Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 9, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, August 9, 1974 Optimistic view of resources arguable A president resigns Last night, in an unprecedented move, Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency of the United States. He was forced into it although he did not admit this in his televised address because he had lost the respect of his people through his involvement in the Watergate scandals and his persistent, blatant lying about it. There will be a sense of relief that Mr. Nixon voluntarily removed himself from office but there will not be much rejoicing. Mr. Nixon was remarkably composed in announcing his resignation. He gave no impression of being a man stepping down in disgrace. Nevertheless, he must have suffered a great deal over the past months and especially in recent days as he faced the difficult decision of leaving office. Only the most insensitive would fail to for a man in his position. Probably Mr. Nixon's humiliation and consequent suffering are not yet ended. The justice mills are still turning and he is bound to be ground by them. Those who are determined to see criminal charges pressed and a judgment rendered in the case of Mr. Nixon are doubtless right in their contention that only so can justice be served and the rule of law upheld. On the other hand, the instinct to be lenient in the meting out of penalty has a certain soundness about it. Being forced to resign from an office he so obviously cherished is already a punishment for Richard Nixon. The contribution Mr. Nixon has made toward setting the world on the path to an enduring peace ought not to be minimized or seem to be repudiated by imprisoning him. Whatever transpires subsequently it is to be hoped that good will come out of this whole sorry episode in American history and that the United States will emerge from its present floundering to give strong leadership among the nations of the world. The cabinet changes It must be difficult for a prime minister to make substantial changes in his cabinet. When somebody moves in, somebody has to move out. When there is a promotion, there is usually a cor- responding demotion. When somebody is Mattered, somebody else is hurt. Yet there must be changes. One reason governments are often defeated is the people's demand for changes. This government was not defeated, but the need for changes remained. The most important change was the switch between Mr. Sharp and Mr. MacKaehen. Mr. Sharp has been one of the most capable and devoted men in Canadian public life. His new assignment, that of government house leader, may be less onerous, but in a sense no less important. With a majority government situation it will be his task to see that the House of Commons func- tions with proper dispatch, and with due deference to the other parties. Mr. MacKaehen as house leader earned a reputation for brilliant diplomacy. That will stand him in good stead in external affairs. Of special local interest is the appoint- ment of Hon. Judd Buchanan to Indian affairs and northern development. He has strong Lethbridge connections. He is taking on one of the most hazardous and uncertain of all the departments. He needs all the patience, vision and goodwill he can muster. John Turner has unfinished business in the finance portfolio. He is still relative- ly new in it. There was no compelling reason for a change there. Two of the most contemporary port- folios are energy and the environment. Donald Macdonald is probably compe- tent enough in the first, whether one agrees with his policies or not. The se- cond was opened by the defeat of Hon. Jack Davis, and probably will be handled with imagination, flair and insight by the only woman minister, Hon. Jeanne Sauve. It was expected that Hon. Otto Lang would get a promotion. His influence is already considerable and there aren't many portfolios ranking higher than justice. Hon. Eugene Whelan is considered one of the most powerful agricultural ministers in many years, and it would have been a mistake to move him out of there. The leadership of the Liberal party is not likely to become vacant for at least five years. Somewhere in the new cabinet is the next leader, if not the next prime minister. The list of current prospects probably could be shortened to Lalonde. Turner, MacEachen, Lang, Jamieson, Gillespie and Faulkner. ERIC NICOL The benefits of inflation Yes, but what would we like without inflation? With this provocative question I introduce you to the N'icol theory of The Inevitability of Inflation, or Heaven Has Been Rezoned as Commercial. The central thesis of rny argument is that inflation satisfies man's deep and abiding hunger for higher things. Without the illusion of that 10-15 per cent wage increase every year he would become moody, kick the cat and try to out-evil Knievel. Consider for example the master plumber. Suppose that, having reached the pinnacle of his art. the plumber earns an hour an this year and faces the prospect of earning an hour next year, and the year after that, till finally he goes to that great catch basin in the sky. What will he be like to live with? For thousands of years, the only thing that has persuaded the average working joe to get out of bed in the morning has been the promise of gouging his fellow man for a bigger slice of Tomorrow. Cro-Magnon man lugged his club out of the cave each morning convinced that he would encounter a big, plump, 100-per-cent edible beast that a light tap behind the ear would cause to expire retroactively. When that dream faded, and man became agricultural, he planted the fields in expecta- tion of reaping a crop that he could hide in the cellar, thumbing his nose at his less provident neighbor. But the neighbor, backed up by a number of friends with mean faces, came and demanded most of the crop in lieu of ex- propriating the peasant's, guts for garters. Feudalism was born. The working man then turned to religion, persuaded that life on earth was but a glum overture to a celestial paradise. This phan- tasy served him well till a hundred years ago. when the theory of evolution cast doubt on man's no-cut contract with Eternity. With the labor movement came the worker's awareness that being holier-than- thou bore fewer fringe benefits than having more bargaining clout that thou. Today the rise in wages, prices, the cost of living no longer relates to increase in production or shortage of supply so much as it does to the soul's faith in ascension to an ineffable in- come bracket. Such is the mystique of inflation. Inflation has become the first global icon. Like Moloch, it is both feared and worshipped, and men sacrifice their children to it. The last time that a Canadian government dared to clamp on the controls that let the magic out of inflation was during the Second World War. The working man accepted them temporarily because, despite the suspended myth, getting out of bed in the morning was preferable to climbing out of a foxhole. In peacetime the freezing of wages and prices becomes much more apocalyptic. Freezing may kill the pain for some, but for others it will mean making the most of life in the same way as do pensioners and persons on fixed income. It will put an almost intolerable strain on enjoying the simple things of life smelling a flower, watching a sunset. Many workers, in humdrum trades, simply will not find the strength to respond to the alarm clock, when there's nothing to sweeten the pot but the breath of morn. Sooner or later, contentment with our lot, however humble, will be thrust upon us by a world ravished of resources. But deliberately to demolish the ziggurat atop which inflation is enshrined that calls for a very gutsy plumber. Dedication and devotion by Doug Walker As we were toiling toward the finish of 18 holes of golf one day in July Fern Bouchard nonchalantly remarked that it was his 33rd wedding anniversary. I was flabbergasted to think that a fellow would give four hours to golf on his wedding anniversary. I guess that's what's called dedication to the game. When I probed a bit to find out how Mrs. Bouchard felt about him being on the golf course that day Fern assured me that she had given her blessing to his going. That's what's known as devotion. By Bruce Hutchison, Herald special commentator WINNIPKU In mankind's affairs, us in the law of physics, every action brings a reaction. It is not surprising, therefore, when a school of eminent thinkers has reacted furiously against the notion that our little planet will soon run out qf raw materials to support its ever-increasing human inhabitants. The attack on this notion is impressive and many-sided, in books pamphlets, newspapers and television speeches. Thus, the Club of Rome, which pre- dicted the planetary shortage, is denounced for mis- interpreting its own dubious statistics. The Reverend Thomas Malthus. who foresaw the crisis of demand and supply, somewhat prematurely in 1798. is de- rided as an ignorant old fogey, now dead and unable to answer his critics. Among them the Economist is the most authoritative, shrill and contemptuous. It assures us that we face no true shortage of anything. The Oceans are full of minerals for our use if we deplete the earth's thin crust, at least several centuries from now. In only a few years we shall have a huge surplus of oil and the Arabs will go broke. About half the available farm land has yet to be cultivated and, if neces- sary, food can be synthesized out of wood or stone. So we don't have to worry about fu- ture famine. Just leave these problems to the scientists, technicians and wise governments, the Economist says. They will see us through, without any real in- convenience. This comforting doctrine is based on three that the wealth of the planet has hardly been tapped, so far, that it will be tapped in time to prevent anything like serious trouble: and that human ingenuity is quite suf- ficient to master the housekeeping details of a scientific, economic and polit- ical revolution which will dwarf all the revolutions of the past. The first of the three assumptions may well be ac- curate. Our planet may con- tain, in various forms, all the resources needed for a popula- tion to double by the end of the present century and continue to grow exponentially. But the second assumption must strike the layman as highly dubious because it assumes that the vast extra supplies re- quired by such a population will be provided before a shor- tage becomes a disaster. World mobilization can avert famine From all sides come war- nings that the human race may be only a few years away from a famine that could claim tens of millions of lives. The natural question is: Can anything be done to avert it? Some fatalists contend that the onrushing disaster is already beyond reach and that the long-dreaded increase in population has already reach- ed crisis proportions. Here are the main particulars of their pessimism: 1 India is already in a critical food-deficit condition, with floods in the northeast and droughts in the heartland. 2 Flooding in Bangladesh has washed out crops and depleted the soil. 3 Southeast Asia has been falling behind in per-capita rice production. 4 The famine areas of Africa are spreading. The pre- sent relief missions are un- By Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday the able to keep up with increase in starvation. 5 No single factor in the world food shortage is as critically important as the availability of low-cost fer- tilizer. It takes approximately one ton of petroleum to make one ton of fertilizer. Hence, there is a direct connection between the world's oil Shor- tage and the world's food shortage. 6 The United States, one of the world's largest suppliers of soybeans, may be forced to reduce its soybean crop because of the demand for increased grain. Taking all these somber fac- tors into account, pessimists see little prospect in preventing a famine of un- precedented dimensions within five years at most. It is an insult to the human spirit and intelligence, however, to accept this ver- dicl of grim inevitability. The real question is not whether we have the means to avert mass famine but whether we and Other peoples are prepared now to give high priority to this purpose. We have proved we can sustain life on the moon. We need not accept defeat in sustaining life on earth. Does anyone doubt that if enough human beings mobilize to fight famine with the same energy and intensity they mobilize to fight war the starvation of 250 million peo- ple can be prevented? Here are some of the things that a worldwide mobilization against hunger might do: 1 Expand and intensify research in "nitrogen fix- ation." Various scientific laboratories throughout the world are now conducting research on means for fixing nitrogen in the soil. The most important such research is be- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Too many unanswered questions Regarding the proposed fertilizer plant at Raymond, the question is not where it should be built but whether it should be built at all. There are too many unanswered questions. What would be the environmental effects? Would the water requirements encroach on present or future domestic and agricultural needs? Are our supplies of natural gas and water sufficient that we can afford to commit any more to export? These are questions that must be answered and the decisions should be made by the department of the environment and the oil and conservation board with the future of Alberta and Canada in mind. Certainly the decision is too important to be left to a few entrepreneurs. I am totally in favor of Raymond and other small centres developing a wider economic base. I have read somewhere of studies which show that when a city population passes social and administrative problems are compounded considerably. Lethbridge has up to now been a pleasant place to live, with all the amenities; thriving arts, very pleasant physical surroundings, lots of employment opportunity, relatively social problems a good sense of community and heart, (as witnessed by volunteer groups such as the meals on wheels program, which deserve far more support than they are Recently we have been showing the strains of growth. Our sewage system is unable to cope with our effluents, on occasion we are exceeding our daily water allotment, we now have to import our power from an outside source, a definite step backward. We even have rush hour traffic congestion as a taste of the joys of big city living. The department of municipal affairs, instead of handing over million, or any other amount, to Lethbridge for industrial expansion, should instead use the money to revitalize smaller centres like it, Raymond. They need Lethbridge doesn't. As for Raymond having a bar, I can't see how a will that is so specific can be overruled. Even if legally possible (which I it would be morally wrong to disregard the wishes of a gift- giver, no matter what the vote. So, hooray for people like Alderman Ferguson and Jill Kotkas. We need a few who are interested in something beyond money the quality of life. (Mrs.) HELEN SCHULER Lethbridge ing carried out by scientists of the C.F. Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio. If this research is successful, it will go a long way toward easing the world's fertilizer shor- tage. Governments should assist to whatever extent may be necessary. 2 Wide-ranging ex- periments in "weather modification" now being carried out by U.S. military planners should be switched over entirely to weather con- trol for agricultural purposes. Whatever military "secrets" may now exist for preventing protracted dry spells or ex- cessively heavy rainfall should be shared with world scientists and made the basis for dramatic long-term plan- ning in order to avert famine conditions. 3 There needs to be greater pooling of information for increasing the per-capita production of relatively small farms. All these efforts, of course, should be worldwide in nature. A world food authority should be empowered to carry out a mobilization against famine. The United Nations has been able to develop a world environmental agency for halting the poisoning of the world's oceans and air shed. There is no reason why a similar agency should not be created in order to meet the agricultural crisis now confronting the human race. There is no point in minimizing the difficulties in the way of such a program. But neither ought we to minimize the human capacity for achieving the seemingly impossible whenever the moral imagination is fully engaged. When the shortage of energy has occurred already, to strain the whole international economy, when half the world population is ill-nourished and uncounted multitudes are threatened by early star- vation, the schedule of the revolution looks exceedingly tight. Even if abundant supplies can be produced a decade or two from now, humans must eat in the mean- time if they are to live. As Maynard Keynes. prince of economists, once remarked, the short run is the vital concern since, in the long run. we shall all be dead. Assuming, however, that the physical process of ade- quate production is within our technological means and timetable, what of the third the political process can also be mastered soon enough? To master it, the world will need a collective wisdom and generosity never recorded, so far. in man's experience. Among other things, all the nations must work together in harmony and peace if they are to produce the necessary wealth. Then they must share it. with at least reasonable equity, between themselves. Otherwise the poor and des- perate peoples (who happen to own much of the wealth in raw form) will not co-operate but will obstruct and blackmail the rich peoples, as the oil producers have recently done with notable success. In short, the joint physical process demands a new inter- nationalism, a pretty drastic- surrender of sovereignties, perhaps a world government of sorts, at the very time when nationalism is everywhere on the march. This is asking a lot of human nature, nothing less than a total revision of its age-old habits, racial prejudices and impossible expectations, all within the shrinking timetable. No sign of that international transformation, in mind and morals, has yet appeared. For example, the rich, es- tablished nations are supply- ing the .newly-rich with the best armaments so that they, may pursue their minor local wars at the risk of starting a big one. Nuclear power plans are exported wholesale in pay- ment for oil. and serene and mystical state which teaches morality to the primitive learned how to use these devices for more practical purposes. Atomic bombs are not dif- ficult to make nowadays if you have the money or. still better, the oil which does not shrink in value. Even within the domestic affairs of the great powers the political wisdom required by the hopeful revolution of abun- dance is not visible to the layman's naked eye. The ablest democratic governments have yet to solve the comparatively simple problem of inflation and the Communist powers of Russia and China, boasting of their superior systems, must im- port food from backward capitalistic nations like the United States and Canada to feed their people. Lately another imponderable has appeared. It is called drought and it defies all systems. Such, to the layman's eye, is the real contemporary world as rather vividly dis- tinguished from the im- aginary world of The Economist and its fellow prophets. But we do not have to read beyond its own recent pages to see the other side of the equation. In a recent issue it brilliantly argued the case for unlimited supplies of everything and then, as a kind of afterthought, casually men- tioned that the world might soon plunge into a ruinous depression and Britain, the mother of democracy, might become "ungovernable." Clearly the grand debate is only beginning. Too bad that the Reverend Malthus is not here to participate. No doubt he would contribute some interesting comment, with laughter or tears. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS, Editor and Publisher DON H PILLING DONALD R. 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