seek security at the expense of entrepeneurship, distrust hucksterism, fear ulcers, and just want to work for ATT, sink roots and live the good life. There's lots of generalisations, but not much hard information. Unless I missed something in the skimming, it is not for pages and pages that I finally get to a fact: Starting wage is up to $60/week from $25 in 1939. Another page, and we learn that, whereas in 1929, 27% of students majored in English, philosophy, classics, modern languages, and history, in 1949 the number was down to 10%. I am not sure how modern languages came to be lumped in with the higher criticism. I think being able to speak the customer's language might even come in handy at some point! So there you go. We're anxious, skeptical, gregarious, mature, practical, competent and community conscious. 

That's me, your very own Class of '49er! (Ronnie is in the top 10% at least, but you knew that.) Which is all very well, but when I consider that this comes from the publisher of the Fortune Survey, I'm a little disappointed.  Where are the statistics?

"In Television, Admiral's Hot" Again, I am ignoring this because it is a sales article. Fortune is promising a technical article soon. 

"Modern Art Goes to Sea" Pretty pictures from ocean liners!

"The Return of Tourism" Tourism has to be a huge part of the story of bringing the dollar surplus back to balance. In the 20 years 1920--1940, Americans spent $8 billion abroad, and $2 billion in Europe and the Mediterranean in 1938 alone. In 1947, by contrast, it was $157 million, and in 1948 it rose to $217 million. The ECA is planning on $8 billion over the next four years. This is mostly being made possible by the rapidly increasing number of ocean liners. The ECA hopes that Americans will discover the delights of travelling in spring and fall, and promises that soon, travellers of all nationality will be able to travel from one end of ERP Europe to the other as though "it were a single sovereignty."

John MacDonald, "A Theory of Strategy" The promised article on game theory, as propounded by John v. Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern in Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour, out two years ago in a second edition. It is a good explanation of the subject, which is basically a statistical treatment of optimising outcomes in situations where there are limited numbers of choices. I personally think that it's a bit overrated as a strategic guide, but there's a great example of its use for deploying forces, the "Colonel Blotto problem," which does illustrate its uses. And if it is oversold, well, everything gets oversold.

"Printing With Powders" We've heard about "xerography," which is using dry powders to "print" a picture on a page. Invented by Chester Carlson and marketed by the Haloid Corporation, it has now led to a commercial xerographic devicce, the XeroX copier. You just lay a letter on the top screen, and 45 seconds later, a copy comes off the roller. 

"Xerography: A Jolt for the Graphic Arts" Dry photographic reproduction could be the next big thing! This is actually a pretty good article about the invention and development of the XeroX that goes into a great deal of detail about all the work that was done by people who weren't Chester Carlson and will therefore never be known as the inventor who invented everything. Battelle modestly says that there wasn't much research involved, but that's only if you take a very high falutin' view of what research is. The truth is that "xeroprinting" has been around for years and years, but this is the first xeroprinter that, in use, doesn't end up just producing a sodden mass of blackened paper with the smudged outline of an image where the colour is darkest. 

The Law covers a lawsuit in New York that might change the way that corporations are governed, and Senator Lodge's plan to reform the Electoral College, which is technically the body that elects the President, but is really so much of a formality that the whole thing seems like a very worthy waste of time. 

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