Saturday, February 3, 2024

Postblogging Technology, October 1953, I: Cheque or Cash, It's Easy Money


Dear Father:

Well, here we are in London. I am seeing the sights, although a year of this and I might go a bit stir-crazy if I didn't have family business to attend to. I was up to Bray to meet the cast of what looks like a positively awful science fiction movie and ask searching questions about where are money is going, but by the books they're making money even before we "wash" the silver nitrate movements. Which isn't bad for such cheesy movies! Reggie has also been travelling, flying to Stockport to see (you must shoot me after reading this) Britain's Great White Hope to upset the F-100 speed record. He is officially there to worry over cooling servos, mostly electronic ones (which has implications for air-to-air missiles, too), but Fairey is apparently hoping for fighter sales and wants to get the word out in the USN. I don't know if anyone up there has met Reggie, but he is at least susceptible to a nice machine, even if he does think that fighters are a waste of time. 

London, by the way, is much livelier than I expected from stories told by certain older male relatives recently here resident. Perhaps it is just the lack of glum foreboding and uncertainty about the Eisenhower Depression. Or maybe it is because the Prime Minister has already had his stroke, so  you don't have to wake up every morning and turn on the radio to find out if Richard Nixon is your new President. (Instead you get to put money down on whether it will be Eden or RAB. Which is fun in a appalling sort of way.)

Your Loving Daughter,


The Economist, 3 October 1953


"Corrosive Myth" It turns out that Labour's latest statement on foreign policy is idealistic and fails to take into account the fact that Communism is terrible! Also, because that's not enough for three pages, here is why the latest Soviet diplomatic note is bad and terrible, and also why Churchill is a dotard. (A separate Leader spends two pages on the prospect of the party political conferences will be televised starting next year, which might be good, or possibly bad. More likely bad, though.)

"M. Laniel Before the Assembly" The ongoing French political and constitutional crisis is making it hard to manage the economy. 

"Doctors Under the Microscope" The Economist looks at a BMA report in last week's British Medical Journal and supposes that general practitioners might be going extinct due to the National Health Service. 

From The Economist of 1853 comes "Two Views of Bank Rate," explains that even though it is not obvious why it should be so, it is "wise discretion" that the Bank of England rate has gone up from 2.5% to 5% in the last two months. 

Notes of the Week

"Labour's Truce" The Economist explains what happened at the Labour Party Conference some more. And then again even more in the next Note

"Bases in Spain" The negotiations between Spain and the United States are over. The Americans get their bases, Franco gets some money, but not as much as he wanted, and diplomatic recognition, but not as much as he wanted. So it's a compromise, and not a disgraceful acquiescence to Fascism. 

"Alternatives on the Canal" The settlement of the Suez Canal situation this week may not be ideal (says Admiral Cunningham, which tells you all you need to know about the agreement between Naguib and Robertson), but what else is there to be done when the Treaty expires in 1956, anyway? The British garrison out in twenty months, British technicians to remain to operate the Canal until the Company winds up in 1968, per the Treaty, since the Egyptians can't possibly run anything as complicated as a canal on their own, I mean,what do Egyptians know about hydraulic management?

"Peace Talks on Indo-China" It is now official that the French are open to peace talks with the Communist bloc (the magazine sagely advises them to exploit divisions between the Chinese and Viet Namese), since General Navarre is winning the war with his vigour and complete independence within the French Union is a splendid offer that the colonies of Indo China would be insane to refuse. 

"The Rationing Score"  The end of sugar rationing was little marked, the Government didn't want to make an issue of it, and there must be enough sugar to go around, because the stores weren't stormed over it. The real difference will be on the industrial side, especially the soft drinks industry. That leaves bacon, cheese, and meat as the last rationed items. Bacon and meat rationing are mostly formalities that are maintained to protect the British farmer. Derationing butter will drive the price up, the problem being that a shift to margarine means a shift to fats from the dollar countries. (Because we decided that the Groundnut Scheme was nuts!) Also in short supply are applicants to the Civil Service, which, The Economist ingeniously decides, is because there are too many of them. (Civil servants, that is, not applicants.) 

Somebody's plant, seen by night across the Chicago Ship Canal, in Fortune this month because it's pretty. 

"From Bricks to Earth" The Ministry of Housing is building smaller houses and using land more efficiently to cut costs. Two stories follow about Communist governments fighting with their Catholic (and Orthodox) bishops, in Poland and in Jugoslavia. Japan's 'National Safety Corps" is to be promoted into a "defence force" under the agreement between the Liberal and Progressive Parties, removing the final barriers to Japanese rearmament against outside attack. 

"Troubles in Nyasaland" Latest reports are that "the worst of the rioting is over." The Economist is convinced that this means that the Africans are giving up their resistance to the Federation and will move to getting more political power within it. Oh, and crime is up, but not solved crimes, which is bad, and there is going to be a board to set police pay, which is better than the Home Office doing it. (Says the police.) 

Now there's some forgotten history
Dr. Otto John in 1954
Ernst Reuter has died, and protests in Berlin have caused Adenauer to deny that he plans a "ministry of information and propaganda" that would "revive some of the practices of Dr. Goebbels." There is even talk that it was intended to unite the ministry,or "coordinating office" with the security services under Otto John. The Economist supposes that German journalists will have to remain vigilant, because the country is full of (ex-)Nazis. 


John Ramage of the Draper's Chamber of Trade explains that the Chamber isn't against "cheque trading," which is retailers who take cheques, so much as it is against the fees the banks charge for processing cheques, which reduce retail profits even as the convenience of check trading increases their sales. I'm sure they will figure out a solution soon! G. R. Y. Radcliffe is a livestock farmer and wants The Economist to shove its free enterprise capitalism up the part that they only eat on the continent these days. Our Editor, being magnificently well acquainted with the said part, has no intention of doing any such thing. "Mortgager" thinks that tax-deductible home mortgages are much too sweet a deal. Two economists from Stanford explain the International Sugar Agreement. Cuba is going to keep on pushing sugar into the market to maintain its share, and everyone else can like it or lump it.


A combined review of Raja Hutheesing's Window on China and U Kyaw Min's Through the Iron Curtain Via the Back Door is entitled "Asians Look at China," turn out to have nothing in common. Hutheesing visited China as part of an official delegation and was snowed by the Communists, while Min's book is an amusing diary of a brief trade delegation visit to Moscow via China in the course of which he makes amusing observations. R. T. Paget and Sidney Silverman have Hanged: And Innocent?, which is a "tract" and Paget's contribution is very partisan, which either "sways or repels" the reader, while Silverman simply dissects a case in Manchester where an innocent man was almost certainly hanged, which the authors think is basically the case against capital punishment. There's nothing you can do if you make a mistake! Is that enough to make the case against capital punishment? The Economist won't say one way or the other. Luigi Albertini's The Origins of the War of 1914, vol. 2 is more of the same, and not news, since it is the translation of a 19443 edition. It's for everyone who is really, really worried about who started WWI, but couldn't be bothered to read it in Italian. Why, yes, that's your Romance Studies major condescending! Christopher Morris' Political Thought in England from Tyndale to Hooker was well advanced when the publisher refused to bring out a "book" that was just a coffee table-sized Iron Maiden. So instead Morris had to scrape together something about Protestantism, Anglicanism, all that stuff, for which there is more material than anyone today would ever volunteer to read. In fact, there's so much of it that there's probably some good stuff buried in all the cant, and maybe Professor Morris found it! Mario Pei's The Story of English doesn't need comment. Everild Young's The Land of Three Worlds is a sympathetic South American travelogue; and we finish the review section with a promotional blurb to a new magazine launch, Encounter. 

American Survey

"The Little Conventions" The welcome-home party for Adlai Stevenson somehow turned into a "little convention," because there was nothing else going on in politics, the President and McCarthy being in hiding in Colorado and Mexico respectively, and who cares about anyone else these days. So then the Republicans decided that they deserved all that press attention just as much as the next party, and so they had theirs at a previously scheduled meeting of the Midwest women's auxiliary. The Democrats seem to be fired up for '54, while someone decided to lecture the women's auxiliary about being too fat and comfortable, because if the GOP accidentally held Congress next November we'd never be rid of Senator Joe, and even the Republicans don't want that, especially after the hard work Secretary Benson has done to make sure they lose. 

American Notes

"The New Chief Justice" After a few weeks of silliness, the inevitable denouement. Governor Warren is the new Chief Justice. He is middle-of-the-road, relatively young for a Chief Justice, and in good health, and so popular that the President dared to make him a recess appointment, the first Chief Justice so appointed since George Washington tried, and regretted it. (The things you learn!)

"War on the Waterfront?" The docks strike in New York coincides with the AFL's attempt to get rid of the International Longshoreman's Association, which means that the strike is going to coincide with a labour war between the Teamsters and the ILA, and that many men "will take a long walk off a short pier." 

"Depression in Washington" Instead of talking about the increasingly obvious recession, The Economist is fascinated by the IRS strike and the imbroglio that Harold Stassen has stirred up at the Foreign Operations Administration,which has people depressed, but not so much as Beardsley Ruml, who has been told that his scheme to get rid of the deficit by reforming the way the federal budget is calculated is not on, because politicians like having a deficit. It gives them something to talk about! The Department of Agriculture seems set to shovel $250 million in previously-allocated foreign aid money out the door in the form of exported food surpluses, just as soon as farmers are persuaded that it won't crowd out regular exports. No word on what foreign farmers think! The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is dead, long live the Small Business Association! Judge Medina has thrown the Federal anti-trustaction against investment banking syndicates out of court. There will not have to be a special session of Congress to raise the debt ceiling, as the Treasury Department now thinks that it can eke it out through the summer. Warren Stephenson will not be sanctioned for asking 4% to facilitate contracts, because it turns out that all his inside information was bar talk, and that's A-OK! The Robe is setting attendance records with its CinemaScope production. Mr. Truman is off the hook with the IRS for royalties on his memoirs. 

The World Overseas

"Mr Stassen on East-West Trade" Mr. Stassen's "third semi-annual report" to Congress on the progress of the whatchamacallit he runs (see above!) says that Laurie Battle's bill to cut off pinko socialist countries that trade with Communists is unworkable, and that's why he's not working it. Senator McCarthy isn't the only one to blow up over it. The Economist, understandably, makes a lot more out of it than actual Americans do, since we can hardly keep straight all the ways that pretty much everyone that even looks foreign is sapping our national strength. It thinks for that reason that the report should have gone further in hammering the point that there isn't actually much trade going on with the East Bloc, and what is going on is pretty closely controlled. Really! 
Graphic shows up without any context in the original, too!

It turns out that the wave of strikes in Italy are due to people not getting paid very much. Since it's Italy, The Economist is willing to indulge some sympathy for people living in "hovels and caves," as they are in the south. 

"Linguistic States in India" The Economist is not on board with the creation of new states for linguistic minorities in India, but on the other hand it's probably not a big deal, either? The point is, the creation of Andhra State is a big deal in India and we have to talk about it, but we're at a loss at what to say, because we might chance to say that the Nizam has to go, and someone wouldn't like that. 

"Fishy Tales for Argentines" Argentina is having a beef crisis, leading to the government promoting more fish in the diet. At least, that's the conclusion from the way that eating fish is being promoted, even though officially Argentina has never had as many cattle as it does now. Was the 1951 cattle census falsified to cover up corruption close to Peron? It says so here! Argentina is not  likely to make its beef export quota, either, and what about other Argentinian economic statistics? 

"Norway at the Polls" Norway is having an election. The Economist is convinced that the Socialists are ruining the country with all their economic controls and hope the election will embarrass them, even if losing is unlikely

"Federal Politics in Central Africa" The Economist previews the upcoming elections at some length, giving the major parties and leaders a brief rundown just because there is more to cover than space allows.

The Business World

"Conversion Without Strings" Three pages on the Treasury's refinancing scheme. 

"Making Airlines Pay" The BOAC and BEA reports show that just increasing traffic isn't enough to put the airlines in the black, as costs have been rising faster than revenues. BOAC lost £800,000, BEA, £1.5 million. The year was bad for all airlines, with the IATA meeting in Montreal ringing with tales of rising costs and falling net income. Is it just because more capacity was added than traffic will bear? No. rising costs pushed the break even capacity from 665% in 1951--2, which yielded a profit for BOAC of £275,000 on a rate of 65.7%. This year, rising costs pushed the break even point to 66%, so utilisation at 64.5% on an increase from 195 to 215 million ton-miles led to an increase in revenue of 7.7%, costs by 12.4%, which would have been a wash, except for interest payments. In contrast to BOAC, BEA is not having trouble filling planes, and isn't likely to in the near future. The problem is that 90% of BEA's service is in obsolescent machines like Vikings. By the time the Ambassadors were fully in service (and the Rapides withdrawn from the Isles), BEA's ton-miles cost fell from 51.5 cents per ton-mile to 49.5. The first six months of 1953, with 20 Ambassadors and the fleet building up to 26 Viscounts, profits should have gone up, but didn't, probably mainly because too many services were scheduled at tourist rates. Also, allow me to retract the comment at the head about BEA not having a traffic problem, since in fact it needs 69.9% to break even and drew an average of 62.9%, the average being the tale, as utilisation plummets in the off season., especially return flights from Europe during the holidays. Maybe there needs to be an airmail-like subsidy on domestic routes?

Business Notes

Finances and the upcoming Commonwealth talks bring us galloping to "Electricity Recovers Too" (like the prices of industrial shares, is the "too"). The electricity supply is up almost 10% as seven new plants come on line with higher thermal efficiencies. The winter was long rather than severe, leading to a very high operating surplus, although not as high as originally hoped. In the long run, the favourable depreciation rates on the still-predominantly over-aged plant are going to go away, but for now we can be happy that "electricity is cheap," up only 25% since 1939. A separate Note has the magazine hoping that prices will go up and forestall the BEA's hoped-for expansion of generating capacity to 1.9 million kwh by 1959. Follows two financial Notes and one about cotton futures trading, before we get to the new Ford cars for 1954, the Anglia and Prefect, "neither baby cars nor austerity cars." Ford is so eager to make a splash in the small car market that it has abandoned its claim to sell the cheapest car in Britain. It is more important to make  a splash on styling.

"Japan Before Gatt" Britain's argument against admitting Japan into the Gatt is that inevitable Japanese export dumping would be met with pre-emptive tariffs, and the result would be catastrophe. The Americans were not impressed. Retailers are worried about a "buyer's strike" due to the expected reduction in the sales tax in the next budget, while the third piece on sugar derationing in this issue makes a little more sense than the others if you're not following the story anywhere but The Economist, as it notes that derationing was made possible by a special purchase of a million tons of Cuban sugar at $65 million. Since the exportable Commonwealth surplus is expected to rise from 2.05 million tons this year to 2.375 million tons in 1956, there will be no dollar costs for the derationed British demand. Unless the Canadians drop some of their "free market," that is, dollar-source imports. The Film Agreement has been extended for another year. The American film companies are allowed to repatriate $17 million plus anything they can get through loopholes. Sicne they are earning $40 million a year in the British market, the surplus is accumulating at $20 million per year. But while the Americans are increasingly eager to have the money at  home given the slump in the industry, they have managed to find profitable investments for it in Britain, and no-one knows whether the profits will continue, so this is not a good time to upset the business.

Flight, 2 October 1953


And lose it within days to an F4D1
"Supermarine Record" This is going to be a special Supermarine issue, and it is only a coincidence that a Swift will probably set a new speed record this week. 

"Dividends and Deficits" Flight has a more optimistic interpretation of the airline financial results. BOAC is not not being subsidised. BEA's consistent losses over thirteen years show that it is impossible to do what is being asked of it. The Corporations do not like being asked to show a deficit when other national airlines receive direct or concealed subsidies. It is bad for morale, giving the impression that they are uniquely inefficient, and think that something should be done.

From All Quarters reports that the Swift speed record, made in Libya to take advantage of warmer air. The record time of  737.3mph seems to have been exceeded on Saturday, but recording equipment broke down, more flights are planned next week. A Douglas F4D Skyray is now flying in competition with the Swift at Edwards, and has reached 742.7mph, but this is not the 1% increase needed to set a new record, and further flights are planned next week. An F-100, which is by any measure the world's fastest plane, may try to set a new record soon, providing it is decided to risk a proving flight, which according to the rules must be made below 100m. Scary! Flight Refuelling has branched out with a contract to build rear fuselages for Sea Hawks being produced under a Mutual Aid offshore contract. Under a separate title ("The Docile Victor"), Flight celebrates Harold Talbott's favourable comments about the Victor, which he recently flew in as a passenger, and watched as it demonstrated its ability to "land itself." The success of the HP97 transport version seems assured. 

"The England-New Zealand Race" There are twelve entries in the race, a DC-6, Hastings, Viscount, and Hudson on the civil side, two Mosquitos, 5 Canberras and a Valiant on the military side. The race will be run from 5 October, there are four prizes in each section of the race. The KLM DC-6 will fly with 53 Dutch emigrants, but at restricted luggage weight and hardly any time on the ground. The RNZAF Hastings is carrying just enough freight to meet the handicap. The Viscount has passengers, but it doesn't say here whether it is carrying enough load to satisfy the handicap. (You may remember that in the 1934 London-Australia race a De Havilland racer won by time, and a DC-3 by handicap.) The Hudson is a strange home-brewed composite aircraft from Rausch Aviation. The Valiant's performance is top secret, but it is making the flight in only three stages. 

Here and There reports that the US-Spain base deal includes air bases at Barcelona, Seville, and Albacete, the latter two particularly valuable as they are "out of the range of Russian fighters." Flying from WHERE? Shangri-la is taken! The US is embarrassed enough about the whole "pbounties for defecting MiGs" that it is withdrawing the offer and will return the MiGs recently landed in Korea, although the bounties already earned will be honoured. Two more Avon models are reported. As we go to press, the Rausch Hudstar has withdrawn from the London-Christchurch race. 

"B-57s Start to Flow" The first B-57 was handed over to the USAF last week, and now they're coming thick and fast. Reggie reminds everyone that even though he was there about flying boats, he did pitch in with the B-57. Just don't ask him about it or he'll start talking about servos and writing out equations. Martin executives commented that, in the end, the amount of jigs and tooling in Baltimore and at English Electric Preston was pretty comparable, but that might not entirely reflect British practice.

The history of Supermarine goes on for many pages and I'm sure is going to be very interesting for many, but I don't see any news in it, even if I'm not going to be all sarcastic and go on about "years ago, before the war." I'll save that for the letter page, unless they're worrying about cap badges and Auxiliary uniforms instead! 

 Civil Aviation reports that Johannesburg Airport is officially open, and covers the BEA annual report in more detail to make its case that low air mail rates and "social services" weigh on its finances. Silver City, on the other hand, made a handsome profit, and, speaking in Boon, Germany, Hall Hibbard said that the upcoming Douglas and Boeing jetliners would be "Comet killers." A Lockheed prototype is said to be under construction with 50 degree sweepback, thin wings, and a 120 seat passenger cabin entirely ahead of the leading edge of the wing, with four turbojets set in the fuselage aft of the wing. Meanwhile ANA has ordered some DC6Bs and a civil Fairchild Packet is said to be under development. 


P. H. Russell, late of the Royal Artillery, harrumphs that world speed records that depend on temperature are rubbish. D. J. Weaver is upset that Bill Waterton was disciplined for "pointing his Javelin at the crowd" at Farnborough. Basil Arkell is upset that no heliport is planned at London airport, but the Ministry says that we still don't know what a heliport would look like, so there. And then there's hat(hatish, as it is another of those discussions about how one or another brand of RAF reserve pilot ought to be deemed qualified to fly for money somehow in a way that they're currently not) and "years ago, before the war" style letters round off. 

Someone, somewhere, should feel embarrassed about all the wasted money this implies
"The Anglo-American Conference" The back of the issue is devoted to summaries of R. H. Miller (Kamen) on "Some Factors Affecting Helicopter Design and Future Operations," Richard Rhode on "The Fatigue of Aeroplane Structures," H. Pearson on "The Aerodynamics of Compressor-Blade Vibration," J. L. Orr and others on "Aircraft De-Icing by Thermal Methods," R. A. Neale on "Prerequisites for Production," A. C. Campbell on "The Introduction of the Comet Into Service," Dr. N. A,. Bruyne on "Structural Adhesives for Metal Aircraft," and the open session version of Reggie and Preston Bassett's "The Control of Flight." Okay, okay, not a breath of Reggie in Flight, so Bassett's paper. Various methods of increasing helicopter speed depend on improving the fatigue qualities of materials for rotating parts. Rhode concludes that it is not possible to predict fatigue life of airliner structures analytically yet, and partially endorses concerns that new parts made of materials with higher strength-to-weight ratios are likely to have shorter fatigue lives, although he says that this is because they will be used in higher fatigue situations. Compressor blade failures call for more wind tunnel testing because they are related to blade stall. De-icing is facing big challenges with the new radomes. Planning for production is not an an absolute science. The Comet is fine. Boundary layer control isn't magic. Adhesives are a way around falling fatigue life with higher strength to weight ratios. If you're going to talk about control of flight without math, you won't be boring, but you will be pointless. 
The Economist, 10 October 1953


"Retreat to What?" Has Labour retreated to liberalism from socialism by giving up on nationalisation? No, don't be fooled into voting Labour! They're still awful! Not like the Liberal Party that The Economist would support if it had any chance of winning an election, which, sadly, it doesn't, so vote Tory! They may be unpleasant, but they're our only hope. (And are they really that unpleasant?) 

"Security for Russia" Dulles has floated the idea of a security guarantee for Russia, which seems odd, but we do have to have that before we can declare victory in the cold war. Churchill proposed a Locarno-style treaty, while Dr. Adenauer wants interlocking non-aggression and guarantee treaties between America, Russia, and the European Defence Community. The devil is in the details. For example, a border guarantee would, from the Reds' point of view, include the East Bloc, and would western Europe accept that? 

"Second Thoughts on Education"If there's one thing Labour did that The Economist supports, it was the educational reforms of 1944, with free secondary education for all through comprehensive schools. So it scolds the party at great length for the "educational counter-revolution" in "Challenge to Britain" that was voted down by the party conference. Typically, it's a bit two-edged. The new policy envisioned sending poor children to public schools, which is "counter-revolutionary" in the sense that Labour doesn't, or shouldn't, like public schools. But if you look at it cross-eyed, the magazine looks a lot less revolutionary and more counter-revolutionary for opposing it. 

"Scandinavian Insularity" The nerve of those Scandinavians. It's not as though they live on an island, because they are connected up at the top! That's why their "present condition" isn't "strategically or politically reassuring." They're too neutral, and their small parties are disturbingly and radically reactionary. No good will come of it!

Notes of the Week

"Indians in No Man's Land" India is quite upset that President Rhee is being allowed to carry on over the recent shooting of "riotous prisoners" by the Indian Army, and Delhi is implying that it might withdraw the troops. On the one hand, the magazine, being British finds Indians obnoxiously supercilious whenever they have a criticism. On the other, it strongly supports the shooting of "riotous prisoners." I wonder if the troops that did it were from a manly martial race, tall, with good calves? 

Peering at tea leaves, it is determined that the Politburo is none too happy about Stalin's legacy of killing lots of people. Anthony Eden's return to the Foreign Office means that Churchill is going to carry on, and that there will not be a general election this spring. The Conservative Party Conference is worried about competitive television (it's in favour), housing (more needs to be done than just build houses), coal, agriculture, the Suez withdrawal, and the upcoming speech by the Prime Minister, the first since his stroke, and probably a scolding over the fumbled Four Power conference. We graduate from tea leaves to entrail as we contemplate Tom O'Brien's speech to the Labour conference. Is the  TUC going to withdraw (but not withdraw withdraw) from the Labour Party? No! Maybe! 

"Shuffle and Cut in Capetown" Things are getting heated in South Africa, where Malan has withdrawn the bill to strike Coloured voters from the rolls that was about to be overruled by the Supreme Court and has introduced a "shorter" one in parliament so that the United Party can fight over it and maybe get rid of Strauss, unless the extremists in the Nationalists get rid of Malan first.  

"America Still Aids Europe" Progress in closing the dollar gap seems to have a lot to do with the $1.4 billion in goods and services received by Europe in the year ending June 1953, and the $1.5 billion in contracts with European suppliers, with France getting $690 million and Britain, $460 million. This is s besides the transfers to cover US forces in Europe and US building in Europe, some $500 million, and nearly $3 billion in US military equipment. 

People are talking and planning and talking and planning about the  upcoming Colombo Plan conference in Delhi. The Economist is not convinced that sending troops to British Guiana is the right answer to the current unrest, as it might just provoke more. Squabbles over prices seem to be disrupting the European Coal and Steel Community enough to be worth one long and one medium-sized paragraph. Finland is hoping to be able to trade more with Britain and France to clear its large surplus of rubles from its Russian trade, allowing accounts to be settled with a purchase of such Russian goods as might be wanted hereabouts. Well. If you have a current account deficit with the sterling bloc, that's just terribly sad. 

"Mau Mau in the Capital" The recent spate of Mau Mau outrages in Nairobi show that the campaign to pacify the countryside is working, because the gangs are coming into town. Now the government and the Inniskilling Fusiliers are going to clear the capital of its "drifting population" of 15,000 to 20,000, "or nearly one-fifth of the population," and so solve the problem by driving them into the country. Should work! Although Kenya is now running a £2 million deficit, and higher taxes would discourage foreign investment (read: Selling "highland estates" to gullible smart setters). An "all party delegation" is expected any day for the obligatory sales job according to which peace, good government, and ta view of a thousand acres of tea from the verandah is just around the corner granted a few million in aid. The Rhodesian part of the Central African Federation is celebrating racial progress by having a complete breakdown over the "apartheid" policy favoured by the  Confederate Party. Hopefully they won't do well in the elections

"Clearing the Air"    London County Council is considering establishing a smokeless zone in the capital in the wake of the "great fog" of last winter, which caused four thousand deaths. "[L]osses to industry and commerce must have been considerable." Which is getting things backwards, because after saying that, the Note goes on to explain how the number is arrived at. It is deaths in excess of expected, mostly due to bronchitis or pneumonia, and believed, on the basis of recent American research, to be caused by sulfuric acid opening the way for particles to get deep in the lungs. The problem is that it will be  hard to produce enough smokeless fuel, and harder still to get people to use them. Of 37 million tons produced annually, only 5 million is burned by domestic users, and that number will have to be doubled to have a sensible effect. 

From The Economist of 1853 comes "In Defence of the Right," which explains what Britain should be doing about the confrontation between Russian and Turkish forces on the Danube, and why. We are not, it explains, "defending an Infidel dominion." Islam might have its good points, but it is wrong and bad. We have nothing in common with these foreigners. Turks are racially "languid and lethargic," while Britons are "boiling over with life and energy." But they are our allies, we do have a sacred obligation to help them, and they are the victims of oppression. 


The High Commissioner for Southern Rhodesia writes with a correction. R. N. Higinbotham of Robertsbridge, Surrey, and G. R. Y. Radcliffe, continuing the conversation, try to explain to the Editor why livestock farmers want a marketing board. The Editor refuses to understand. John Ryan of the Metal Box Company explains why statistics about tinplate production and sales is so inconsistent. Some of it was made up during the war, and his company can do better using its sales statistics. P. J. Donnelly of Writtle, Essex, finds comments about the artistic decadence of Hyderabad to be a bit much. 


Gunnar Myrdal's The Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory gets a long review entitled "Time Bomb for Welfare Economics." I read it waiting for an explanation, but the review doesn't seem to actually mean anything. Fred Hoyle's Decade of Decision is a book by a really smart and accomplished man talking about something he doesn't know anything about, and is boty "illuminating" and "silly." Specifically, Hoyle believes that Britain can't support 50 million people, what with the world population pressure, the scantness of world food supplies, and the industrialisation of the primary producing countries. He thinks it should be cut in half by an emigration of a million a year to the Dominions, accompanied by their industrialisation. The Russians, he thinks,should be told to go play in Asia on pain of atomic attack if they even look at the West cross-eyed, where it will impose contraception and prevent Malthusian catastrophe. The tropics should be developed for food and for solar energy in some fashion to cover the future shortage of oil, coal and uranium. This is the part that is silly. "Britain's deficit, at the worst part of the worst postwar crisis, was . . . five percent," and a "hundred percent dismantling of the British economy" can't possibly be the best way of dealing with that. I'm not sure what the "illuminating" part is supposed to be. The reviewer liked Freya Stark's latest autobiographical volume, The Coast of Incense. An edited collection of essays on economic history, Fred C. Lane and Jelle C. Riemersma, who share a love that dare not speak its name, encoded in their choice to change their middle initials to "C.," Enterprise and Social Change, is all jumbled up, but parts are good. Paulo Monelli's biography of Mussolini, Mussolini: An Intimate Life, establishes that anyone who wanted to be in timate with Mussolini is at least as suspect as Il Duce himself. Native Administration in the British African Territories Vol. 5, The High Commission Territories: Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and Swaziland,is 447pp, so don't worry that it doesn't come up to the title, and is the final volume of Lord Haley's "authoritative (it should be!) reference work." The only drawback is that it doesn't have a blueprint for the next stage of British African colonial policy. 

American Survey 

"Feeling for Flexibility" In the old days Washington used to empty out into "elegant New England watering holes" for the summer, and even nowadays it gets slow around here in the summer, and then everything picks up in the fall.  For example, this fall the allied ambassadors are going around from office to office to see if Americans are going to continue to be wild-eyed maniacs, or whether they might be thinking about getting something done around the world. Adlai Stevenson and John Foster Dulles have both given speeches about needing to be nicer to the Soviet Union, while the President gave one on the importance of not alienating the allies and not giving the impression that America would rather drop atom bombs than negotiate. At the end of the week, Dulles repudiated Senator Ferguson's assertion that talking about security for Russia was "appeasement." Unfortunately, these seem like trial balloons testing American public opinion. Or the Republican caucus in the Senate, to the extent that there's a difference. And, sure enough, they're still wild-eyed maniacs who, as Presidents go, prefer Rhee to Eisenhower. 

"Whose Public Domain" The Federal government still owns a vast part of the Western states, locals, and particularly the 25,000 ranchers with grazing rights, still want it all turned over to them, and the Eisenhower Administration is still not willing to cross public opinion to do it. Meanwhile, Interior would like more money so that it can act as responsible stewards of the land and improve grazing, but that's not going to happen, either. 

American Notes

"It is denied at the White House that the President's speech in Atlantic City . . . marked the launching of the much-heralded new policy of telling the American people about their vulnerability to an attack by atomic or hydrogen bombs." He talked about it, sure, but if it were policy, he would have to tell Wilson to stop denying that the Russians can conduct a hydrogen bomb attack, and sign on with that $10 billion civil defence effort. Meanwhile, the Office of Defence Mobilisation has been giving tax breaks to companies that strengthen their plants against atomic attack since May, and believes such attacks might be possible in a year or two. The issue, it turns out, is paying for it, which would mean no tax cuts. 

"Easier Money" Complaints about the Administration's hard money policy are becoming harder to sustain as the Treasury intervenes to cut interest rates. The invocation of the Taft-Hartley Act to sustain an injunction against the East Coast docks strike is said to be a blessing for the AFL's organising campaign against the ILA. US Steel is going to start absorbing freight charges again, which is here deemed the return of free competition in steel and a return to the multiple basing point system of 1948, and will have Uncle Henry out of his tree. Steel capacity, which is up to 112 million tons a year, is running at 90% of capacity, and that is bad news for the industry. Harold Stassen is trying to decentralise his office and revive Point Four. The price of chlorophyll is down from $110/lb to $45/lb as the craze fades out. 

The World Overseas

We check in with Malaya, where Malayan Chinese are getting more politically active even though Muslim Malayans say that concessions to them will be concessions to Communists down the road. In Russia, Khrushchev says that the livestock situation is dire, although agricultural production is up. It's important because Russians are starving to death, and would like clothes and houses, too, thank you very much. 

"Algerians in France" There are 300,000 Algerians in France, and 100,000 of them are unemployed, and only 60,000 are "satisfactorily housed." Algerians are theoretically French citizens and free to come and go from France at will, and most of the Algerians in France are there to work, save money, and send it home, so this is bad news for public order. In spite of the low employment rate, Renault rates 85% of its Algerian workers as satisfactory at least, and 25% as superior, and would like to train the 25% more, if they would only stay for more than three years, which they don't, because of housing difficulties, mainly. They are also being mistreated on mainly racial grounds, and it is amazing that they're not becoming Communists, and that would be a bad thing if it happened. Jugoslavia is having another round of agricultural reform, and China is holding sham elections.

The Business World

We lead with financial news. Shares are up, I guess. ("Bulls," right?) 

"Deficiencies in Dry Docks" Most of the larger dry docks in the United Kingdom were built more than 40 years ago, and they're not up for modern tankers, which keep getting bigger and bigger, and will until they get too big to fit through the Suez Canal. Big new dry docks now under construction, at Greenock, Belfast, Liverpool, two in South Wales, one on the Clyde, and three in the Northeast, able to take tankers of up to 32,000t dw. There is some question about whether utilisation will cover the costs of digging and building them, but if they are used for shipbuilding as well as repair, as is now the trend, that will help. 

Business Notes

Finance, dollar surplus, European balance showing signs of weakness, as American demand for commodities "wobbles." Another 120,000 young workers joined the labour force in September, but the unemployment rate still fell, to 1.4%. Rubber prospects are "bleak," see "Eisenhower Depression." The trade agreement with Brazil has FINALLY been closed. At the IATA Conference in Montreal it is warned that air travel still isn't paying its way, and apparently the solution is even more competition. Wool prices are settling down, there is more premium gas on the British market, from more brands, and cheap cars were the coming thing at the Paris Motor Show. Finance, finance, wheat prices stabilising, magnesium decontrolled, shoe sales are rebounding and manufacturers are investing in new machinery that moulds the sole (sometimes of new synthetic materials) and attaches it to the upper in a single step. Unfortunately, cheaper shoes means lower sales for retailers. 

Flight, 9 October 1953


"Salute to Sweden"

Sweden has bought some Avons for its jets,so Flight is going to say something nice about Sweden. It's a country! Full of blondes and stinky fish! But that's enough of Flight's special brand of inane stodginiess, so the second Leader is a celebration of sport gliding. My opinion of flying without engines remains unchanged. But if they listened to me there wouldn't be motorcycles or cigarettes, either, so obviously no-one listens to me. 

From All Quarters The big story is the Skyray's 753.4mph record, on the Salton Sea, not at Edwarsd, as I said last week, because it is below sea level and so has even higher air pressure. It is a prototype, with the prototype J40,, developing 12,500lbs thrust with afterburner. The Skyray numbers are so high that neither the Hunter nor the Swift can meet them, and Vickers-Armstrong has ended the Swift flights in Libya. The only practical way to beat the Skyray record is to fly faster than sound, which is an engineering challenge from all sorts of angles. There may be an F-100 record soon, but, if not, it will be a few years before those challenges are sorted out. The Westland presentation on helicopters in Korea and Malaya was very interesting and Flight wishes more MPs had come out to be duly panicked by the American lead on helicopters. Eight of the original 19 entries are off in the England-New Zealand (London-Christchurch Race; Piccadilly Square--New Regent Street Race. I had to look up name of a major Christchurch street for this joke; I hope you're happy at what you made me do!) are off. "The final number of entrants was regrettably low." The Valiant and two Mosquitos are now out, too. 

"Goodwill on Swept Wings" The feature story on the visit of the Swedish jet fighter squadron goes here, ahead of short bits announcing the Seamew for the FAA and the purchase of the Orenda works by Avro Canada.  

Here and There reports a Comet crossing of the Atlantic in 5h, 26min, the breaking up of the Brabazon, and the stationing of a USN Neptune squadron in Malta. Mechanical Handling is a thrilling documentary film about advances in mechanical handling, available fee of charge through Dorset House. 

Kenneth Owen, "Engines: Are They Necessary?" Yes. Next question, please! 

"The Well-Dressed Airman, 1954: High-Altitude Clothing: Recent Developments by British Manufacturers"  At very  high altitudes, cabin pressurisation isn't enough, here's a look at some suits and helmets for flying at those altitudes. 

"Gas Turbine Development: Armstrong-Siddeley's Chief Engineer Lectures on Eleven Years Progress By His Company" W. H. Lindsey, director and chief engineer of Armstrong-Siddeley[more relevantly] gave an interesting talk to the City of Coventry's Freemen's Guild on 24 September. It was  mainly historical, but he did mention work on the Snarler rocket, which will be necessary for really high performance at high altitudes. 

J. M. Stephenson, "Axial-Flow Engines: A Consideration of Their Lower Size-Limits" Once the numbers are crunched, all turbojets should have axial compressors, even the small ones, but small turboprops benefit from centrifugal compressors. 

Aircraft Intelligence reports that per Aviation Week, a Fairey Gannet, electronics included, costs $224,000. De Havilland has a $257,000 dollar contract from the Canadian government for a new light transport. The latest B-47 variant is the RB-47E, with a longer nose to accommodate the camera. The USAF has ordered the American industry to put a turboprop in pretty much everything to see if it makes things better. (C-97s, Super-Constellations, Convairliners, and a Globemaster to be fitted with various Allison turboprops and a turboprop version of the J65. It says here, anyway.) The Americans are looking at the Avon RA.14 to replace the now-cancelled Westinghouse J-40 in various planes that have been hung up to dry without an engine. The Ouragons being built for India are now well under way, and Kurt Tank is reported as working on a jet transport with a revolutionary engine installation down Argentina way. 

Flight visits the Farnborough miniatures show to look at model airplanes, then the debut of the RAAF's Avon Sabre, then a helicopter crop-spraying operation in East Anglia. (If the correspondent is very nice, they'll  let him come back to London.)

The Industry reports that Kelvin and Hughes is giving its apprentices awards for originality now, and British Standards has a new set of standards for nuts and bolts approved for aircraft use in Britain, Canada and the US. Companies want us to know about starters for the Olympus-Vulcan, new types of Magnuminium alloy, O-rings, a bench saw (how'd that get in here?), self-locking nuts, a new high nickel protective coating for upset anvils for drop-forging turbine blades, and a very compat radio receiver unit from Adcola; plus, in a separate feature, the "Airborne" data recorder from the electronics division of Boosey and Hawkes, which is an improvement on the traditional notebook. Feeney and Johnson are up to something with pneumatic couplings. 


Nothing else is up, so let's have some letters on the causes of sonic "bangs," one about rocket testing in the old days, before the war, from "Pedantica," (British stealing American work, though, so that's new), Geoffrey Dorman reminds us that he is still alive with a letter about years ago, before the war. 

Civil Aviation goes to the IATA meeting, reports on new Comet and Viscount services, and lights into that recent Newsweek article claiming that the British have lost confidence in their new airliners and that production is chronically tardy, pointing out that confidence has not been lost in the Comet, that deliveries of Comets and Viscounts compare well with Super Constellations, although the Britannia is behind, and that bit about Americans being content to wait while the British proved the new technology is just sour grapes. 

Brazil has a new civil plane, more about the model display, and the North Greenland Expedition sounds like a regular Boy's Own adventure. 

Fortune's Wheel explains that advertising is big, and previews the big articles on the vogue for religiosity among businessmen, the inexplicable shift of consumer income from spending 23% on food to 28%, and its implications, and tries to explain why there's yet more navel-gazing about what makes an executive in this issue. 

Business Roundup looks at the way that "mounting evidence of a business downturn" is hitting, well, it says "the stock market," but then we're off to cover the slow down from what is, after all, a record GNP from a bunch of other perspectives. Consumer credit is slowing, steel production is down, inventory is up, housing starts are down; but consumer spending is likely to be sustained by healthy savings. Clearly, business has to go for a hard sell, or profits will continue to lag wage increases. 

Defence and Strategy looks at the lessons of the Korean air war. 

During the last year of the Korean War, Fifth Air Force operated 16 wings; five wings of B-29s, two of F-86, five fighter bomber wings of F-84s and F-80s, two of B-26s, and three over-sized troop carrier wings, plus an atomic-capable F-84G wing in Japan. At the time they were committed, they did not represent a large share of any part of the Air Force except for the jets, but were all the bombers SAC was willing to spare. In the course of the war, the Air Force lost 1760 aircraft. Only 58 in air-to-air combat, all F-86s, lost behind enemy lines. Six hundred bombers were lost to AA fire, the rest were operational losses. The total write off was equivalent to twenty-five wings, which doesn't seem like that much, at a cost of $1.6 billion, which, against the kind of numbers we're throwing around these days, also doesn't seem like that much. By the third year of the war, the Reds were operating 1500 MiGs in 40 air regiments, plus several regiments of light bombers (Il-28s), and a composite regiment of Tu-4s. The minimum MiG loss in combat was 800, established by gun cameras, establishing a kill ratio of fourteen to one. The air commitment exceeds the total fighter interceptor complement of the 143 wing air force, which is pretty big for such a small war. The logistical effort was also great, and the Russians were presumably happy to do it to build up war experience. There was never a bombing offensive from Manchuria, but there could have been, and it would have been "touch and go."

An eleven page advertisement for Colorado follows (and eight pages of full page ads after that), so it's good that there was an apology in Wheel to start. Businessmen in the News reveals that Sewell Avery has lost another vice president and that the utility partnership set up to build a power plant for the AEC's new gaseous diffusion plant had to sell out to Bechtel because it wouldn't allow workers to sign union cards. (Which is illegal.) Labour has a feature on the expansion of the AFL over eleven years of prosperity, and another about the difficulties the CIO is having organising department stores. Fortune is worried that this will mean that declining wage differentials between skilled and unskilled labour will impact technological progress. 

Interior Secretary McKay's fight against federal power gets a page.

Editorial reports that the French like America more than we think, that an ongoing debate in the Journal of the Operations Research Society of America tests whether computing machines can help formulate major business decisions. "The entrepreneur describes his world (quantitatively), chooses his policies, and turns on his machine. The machine then 'looks into the future' at the  high speed permitted by modern design, and delivers the answer on what will happen if the model fits reality." Fortune is uncomfortable with the idea that it can all be reduced to numbers. Fortune concludes that higher education is becoming increasingly available to the children of workers and less to the children of executives because there are too many scholarships these days and the best colleges charge more, and also because of progressive taxation. Crawford Greenewalt, president of du Pont, used a guest column in a Baltimore paper this week to point out that if you don't talk about the Eisenhower depression, it won't happen. Or at least he won't hear about it!Not even Fortune is impressed. 

Fortune really liked Graham Hutton's We Too Can Prosper, which explains that the British can be as rich as Americans if they just try to be more like Americans. Perhaps this is not the month to be talking it up. New England industrial towns are doing well because they are now diversifying wisely, whereas they used to diversify into "feminised" industries without steady, year-round work, which was bad for communities like Manchester, New Hampshire

Labour looks at the unravelling of the Administration's plan to carry through its election promise to amend the Taft-Hartley Act due to Taft's death and leaks that led to the President being attacked from the Right. More proof that the Republicans are desperate to lose in '54. 

"The Fabulous Market for Food" 

American food sales have risen from $20 billion in 1941 to $60 billion in 1952. Although prices are up 118%, food has soaked up more additional spending than increases in consumables, durables,and automobiles combined. Fortune thinks that people could eat like they ate in 1941 for $52 billion; it is the additional $8 billion that needs explaining. That and the violation of "Engel's Law," that the higher a family's income, the lower the proportion spent on food. Americans are getting more prosperous as a rule, with the lowest income group falling from a third of the population to less than a quarter during the 8% runup in incomes from 1941 to 1947. After 1947, it was spending in the prosperous group that drove up food prices. The conclusion is that it is basically down to convenience. 

An interesting feature on the rise of the Greek shipping magnate, but I don't have to tell you your trade, a feature on religious businessmen, National Distillers' expansion, and a pictorial on "Chicago Industry by night," followed by one about the plight(?) of small business in America to celebrate the new Small Business Administration and one about Scripps-Howard. 

"The Automatic Factory: A Fortune Round Table" Will historians say that there was a Second Industrial Revolution in America at mid-century? If they do, it will be one in which machines replaced men's senses and brains in the same way that the Industrial Revolution replaced (AHEM) men AND women's muscles. The Round Table generally agrees that the tight labour supply of the next eight years makes an ideal moment for industry to go in on automation. However, automation currently works best for special purpose machines performing simple tasks, and they have to be economical. Much of the talk about automating factories envisions a "flexible" factory, and it is not obvious how you create flexible automatic machines. Electronics and computers are often invoked, but electronics are fragile and computers are expensive, and, also, how would they actually work? It's al very well to say that a computer can be the "brain" of a factory, but what does that mean? Besides, computers aren't magic, they're just calculating machines. And once the machines do all the jobs, everyone will be unemployed, and that's not good! 

Maybe some  guy named Sidney Weinberg will know! Let's go to lunch with Stan, claim the liquor bill as a business expense, and publish a profile so we won't get in trouble with the IRS for those hundred-dollar bottles of wine, if you know what I mean! 

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