Friday, September 15, 2023

Postblogging Technology, June 1953, I: Boom, Baby, Boom!

Speaking of The Organisation Man, I'd do "Little Boxes," but I've already done it, and I kind of agree with Tom Lehrer that it's the most sanctimonious song ever.

The Oriental Club,

Dear Father:

I hope you're enjoying the Coronation. Not only am I jealous as can be, but just thinking about it has my mind turning to the madness of moving with two babies, even if it's almost two months away. In the mean time, you're missing a beautiful month in Vancouver.

I kid. Rain. Okay, it's not so bad. Somehow I've volunteered to stroll Maggie to sleep so that I can enjoy the gardens in the rain, which I am about to do as soon as I finish this. Not many young mothers do that sort of thing in this neighbourhood! Which reminds me that I am dying to ask Grace what she thinks of the birth rate numbers out of the US Census. It turns out that the wartime "baby boom" never ended. I wonder if that explains all the Park Forest-style conformity and social group think that Fortune is so upset about. Too many babies! 

Just wait until they all get to college, I say. 

Your Loving Daughter,


 The Economist, 6 June 1953


"Recessional" We missed the coronation issue, and The Economist is sad that it's over and we're bacl to being all broody and introspective.  We shouldn't! We should be outward looking and run the Commonwealth and stuff like that. 

"Temptation of a Taftism" Senator Taft is the "Mephistopheles of the Western Alliance" because he keeps saying that America would be better off to "go it alone." There are, in fact, Taftites in every country, The Economist says, before heading off to America and Republicans repudiating "Democratic" entanglements. That would be bad, and someone should do something, and probably not Churchill, who is being an idiot about it.

"Dr. Adenauer and the Parties" Campaigning for the "momentous Federal German election" has begun. The Economist summarises the party platforms .

"Citizens of Colour" The Economist is in favour of some people migrating somewhere for work, as long as it isn't more coloured people coming to Britain. For very good reasons, it goes on to explain at length that only assume that they're not smart enough to adapt to Britain. Britain isn't short of unskilled labour (it turns out), and after some unseemly gloating about how "disinflation" has impacted the British standard of living and reduced emigration, which is apparently a good thing, the magazine, which can't bear to advocate removing the actually existing and visibly integrating "coloured" population of major port cities, calls the incomers "separate and sub-standard." 

Notes of the Week

He's Jewish? I never noticed!
  The Economist really enjoyed the Coronation, but is disappointed that the Coronation Honours wasn't used, as is traditional, to defenestrate some cabinet members by raising them to the Lords. Syngman Rhee can take his veto on a Korean armistice that doesn't reunify the peninsula and stuff it where the Sun doesn't shine, as far as The Economist is concerned, and it is nice that Eisenhower told him so, but now we should probably throw Rhee an unspecified bone or two. The Economist is getting fed up with Mr. Dulles after the Middle East tour. The TUC, (or anyway the members just knighted), isn't upset enough about steel denationalisation for Labour, but they're right up the magazine's alley!  Last week, Pravda carried an article entitled "Soviet Trade" that admonished economic writers to stop promoting Stalin's idea that money had been all but abolished in some sectors of Soviet agriculture and that this would be gradually extended. Peasants will be relieved to know that they can still trade privately, and that this is a fundamental aspect of the Soviet economy for the foreseeable future. Also, Stalin was wrong. Again. 

"French Bevanism" France is this close to a "neutralist," socialist, government that would negotiated its way out of Indo China, Tunisia and Morocco under Pierre Mendes-France. 

"New Appointments for Kenya" The appointment of General Sir George Erskine as commander-in-chief in Kenya signals that the situation there is now an "Emergency" in the Malayan sense, that is, a military operation, while his newly-created command may have a role in the developing situation in Egypt, too. Hopefully Sir Frederick Crawford will do an equally good job of "economic reconstruction" based on his experience in Northern Rhodesia. 

"Wrong Move in Nyasaland" Meanwhile, in Northern Rhodesia, Africans have been violating the colour bar by entering "hotels and restaurants reserved for Europeans," which The Economist takes as a salutary warning for Europeans in those parts, while in Nyasaland Africans are demonstrating against the federation, leading the Governor to deport two activists, Chief Gomani and the Reverend Michael Scott, which the magazine deems more embarrassing than anything else. If they did something wrong, then charge them. Don't just dump them out of the country. 

"Rocks on the China Coast" Senator McCarthy has made a "temporary withdrawal from the public eye," so we can all calm down and figure out just what is happening off the Chinese coast. The "hundred ships, many of them British, carrying strategic supplies to Communist troops in Korea" turn out to be a much smaller number of foreign-owned ships making voyages to Chinese ports, often in ballast, to pick up cargoes. The "two British ships carrying Chinese Communist troops" turn out to be one seized vessel and one chartered under protest to carry soldiers between Canton and Hainan in June of 1951 and not since repeated.   

"Welfare and the Family"  The Lords had an "outstanding" debate on social welfare and the family the other day. Apart from some silly nostalgia for an imagined Nineteenth Century order, it was mainly about the real problem, which is that all that social welfare money is just promoting juvenile delinquency, unstable marriages, and an inadequate birth rate. Something must be done, although one must be careful not to suggest that it is necessarily cutting social welfare spending. Why, the magazine is even open to increasing it! Right now. 

"Propaganda by Picture" The Coronation made great television, and you can be sure that the Reds will be broadcasting their own televised propaganda any day now, and that it will be fiendishly effective, and what about that? 

"Academic Account" University student enrollment is falling in Britain, too, with 2000 fewer students this year than last. Costs are rising, but funding probably isn't rising fast enough. 

We're still waiting on the Soviet budget, while the tariff and trade congress in Vienna is being treated to the airing of some refreshingly frank and controversial opinions as it waits for a clear statement of the Administration's position. Also, London's population has begun to creep up again towards its prewar size. It is no longer growing at the expense of the rest of the country, and the city's population is increasingly concentrated at the outskirts, with a likely population in the London Transport Area of 10 million by 1971.

From The Economist of 1853 we have "Rumours of War." Turkey is being firm, and Russia will probably retreat in the face of a resolute front, as it usually does. "Russia never abandons a design, but is always ready to postpone it[.]" Also, Austria is being "insolent" to Piedmont and Switzerland, so in both East and West France and Britain must be united and resolute to prevent war by intransigently standing up to the bully. I know we're not big historians around here, but I can't help pointing out that the Crimean War breaks out next year. To get a bit more complicated, it also led to another war in Italy between "Piedmont" and Austria in 1859. I guess all this resolution saved Switzerland, at least! 

Russian artillery versus British cavalry. I think I saw a blog post about this the other day.


C. A. R. Crosland explains Britain's Economic Problem, which explains that the main problems are the global shortage of food and raw materials, the instability of the American economy, with its frequent recessons reverberating around the world, and the structural dollar shortage. Can the world possibly endure this shortage, which seems so serious and irremediable? Well, no! Close the lot, dynamite everything, start over! "It will be many years before American imports greatly increase; so the dollar problem will continue." The solution? Even more bossing-around of the sterling area combined with even more coal, steel and engineering from Britain. Cyril Connally's Ideas and Places is mostly a reprint of his "Comments" from Horizon, and is a record of his "war against his enemies." Whereas this review is a metaphorical dead horse. (A metaphor of a metaphor! You see, the book is clever, and so is the review, and so is my summary of the review. Cleverness for all!) I think it might really be about how serious writers can't make a living writing seriously? T. W. Hutchinson's A Review of Economic Doctrines is a very worthy book about how economics isn't getting very far very fast. Ivor Bulmer-Thomas has The Party System of Great Britain, available in flame-proof binding for liberal application to the sufferers in the Fifth Circle of Hell. Andre Maurois has a life of George Sand, Lelia, which isn't so much reviewed as the more interesting biographical details (which is to say, the ancestry and lovers of this incredibly boring writer --I'M BEING SARCASTIC GEORGE SAND IS GREAT!!!!) are briefly noted.


 P. Bordes writes to point out that the devaluation of the Indo-Chinese piastre wasn't "bold" so much as stupid. The Editors think it was worthwhile to prevent the outward flow of "hot" money from France at the expense of stepping on some toes, which surely won't come back to haunt anyone DURING A CIVIL WAR!!! Harry Goldberg says that The Economist should stop calling the Christian Democrats "clericalists," because then Italian leftists might vote for the brutal totalitarianism of Togliatti-Nenni. The reviewer of "Mr. Lipton's book" is upset at the comments of "Mr. Lipton," which do not take rural depopulation seriously enough. 

American Survey

"How Much Is Enough in the Air?" It has been clear for a month that the Administration doesn't intend to build up the air force to the same extent as planned by the Truman Administration. It still came as a surprise when the first draft of the budget had the Air Force taking the whole of the $5 billion cut, and as a scandal when Charlie Wilson described the budget as giving "More defence at less cost." This led Senator Margaret Chase of Maine to address "32 pointed questions" at the Secretary. The actual current strength of the Air Force is 106 wings. Truman aimed for a 143 wing force; the new Administration has abandoned a definitive target, but intends to cut 5 of the proposed 57 wings of SAC and another 18 wings across troop-carrying, transport and fighter-bomber wings. No-one argues that the 143 wing force wasn't on target to be met or that fewer, better aircraft reduces the impact of obsolescence, but Wilson (and more importantly, the "more effective" Kyes) are arguing that the deficit can easily be made up by ramping up production, something the whole experience of the last three years shows to be ridiculous. And on top of cutting the Air Force to the consternation of Senator Taft and his allies, the Administration is reducing the focus on heavy bombers in favour of medium bombers based overseas and on carriers, which makes the European alliances even more important. Besides which there is the impact on the industry and of the manpower cuts on readiness. What a mess!

"Pinching Money" Our Correspondent In New York reports that it is once again a surprise to "even the most sophisticated investors" that hard money is hard. "When the case for indirect measures to control inflation, in preference to wage and price controls, was being argued, the opponents maintained that indirect action could not be made to work. Now the scoffers seem to be arguing that such action works all too well, while those who have  urged the use of monetary controls are protesting that they did not mean them to be used so much." The bond market is in tatters and something needs to be done, but right now Wall Street is in a funk because it is sure that nothing will be done. 

American Notes

"Who Makes Foreign Policy?" Senator McCarthy or whoever is sitting on him this month? Senator Taft, whose Cincinnati speech caused such a stir? Or, just  possibly, the President, who went out on a limb this week by saying that he doesn't think that all trade between the West and the Communist bloc should be stopped. Congress, meanwhile, might adjourn until January, since Congress wants a holiday from Washington and the Administration wants a holiday from Congress. And even though the new United States Information Agency has been hived off from State to report to the National Security Council, Dulles still gets veto power over appointments and no longer  has to deal with "informing" Congress, so in effect this is more power for Dulles. And the petroleum industry wants protection, arguing that domestic exploration and development is being held back by cheap imports. Coal agrees!

The World Overseas

"Japan's Economic Prospects" Japan needs "to cut costs, rationalise methods and stand on its own feet" if it is to have any hope of surviving the end of the Korean War. Some economically-stimulatory rearmament would be good, too. France is "the sick man of Europe" again, the Kano riots were something closer to an intertribal civil war, part of the "birth pangs" of the Nigerian nation. Italy is still going to have an election. New Zealand is going to have one. There's definitely something going on in Indonesia, but what it is, is not exactly clear. The ECSC is arguing about the price of steel. Apparently French are holding their prices artificially low by not fully accounting for depreciation, while the Belgians are cheating. 

The Business World

"Strategy for Sterling" The new strategy is to focus on British exports, increasing convertibility, resisting overtures to liberalise trade, and develop primary production in the overseas Commonwealth. Good ideas, but how to implement them?

Business Notes
Gold reserves are expected to trend down through October but there won't be a balance of payments crisis this year. We sure spent a lot of money on the Coronation! The Government of Tanganyika has just issued a bond at a good rate, industrial production is still increasing, just as the budget anticipated, at least as far as we can tell. Bank deposits are up, the Government is well along with reopening the London and Liverpool grain exchanges so that Britons can play with grain futures again without having to work through proxies in Chicago. (Ronnie's Daddy is sad!) Brazil is in arrears something or other, oh, those Latins! Ecuador is trying to settle its defaulted debt on  unacceptable terms, 

"More Aviation Spirit" Europe has been consuming more than 30,000 barrels of aviation gas a year of late, out of 82,000 barrels being burned outside the United States, with the number increasing for now and unlikely to fall below 27,000 barrels by 1961, and virtually no production in Europe. With the loss of Abidjan's 18,000 barrels, dependence on America is pretty complete and a serious problem, so now all that criticism of Shell for building a "platforming unit" at the new Stanilow refinery at a cost of (gasp) £3.5 million to produce same is looking like penny pinching, even if demand for aviation gas will fall as jets come into their own. Britain and Germany have an elaborate agreement to ship £2 million in cars to each other, which is nice, but more than offset by the Indian government's plan to have all foreign cars shipped in as knockdowns, with no more than 72% imported parts, and assembled in just five factories, leaving foreign manufacturers scrambling to get as many as possible of their cars through those five gates. There were fewer strikes in 1952, although lost production might have been greater than in 1951, the return to private enterprise sugar imports means more discussions with Commonwealth sugar producers and traders to ensure that higher-than-world prices are paid for Commonwealth sugar, against the temptations of dollar-area Cuban production. The Meteors-for-cotton trade with Brazil is getting complicated.

Or standard selection criteria means that we miss the double-length, crammed-with-pictures Coronation issue celebrating "the Monarch of the Air Age." On the other hand, check out this week's cover. Every plane is the Elizabethan plane!


"Wanted --A Bigger Flag" Britain isn't sending nearly enough stuff to the Paris Aero Show. Aside from that, Flight has no opinions because it is tired from having all of the  opinions last week. 

"Supersonic Bangs: An Authoritative Report: Experiment and Theory Discussed" G. M. Lilley, et al, of the College of Aeronautics, explains exactly how sonic booms happen and shows that they are a pretty serious business. A small jet may breaking the sound barrier below 5000ft may cause "physical pain" to people on the ground. 

"'Off-the-Board' Considerations" Speaking on aircraft production to the Handley-Page annual general meeting, Sir Frederick Handley-Page said that the Victor had been ordered direct from the drawing board, but such orders can only work if they are made early enough, and in sufficient quantity to justify tooling at the same time as the design is completed, and that it risks producing an entire fleet of prototypes, at least as far as service pilots are concerned. Also, unduly small orders remain false economy. Also, the American air industry is huge, although it is not obvious how the current 1200 commercial machines are going to pay their way through the winter and against increasing British turbine competition. In related news, the RCAF  has received its first Comet IA. 

From All Quarters reports that the first Swift 4, now in super-priority production, has made its maiden flight. British sportsman Tom Hayhow's body has been recovered from a wreck in the Austrian Alps. Wily Messerchmitt says that the German air industry is on the verge of a revival, Robert Desoutter has died, and the British Plastics Exhibition and Conference is coming up. 

Aircraft Intelligence reports that the F-86H gets almost 9000lb thrust from its GE J73s, allowing it to keep up with the MiG-15. The Fairey Rotodyne's noise level is said to be "encouraging." Everyone look at the Vickers Viking of the Queen's Flight and see how its wings aren't falling off! The four-engined B-47C (with Allison J71s now that we know we'll never see the J35) will be much more economical than previous, six-engined versions.

Here and There reports that An Aquila Solent will be doing 150-mile "luxury tours" of the Coronation Naval Review. More details of the aerial survey of housing sites in Sheffield by Meridian Air Maps are now available. The first Australian Canberra has made its maiden flight. Kurt Tank thinks that the MiG-15 is a copy of one of his designs. The Standard Telephone VHF/DF set up  used to give direct, line of sight communication with the Bomber Command Canberra fly past during the RAF coronation review uses a special aerial system to give accuracy of better than 1 degree across a 40 degree sector. 

"Electronics on Review" Flight recently attended a show sponsored by the Electronic Engineering Association "at the instigation of the Ministry of Supply."  Very brief blurbs of about a paragraph per company along with terrible pictures. Mullard had a "punch card tester!" Cossar showed "Gee Mark 11!" Stratton showed its well known "Eddystone" series of communication devices. And so on. Still more interesting than the review of modern vertical-twin motor cycle engines possibly suited for ultralight aircraft. 

"Victory at Sea: The Finish" Has Flight mentioned how much it has been enjoying Victory at Sea? Well, it has! Just maybe discourage Uncle George from watching it. 

"The Canberra: Under Construction And in the Air" The Canberra was a simple design inspired by the German lead in jet planes, including the first jet bomber, and production was hastened by many British machine tools and the adoption of the "loft plate" system, in which final production design drawings were done on aluminum plates, allowing for direct measurement from the drawing and easy reproduction. Then Flight went along on some test flights, which are much easier to make with a new radio system that allows the flights to go more than 25 miles from the tower. Once tested, they are flown to the squadrons, because the RAF is re-equipping with Canberras just as fast as it can. 

Ilford, Limited, has developed a satisfactory British replacement for dimensionally stable film base for air survey work that used to be procured in the United States. The Industry reports mostly personnel moves, but also Avica Equipment's line of end fittings for rigid tubes. 


The Royal Aero Club pays for this picture to be
 in the public domain, FlightGlobal
R. E. Gillman of the Vintage Aeroplane Club is worried that the Nash Collection of historic aeroplanes might be sold to an American. Who would tell interminable stories about the old days, before the war, without props like these? B. V. Gemmell, a flight instructor at No. 19 RFS, and so one of the instructors facing redundancy as the Government moves to shut the schools down, complains that flight instructors like him are needed to develop "air sense." J. Noel Jackson doesn't believe in shell shock. All that's needed is for the RAF to recruit pilots who like flying! A vigorous discussion of the old days, before the war, breaks out between Flight and three correspondents in the corner.

Civil Aviation reports that an ICAO delegation is off to Indonesia to see what is up over there, while Central African Airways is re-equipping with DC-3s, Colonel McCormick might be buying a Vickers Viscount, and KLM's Commander J. J. Moll is retiring after 28 years and 5 million air miles as an airline pilot (mostly). BALPA is upset at the Karachi Comet crash being blamed on the pilot. 
The Economist, 13 June 1953


"Armistice?" A Korean armistice seems to be at hand after the agreement on POWs. The Economist does its best to find the gray lining in the silver cloud. Then it's off to Moscow to review "Malenkov's Hundred Days." Things are looking good, but call for the utmost patience and caution, because you know those Reds! If there is a Korean armistice, then maybe there could be a four powers meeting. 

"The Crumbling Ration Book" Meat and butter rations are to be increased, although what with prices and the worldwide shortage of meat, it will be years before people can enjoy prewar quantities. Flour will come off the ration in August and the Government is spending dollars ($64 million)on Cuban sugar as well in order to bring it off the ration. Meat and fats can't be derationed because industrial demand for fat would shoot up, butter won't be in sufficient supply until people stop drinking whole milk, but branded margarine should be back next winter. Cheese is a difficult case because the ration is almost as large as prewar cheese consumption and the ration isn't completely taken up. It can probably be derationed without problems, especially since the meat ration is increasing. Bacon is unofficially unrationed already since supply is well above demand, and should have been derationed long ago, except that the Ministry of Agriculture is buying Danish and British bacon and making a profit on the former and a loss on the latter, meaning that British farmers will lose a subsidy if bacon comes off the ration, or the Government will have to buy all the inferior British bacon. Meat, too, is mainly on the ration because British prices are guaranteed. Britain should probably just be done with rationing, it seems. 

"Britain and Luxembourg" Two pages on Britain's relationship with the ECSC. In conclusion, there is nothing to fear from European steel, but Britain can't be an associate member because double pricing of British coal probably has to go, which can't mean increased prices for coal at home for political reasons, while British coal is already the cheapest in Europe. The solution would seem to be to procrastinate and see how things look in five years or so.  

From The Economist of 1853 we have "Plunge Into War?" Our resolute stand for peace seems to have led to war. We regret nothing. It is the crowned heads of Europe who are behind it. We, the ordinary people of Europe just want prosperity, including editors who were just last week demanding that said crowned heads "stand resolute" against Russian ambitions.


Notes of the Week

.  The prime ministers of the Commonwealth are in agreement that good is nice and General Naguib is a great, gross horsey-head. 

"Amity and Television" Parliament is in a good mood after the Coronation holiday and the Korean POW agreement. But considering the debacle that was the American networks handling of the Coronation telefilm, it seems as though the question of starting commercial television in this country, which barely passed the Commons last year mainly because a small number of Conservative back benchers were so strongly in favour of it, might be revisited, in which case no more amity. 

The face of the man who gets to wear Dien Bien Phu
National Archives
"M. Bidault Tries in Vain" the Economist's worst nightmare of a Mendes-France government has been beaten back, but France still has no government, as Bidault tries in his turn to put together a majority, and fails. That leaves Pleven to try. Unless Pinay relents and agrees to attempt to form a government, it is not clear who the President can turn to. 

"General Ridgeway Reports" Ridgeway's report on the defences of Western Europe on the occasion of his retirement as Supreme Commander is naive and unsubtle even if accurate about the deficiencies of Nato's defences in northern Europe. 

There hasn't been a Note about the breakthrough at Panmunjom yet, so here's one. What's left to say? Oh, the Prime Minister made a good speech and here's a toast to the negotiators, who did their job in spite of all the criticism from the cheap seats. Also, Communism is bad. 

Africa is in the Notes, with the Government of Kenya banning the Kikuyu political party, which is bad and short-sighted, and the Goverment summarily rejecting Opposition amendments to the Federation Bill, which is only terrible in part. School sexual inequality is in the news. More girls do better in school, fewer girls go to college. But don't worry, it is because girls are more mediocre than boys (more bad boys, more good boys.) That's certainly one explanation! 

Senator Taft explained his Cincinnati speech while announcing his "temporary retirement" as leader of the Senate: He's against the UN but in favour of alliances as long as our allies do exactly what we say. In a responsive speech in Minneapolis, the President said, "Watch my eyes roll!" Speaking of which, Dr. Adenauer is not impressed with the Prime Minister talking up a Four Powers meeting when he's trying to shore up  his left wing ahead of the elections, so he's telling people that he's afraid of some devious Communist trap. Prince Akihito's visit for the Coronation is a moment to meditate on the fact that Japan is an important, friendly country again, with an new and improved constitution to bring out that sparkling democratic feeling in the  monarchy. Hopefully. There's a threat to press freedom in Switzerland, of all places.

"Goodbye to Famine in India" Prime Minister Nehru says that India will be self sufficient in food by next year. This is "heartening; but it is also surprising." India's main deficiencies are in domestic production of grain and rice. The five year plan calls for a substantial increase in both by 1956, but not in the next year. Imports of food in 1953 are expected to be 2.5 million tons, and productivity has room to improve just to regain prewar levels, and there is not much room to cut food consumption when average calorie intake is also low, 80% of prewar levels. There's a Russian wheat deal in the works. In conclusion, Dr. Nehru is blowing smoke. 

"Preserving England" The Council for the Preservation of England doesn't just protect thatched cottages. It also fights to maintain access to public land, opposes pollution, and fights billboards, and does so with very little money. It's a good thing. Donate! Also, there's a lot of accidents out there, and a lot still to be done to make homes and roads safer. 

It's like they're psychic
"Storm Signals in Soviet Germany" There isn't much sign of building socialism, people are fleeing to West Berlin, collectivisation is unpopular, inflation is galloping, and recent concessions by the government are a clear sign of weakness and will worsen inflation. If a currency reform follows, recent unrest in Czechoslovakia is a sign of what might happen here.

J. Hurstfield, The Control of Raw Materials in The History of the Second World War is a good history of the work and the struggles that the control board had to get adequate shipping, but a trifle too concerned with statistics gathering. The reviwer goes on to say that there are many individual stories of controllers of the various raw materials yet to be told, and the reviewer sounds very knowledgeable about various ' "adventures," and hopes that some of them will be told before it is too late. Lord Pakenham's Born to Believe is the "warm-hearted" but "unintellectual" autobiography of one of those British politicians that you might have lost track of after they are raised to the Lords. In this case not so much, as the title is the family name, and this is the same undistinguished Labour politician who was briefly in turn Deputy Foreign Secretary, Minister of Civil Aviation, and First Lord. Walter Goerlitz's The German General Staff is paired withTelford Taylor's Sword and Swastika to tell the inglorious history of the German army's high command and its relationship to Hitler, mostly, although Goerlitz goes back to the Napoleonic Wars. Taylor is much more critical, as might be expected of a former Nuremberg prosecutor. Vivian Ogilvie's Our Times: A Social History, 1912--1952 is more of a miscellany than a true social history, but fun and profusely illustrated. D. P. Bickmore's Oxford Travel Atlas of Britain is perfect for holiday planning, says The Economist. Hey! Facetious comments are my job! There's seven "text and reference books" briefly reviewed next page, so you know where to go to find out that Iron and Steelworks of the World is a "very useful compendium." No kidding!

American Survey

"Crusade Meets Congress"  The President holding a televised press conference (complete with all the Madison Avenue tricks) to explain why his first bumbling five months in office were, in fact, a "crusade" isn't a bad sign about his presidency at all! He's feeling his way into the job. It's not like he's ever been the executive of a large enterprise before, after all, and it is perfectly understandable, if regrettable, that he has completely lost control of Congress and won't be able to act on his refugee immigration, St. Lawrence Seaway, Hawaii, or Taft-Harley revision platforms this year. Also, the wheat harvest is just far too big, and it is very embarrassing for Secretary Benson to be asking farmers for quotas. 

American Notes 

"Time for Economic Advice" The President's scheme to reorganise the Council of Economic Advisors has finally been put in place and he will start receiving economic advice from, say, the end of July. Also, Senator Bricker's proposed constitutional amendment forcing the President to get the approval of House, Senate, the state legislatures, and Myrtle Smithwick of Marieta, Georgia, has cleared the Senate. Now it just needs to be ratified to make sure that America never again makes a treaty with anyone. Because treaties are bad! They lead to things like the United Nations! Harvard has decided that "former membership in the Communist Party or a refusal to answer Congressional investigators" is not a cause for dismissing professors. The Economist is not impressed with half measures. 

"Open Back Door" While Congress debates the President's emergeny proposal to allow 240,000 European immigrants over the next two years to solve the continent's refugee and population problems, "a stream of three thousand to six thousand immigrants a day is pouring over the southern border of the United States." The contradiction doesn't seem to worry Congress, which won't fund the Border Patrol, much less legislate minimum wages or penalise employers of illegal labour. For obvious reasons, although The Economist doesn't seem to see the irony in launching into the following Note, "Segregation Fading Away," which covers the Supreme Court decision forbidding DC-area restaurants from refusing Coloured patons, furthering the President's promise to end segregation in District of Columbia before launching into the various hopeful signs seen hee and there ahead of the Supreme Court ruling on "separate but equal." Also, all Washington is talking about "investment, not  aid," now, and the President is promising a complete revision of the tax laws, perhaps including a national sales tax and hopefully "more relief for the taxpayer."
The World Overseas

"Italy's Scylla and Charybdis" The Economist is very disappointed in the Italian voter. The Chinese Communist Party's position on the Korean truce is that it has no position on Korea except that North Korea is nice, and the Americans are being ridiculous, as usual, although fortunately their satellite "allies" are holding them back from further aggression at the behest of their peace-loving masses. Exactly how they are going to deal with the POW repatriation issue diplomatically remains to be seen.

"Drastic Medicine for the Czech Economy" The monetary devaluation and the abolition of rationing may together check the inflation there, but show the cost of rapid industrialisation, which has provoked the inflation by removing consumer goods which would have sopped up excess demand. The question is how the average citizen will react to having their savings wiped out if more consumer goods aren't available soon. And there seems to be some kind of constitutional or diplomatic crisis going on in Denmark, while New Zealand seems increasingly put off by this whole "sterling bloc" thing, and Rumania is having an "amnesty" that is supposedly like the one in Russia, but actually isn't. 

The Business World

"Television Space for Sale" A review of the state of play as potential British national television networks line up to apply for stations. There is not likely to be room within the eighty or ninety possible channels for all of the proposed national networks, but only two of those proposals are serious, so far. 

Shell's annual report shows that it is making enormous amounts of money from its enormous business, but there are worrying signs that world supply is likely to exceed demand soon and drive prices down. 

Business Notes

The Commonwealth Prime Ministers really aren't convinced by this whole "sterling bloc" thing, markets are up on news of the Korean truce, unemployment is down to 1.6% with the recovery in textiles, The engineering labour force increased by 120,000, or 3% in 1951, but there was little overall change in 1952 and is shrinking in 1953 as labour moves into textiles and consumer goods. There will be no concessions on the purchase tax, textile production is, as we've heard, up, de Havilland is making a £6 million share offer to raise more capital to build Comets, rubber is "in equilibrium," as mentioned earlier, branded margarine may be available soon, which will reduce pressure for more butter and ease the pressure on foreign currency earnings caused by other demands on butterfat. The Economist is still hoping for a coal crisis this year. Ceylon is having a balance of payments crisis, moves are being made to finance gold mining in South Africa in the wake of declining profits, and Rhodesian tobacco prospects seem to be in decline for the first time since the war, as acreage under leaf falls to 174,000 acres from 193,000 acres last year. 

"Cost of Defence Tools" The Government's decision two years ago to obtain the machine tools for rearmament from abroad to "moderate the load on British tool manufacturers seemed then, on balance, the right one." But we now know the cost of obtaining 8000 of the required 35,000 machine tools abroad, which was about £70 million, compared to the domestic procurement, eventually cut to 14,000 machine tools, costing £76.5 million. Half the imported tools had to be purchased in the United States, and cost 145% as much as equivalent British types, compared to 17% more for German and Belgian tools, while last year British industry produced 60,000 tools, worth £60 million, exporting a third by value. In spite of the costs, it was the right decision because it protected export markets for British machine tools, and some of the American tools were of specialised types that it only pays to produce in America for the large American market. 

"Soap and Synthetics" Sir Geoffrey Heyworth's address to the annual general meeting of Unilever focussed on the fight with Proctor and Gamble (which owns Thomas Hedley in the UK) over synthetic detergents. They're just not as good, Sir Geoffrey says, but they are cheaper, which is why Unilever launched Surf earlier in the year. Nevertheless, the success of powder detergents suggest that they have more going for them than Heyworth will concede, including working better in hard water. With its shaer of African oils and fats, Unilever needs to do something.

"Gas from the Coal Seam" The Economist reviews various experiments in gasifying coal right in the mine. "Percolation" sounds like it has potential.  


"Sound Thinking" "Professor Richards of Southampton University" told the joint R. Ae.S/Acoustics Group symposium that the best solution to loud jet engines is to design quiet ones. Sound thinking! 

"The Higher The Fewer" Wing Commander Gibb's new height record shows that British aerodynamics (the low wing loading of the Canberra and the V bombers) is great, and that the Bristol Olympus is at least as great as the Pratt and Whitney J57. 

From All Quarters reports that the first B-47 wing to be rotated to Britain has arrived. Ramsgate is reopening, Air Marshal Curtis has been elected vice-chairman of Avro Canada, the Australian Jindivik drone target aircraft is quite something, and the RAF is in a tournament.

 "Ferrying the Coronation Films" NBC potentially  had a two-hour scoop as its Canberra (a delivery flight to Venezuela) was encountering favourable weather and might have made a direct London-Boston crossing, the first by a jet aircraft, had it not run into mechanical troubles. As it was, the Canberra/Meteor flights got film to the CBC in Montreal well before chartered Mustangs brought the ABC and CBS films to New York, giving the Canadian broadcaster a two hour lead. DC6B and Stratocruiser "flying newsrooms" arrived several hours later with film edited in-air for CBS and NBC.

Here and There reports that,well nothing much. Sweden is having a national day air fly past, and Dr. Christopher Bareford is the new director at Woomera, and the Coronation Flypast was quite the affair. (Which is a separate article, for what it is worth.) And so was the Royal Naval Review and Flypast, which was also a separate article. Thirty-three FAA squadrons took part. 

Aircraft Intelligence reports that some SNCASE Armagnacs are going to be used as flying testbeds, that the McDonnell F3H-1 Demon is in test flying and will go to the fleet within months, that the North American XA2J-1 Savage is the turboprop successor to the AJ Savage and is quite the thing, as are Republic's XF-103, the all-titanium wonder plane, and the XF-105, which, unless I've missed it in a blur of Xs, is new to me. 

Our American Correspondent reports that Americans are unfortunately well behind on turboprops, that London Airport's noise problem is nothing compared with the New York Port Authority's, where there is a real possibility of mass demonstrations closing down Newark Airport, that Quentin Reynold's biography of Jimmy Doolittle is terrible, and if Boeing succeeds in getting the CAA to write aircraft regulations around "podded" jet engines, it will be quite a problem for British designs. 

J. H. Milsum, of the National Aeronautical Establishment of Canada has a booklet out about the design and construction of electrically heated windshields. 

"Aeronautical Acoustics: Problems of Noise Discussed at R. Ae. S. and Physical Society Joint Symposium" There are two problems, ground noise at airports and air noise, which effects everyone. The key to reducing air noise is lower jet velocities, either by baffles, or as people have been saying, lower velocity jets to start with. What no-one is saying is that the Rolls-Royce Conway, now in development for the VC7 and l(I think I've heard) later V bomber models, is the sole example of the latter, which means that a great many papers about baffles are people flailing to keep the Sapphire, Avon and whatever else comes down the pike in the way of true turbojets relevant. Ground noise at airports is a trickier matter and is going to involve sound-deadening in various ways. As for helicopters, they have their heads screwed on the right way and focus attention where it is needed, on raising sound limits so that helicopters can operate in cities! 

The Industry catches up with GEC's lighter magnets of moulded powder, Equipment Repairs, Ltd's light servicing vehicle, and  a nice video about what's going on at the Hymatic factory. (They're the compressed air specialists.) Saunders-Roe has a new chaplain(!), and the British Welding Association has a new comparator for determining "the basic characteristics of mild-steel arc-welding equipment."


M. Anderson hopes that the process of getting air passengers through from reporting to embarking is called "servicing," and not, as people are saying, "processing." W. H. Cazaly suggests that the idea that British people are windy about air travel is as silly as the idea that natives welcome it. (They don't like being napalmed, and the fact that rich Chinese, Japanese and Indian magnates fly is just "all same White Massa.") Anyway, it's beside the point because we're going to run out of petroleum in twenty-five years. Norman Jenks has opinions about what helicopter airports should be called, and people aren't done talking about Koolhoven machines in the old days, before the war. 

Civil Aviation reports the unveiling of the Avro Atlantic, the airliner based on the Vulcan, a sale of 20 Noratlas to Brazil,another speed record for a Viscount BEA service, to Cyprus, KLM's DC-6 entry into the New Zealand Air Race, a one-hop DC-6B California-Paris flight, and some silly remarks from Rickenbacker about the Comet and Viscount being uneconomical. He might have a point about the Comet, but he is completely wrong about the Viscount. 

Bryans Aeroquipment has some nice instrument testing equipment, Pest Control (UK) has done a demonstration of aerial spraying for grassland, and Service Aviation doesn't quite deny that they've been told not to take the Duke of Edinburgh up in a jet no matter how much he whines. 

Fortune's Wheel
reflects that the magazine had more than the usual difficulty justifying "The Transients" article last month because every time it tried to interview a subject, they asked what the point of the article was. Fortune reminds itself that whenever it gets down in the dumps, it repeats this "syllogism" to itself: "This country has changed a hell of a lot more than anyone realises; this subject is part of this country; therefore, this is a Fortune story." I can't even count how many ways this isn't a syllogism. And what about that "portrait" of John McCloy? It sure is a portrait! Then we get a brief look at two articles about selling that I am going to completely ignore. I mean, what's even the point? Obviously this magazine is aimed at salesmen who aim to be on the board one day. Why even tell them that you're pandering to them? They can get that from a Dale Carnegie course! 

Business Roundup looks at the recession we can't be having because if there's a recession, that means Republicans can't run an economy, and that's IMPOSSIBLE! Good news! It's just going to be a "mild downturn." Fortune hopes. It turns out that it is all because of tight money. After the Treasury and the Federal Reserve arranged for higher interest rates, it cost more to borrow, so people spent and invested less. Who would  have figured? But it was all in the good cause of stopping inflation, which, it turned out, was stopping anyway. By the way, has anyone noticed how high the birth rate is? Fortune has. It's another aspect of having so much money to burn, it figures. People can afford babies. Problem is, it also means lots of spending, on things like new schools. So, anyway, there's going to be a recession, and business won't be very good, so Fortune will bulk discount ads to the point where the articles barely wrap around them, and the articles it will run are  fluff articles about company presidents. Fortune has a plan. Do you?

Defence and Strategy, the new section started just in time for the Eisenhower defence cuts, reports that Charlie Wilson promises, stick a finger in his eye, that the defence cuts absolutely won't cut defence because the Truman Administration was spending too much and wasting it all. Also, we don't actually need to be ready for WWIII in 1954, because the Soviets won't be, either. At one point we even thought they were rushing to be ready in 1952, and then the Korean invasion suggested that we were going to slide into WWIII, hence the big buildup, and then there was the stretch out, and then Stalin died, and the Russians stopped testing atom bombs, and Beria, the man behind the atom programme, came back, showing that that wasn't because it was a failure. Maybe the Russians aren't rushing to build more atom bombs because they're not ready to fight? No, that's impossible. It must be because they are mass producing a standard design. Which sounds implausible, so maybe we'll go with the first explanation, but not say it out loud, and cut defence spending so we can finally fund a tax cut. And here we are. 


"It's Time to Uncover the Atom" For almost inscrutable reasons, Fortune puts the first page of this article opposite a beautiful but stranded full page picture of the Cabinet Gorge Dam, built by Ebasco Services in the wilds of northern Idaho ten years ago, when Pacific Northwest hydroelectric power seemed to be all public. (Ebasco does get a feature further on, but there's a reason the picture is here.) It's a triumph of American private enterprise, Fortune congratulates its chumps, I mean readers, and then it is on to the AEC opening up atomic power to private enterprise. Not the atom bomb, obviously. That has to stay secret, but atomic reactors, which we really should have been working on already before various foreigners got a lead. That means opening up about atomic things, which we need to do because never mind the Red menace, private enterprise! (More on that below.) 

Plus, the reason Eisenhower can't run the government is that it's still chock full of New Dealers, who are presumably hypnotising the idiots he put in his cabinet. Also, making pensions work in an inflationary era is hard, so let's keep an eye on the State of New York's public pension scheme. 

Republicans are fighting over who is going to clean up the government-owned Nicaro nickel plant in Cuba, an Randolph Burgess is going to bring Republican principles to the national debt, just you wait and see, and a bunch of factory workers in Fort Wayne, Iowa, were able to put together a package deal to fly to Paris together, which leaves Fortune not knowing what to think. Even given that many of them have saved six months earnings to do it, the magazine is worried this means they're being overpaid, especially compared to those "transient" middle-management executives who are building a new America in the utopias called housing estates. (Seriously, we have an article about that this month, looking at life in new developments like Park Forest, Illinois, where mobile executives can rent a nice apartment in an upwardly mobile community and participate in civil and social life with their own kind, etc.)

"The Atom: Ready for Business?" Can atomic reactors compete with more conventional sources of power? Probably, if they  use the more efficient reaction cycles that also burn the plutonium that  uranium turns into, or if the government pays them a good price for the plutonium they produce. Otherwise, the costs are murky, and Dr. Conant of Harvard thinks that nuclear power will be put in the shade when we figure out how to use solar power more efficiently than in current heating plant. Whatever we do, atomic power is ten years away.

And that's it, apart from the monthly Products and Processes feature that I am just going to extract directly. I mean, there are articles about the contesting rail and trucking lobbies going after each other in Washington that is probably important, and the scientific supply company General Biologicals gets a box story, but it is basically otherwise all selling, big men, and lots of Park Forest. 


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