Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 2, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, 2, 1974 EDITORIALS Limiting the standard of living A New Delhi journalist, writing in a Japanese monthly magazine, proposes that the world set a maximum standard of living. He argues that this is more realistic and less patronizing than the old minimum standard and that it, would bring resource use into balance with noon His arguments are sometimes prej- udiced, although his bias is understand- able. He credits historical luck as the basis for affluence in the developed world. He speaks of the hungry, the deprived and the degraded of the developing countries without acknowledging that their own societies may be at fault, to some extent, for their condition. His denial that the split between the have and have not nations of the world has anything to do "with hard work, with talent, with the organization of society" is not convincing. Nevertheless, he is on solid ground when he talks about the need to cut wasteful consumption. He does not approve of the of in- dustrialized societies, and he includes "socialist in this criticism recognizing also that the "elites" of the developing countries are adopting these habits freely and that this too needs to be changed. In effect he calls for an analysis of the entire range of human activity to dis- cover critical errors in consumption. And he recognizes that two basic problems must be faced. On the one hand the affluent must be persuaded to change their patterns of life. On the other hand, the impoverished must be asked to forego their dreams of the "glamorous" life now led by the affluent. Philosophically, this proposal is probably the best way to allocate resources; logistically, it seems im- possible. It does, ho'vever, give direction to concerns about mankind's future and should stimulate a certain amount of beneficial intellectual exercise. Considering the best assessment which can be obtained of the physical limitations of this planet, considering the best projections which can be made of the possibilities of expansion into space, and considering the needs of the human spirit as well as the human body, what universal maximum standard of living is acceptable? The affluent may be willing to forego material possessions but they are not likely to forego years of life expectancy or a rise in the infant mortality rate, both of which are tied to living stan- dards. And if the question were to be studied, as it ought to be, by an inter- national organization like UNESCO, it might be more revealing than its creator had thought possible. Stories that drifted back from the Rome food conference of lavish cocktail parties thrown by members from developing nations hint at the possibility that they might be less willing to forego dreams of affluence than those who now possess it. Optimism difficult By F. S. Manor, Herald special commentator Guide to easier riding A recent report on bicycling safety by the Canadian Automobile Association should be of interest to Leihbridge because it is rethinking its bicycle rules and regulations. Large metropolitan areas are the safest cycling cities, according to the report, based on a survey of accident records for 1973 in 124 cities. Cities in the population range of to like Lethbridge, are the most dangerous. This conclusion is open to question because accidents were correlated with total populations and not with the bicycl- ing population and the lower rate for metropolitan areas may simply reflect fewer bicyclists. Nevertheless, the "findings of the report give considerable guidance to riders, parents, drivers and city councilmen. More than 95 per cent of all deaths and accidents came from motor vehicle bicycle conflict. More than 83 per cent of cyclists killed or injured were in the five to 19 age group. More than a third of the accidents occurred when cyclists were moving with the normal flow of traffic, suggesting that motor vehicle operators failed to allow sufficient room when passing or that bike riders failed to maintain a straight path when being passed. The over -15 age group seems es- pecially susceptible to this type of ao cident. Other dangerous manoeuvres turned up by the survey are: Failure to yield, faulty left turns, and disregarding signs and signals. Good weather, as might be expected, is the most dangerous time for accidents, Thursday is the most hazardous day, with Sunday the safest, and late afternoon the most dangerous time of day, coinciding with school dis- missals and urban rush hours. The CAA reported that 17 of the 124 municipalities provide special trails or lanes on present roads for cycling and six more plan such developments. Fifty per cent of the cities surveyed have no municipal ordinances which specify the rights and duties of cyclists and one third do not issue traffic citations or warnings to cyclists who violate traffic laws. Lethbridge, which evidently did not take part in the survey, falls into neither of the above two categories, since it does have specific regulations about cycling, which the local police force feels are good, and tickets offenders caught violating the traffic rules. There is, however, support on the police force for establishing special bike lanes on such roadways as Mayor Magrath and Scenic Drive Whatever the city council decides about bicycling in Lethbridge, at the very least proper notices should be posted wherever bicycles are prohibited. ART BUCHWALD How to join the United Nations WASHINGTON "Can I help you, sir'' "I'd like to join the United Nations." "Very good. By the way, do you mind putting down that gun'" "The gun stays where it is Now, what do you want to know'" "We have certain rules for new members. IT. have to ask you a few questions. Who recommended you for "All the Arab countries. They said if you don't make me a member, they'll cut off your oil." "We don't like blackmail at the United Nations, but on the other hind we're always looking for worthy countr.es who will abide by the charter. Could you tell me what you've done to warrant membership in our esteemed organization'" "We've hijacked moie than 30 foreign air- planes and held the crew and passengers as hostages." "I see. You're a terrorist organization "Do you have anything against terrorist organizations'" "Of course not. Look, if you won't put down that gun, would yen mind pointing it in another direction'" "I told you, the gun says where it is What else do you want to "Well, is there anything you can tell me about yourself that would show us you're worthy of belonging to a peace-loving organization'" "We killed an American ambassador in Khartoum as well as the U.S. charge d'af- faires and the Belgium ambassador." "Hmmmm. That could be looked on by some as a provocative act." "When has it been a crime in the United Nations to kill a couple of "Pon't get excited, I'm just trying to get the fall picture Is there anything else that you're proud murdered 22 people at the airport in Rome. We were hoping to kill a hundred more, but we only wounded them." Ceilings without foundations By James Reston, New York Times commentator "Why did you kill the people in Rome? Do you have any grudge against the "We doH't care who gets killed long as somebody pays attention to us. You mean to say just because we shoot people in an airport we can't join the United "I didn't say that. Ordinarily we don't like to take in anyone who goes.around killing in- nocent people. But in your case, since you come so highly recommended by the Soviet Union also, can certainly overlook it." "Don't forget to put down the massacre at the Munich Olympic Games." "Yes, I believe I read something about that The victims were Israeli athletes, weren't "We got 11 of them, ali unarmed. Anything wrong with "At one time killing at the Olym- pic Games might have been looked on by the majority of the UN members as an atrocity. But since they were Israeli athletes. I'm sure no one will raise a fuss." "They'd better not Here's a list of the other things we've done, including the raid on Ma'alot where we murdered all tne kids in the school. The list is not up to date because we still have some tricks up our sleeves. What about my membership'" "From what you've told me, 1 can't see anything standing in the way cf your joining the United Nations Incidentally, where ex- actly is your "Here on this map." "But that's Israeli" "Not after we drive them into the sea." 'Of course Well, welcome to the United Nations. We're proud to have you as an 'observer' in the great community of nations. Your full membership will be sent to you in the mail Now. will you put down that damn gun9" "No way Who knows we may have to shoot someone here WASHINGTON For the last six years, the United States has worked away patiently and diligently to get some kind of nuclear arms agreement with the Soviet Union, and apparently "some kind of agreement" has final- ly been worked out in the Ford Brezhnev meeting at Vladivostok, but the details of the agreement are still ex- tremely vague and the an- nouncement of the agreement was very odd. The facts released so far raise some troubling questions. Under the agreement, both sides would limit themselves to about 500 nuclear missiles and bombers, and each would ap- parently be permitted to build about missiles with mul- tiple atomic warheads, or twice as many as the United States originally proposed. This was described by Ford to the congressional leaders as putting a "cap" or "ceiling'" on the number of atomic weapons that could be built, and a lower ceiling than the Soviets wanted, but it would still leave both sides with enough nuclear weapons to blow up the world. Not once but many times over, and it leaves room for another ex- pensive round of missile development in a hungry world now spending over 220 billion a year on military arms. The official answer here is that this "was the best we could do" and that it's better than no ceiling at all, but it limits the numbers without controlling the problem. It's a little like passing a gun control law that "limits" each adult citizen to one sub- machmegun and each child to one Saturday night special Nevertheless, the has at least been established that somewhere some limits must be put on the arms race. The first strategic arms agreement limited the number of anti ballistic mis- siles and the second the number of offensive weapons. It is a slow and dangerous business, but presumably a third or fourth or fifth agree- ment could eventually start lowering the ceiling on offen- sive weapons and therefore the staggering cost of the race It is interesting to speculate on why Brezhnev agreed to any ceiling at all and extended the agreement until 1985, by which time both he and Ford will be out of power. The most likely explanation is that the ceiling is so high that it doesn't really interfere with his policies. Also, it continues the appearance of wanting ac- commodation with the United States and increases Brezhnev's chances of getting the trade and advanced technology of the United States, which would ease his internal problems for the rest of his regime. Finally, Moscow has come to regard Sen. Henry Jackson as the most dangerous villain in American politics, and, with both Sens. Kennedy and Mondale now out of the 1976 campaign, as the man most likely to replace Ford in the White House. This is not a very happy or reassuring thought in the Kremlin, in Moscow's way of thinking, Jackson might mean a return to the worst days of the cold war, so it would rather deal with Ford and, if possible, lock the United States into a 10 year commit- ment to the policy of detente. Incidentally, it could be that the Soviets are misjudging Jackson as much as they mis- judged Nixon in the fifties and sixties. He has given them a hard time on their emigration policy and he has been a big military budget man ever since he came to Washington, but lately he has been taking a more moderate line, and his complaint about the Vladivostok agreement was not that it limited the arms race too much but that it didn't limit it enough. Jackson said he was ex- tremely disappointed that the agreement did not provide for mutual phased reductions of nuclear weapons on both sides, but permitted the Soviets "an astonishingly large number of MIRV mis- and assured that "the only way for the United States to maintain strategic equality would be to spend billions more on increasing our own force capabilities." Nobody wanted to see that, Jackson added The chances are, nevertheless, that once all the details are released and the issues debated, the Congress will agree with the president that any limitation is better than none. It is not a big "break but it's not a breakdown either. The two nuclear giants will go on abcut as before under their agreed but what they need more than a ceiling is a new foundation for world order, and this still seems extremely remote. FRANKFURT Is pessim- ism the new fashion? A number of people, in Germany and London, are alarmed that the gloom that emanates from every economic forecast will merely compound the economic difficulties the in- dustrialized nations now face. They argue that market forces combined with the Western world's natural in- ventive genius will overcome the present crisis and that the disasters now forecast are by no means inevitable. The men who propound these views are economists of good standing, yet their op- timism finds little echo among bankers in Germany and Switzerland, or the research economists in the various German think tanks. The majority of experts fear that our problems are in- soluble, not only for technical reasons, but also because economics, unlike a mobiliza- tion of enemy forces along a nation's borders, is not a sub- ject that can rouse public con- sciousness and make the public aware of the dangers that threaten it. That we are not only facing a recession, but are deep into it is the almost unanimous view from Brussels to Frankfurt and from Zurich to London.- No such unanimity exists, however, as to the causes of our troubles. Some blame the crisis entirely on the oil prices. Others claim that the rise in the price of oil was merely the pin that pricked the balloon of insatiable ex- pectations. For years now, both labor and business have believed that our living standards must rise year by year. It was the fairly universal reflation after the 1967 crisis, which, in the view of a number of economists, was the chief villain that spurred on the galloping inflation. The Ger- mans, for instance, argue that in their'seven-per-cent infla- tion oil prices account for only about two to three per cent, whereas the rest is either im- ported inflation, or one caused by the substantial rise in wages of two years ago. Inflation, most European economists argue, is national and has different causes in different countries. There is a global inflation but there are no global remedies. Nor does it appear possible to persuade democratic societies to tighten their belts and expect a decrease, rather than an increase, in their standards of living. Five years of living on credit and beyond the means of the deficit-budgeting nations had brought the in- dustrialized world to the edge of bankruptcy. The rise in oil prices then pushed it over the edge. A Zurich banker remarked that only a deep de- pression will make an impact upon the people's inflationary mentality, but he was to answer my question as to how this would affect our democratic system. It is of lit- tle comfort if getting rid of in- flation also means getting rid of democracy. In Germany, for instance, the government may soon be faced with the choice of either maintaining the present stability through strict fiscal policies, or main- taming social peace. "It might turn out to be a panic a German editor said, and nightmare was the most frequent expression I heard throughout my journey. Yet, as a senior economist at a Munich research institute put it, nobody can really speculate about the future. Economists, he remarked, lack imagination. They think strictly in figures and dis- regard the psychological fac- tor. They produce "impressive charts and trace trade cycles from which to forecast the future, but the results are no more reliable than 'if the forecaster had used a crystal ball. Five years ago, the professor told me, he too scorned all prophecies of a recession, although there was no lack of "doomsters" among German economists. But five years ago the mere thought that banks could go bankrupt was beyond belief. "I no longer trust economists as prophets. After 20 years in this profession I now leave the forecasting to the very young." If the mentality of rising ex- pectations appears insoluble so does the oil crisis and the attending mess of petrodollars. Bankers in Frankfurt and Zurich, men ac- customed to handle a large part of the world's money, believe that recycling is almost impossible because banks are not geared to handle the enormous transactions that now take place. For in- stance, a few days before my arrival in Frankfurt the dollar had weakened on the Frankfurt and Zurich markets without any apparent cause. Only later it transpired that Saudi Arabia sold dollars to buy 3.4 billion marks. There is a human element here too. The men who handle cur- rency transactions have been accustomed to deal in hundreds of thousands. An order for was an im- portant deal. When these tran- sactions are in the billion dollars range they boggle the minds of even such skilled technicians. The people who handle money seem agreed that the industrialized countries are being subjected to an un- precedented blackmail But how to set such limits seems to be beyond the capabilities of both economists and politicians. It should be done by all means short of war, a banker said That there should be a solid counter-cartel and a con- frontation with the oil- producers cartel, OPEC, was the tenor of many other dis- cussions. But all those who uttered such strong sen- timents quickly added that it was doubtful whether the in- dustrialized countries had the willpower, and the unity of purpose, to form a counter- cartel. Indeed, a European Economic Community spokesman expressed the fear that the oil crisis may cause the European community to fall apart This is exactly what the So- viet Union desires Inflation oil prices, and the rising power of the Soviet navy astride Europe's oil routes fall into a pattern that makes it difficult to share the op- timists's confidence in the future. Western world must not sacrifice Israel for oil By Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday LOS ANGELES One of the most disgraceful episodes in history is the blackmailing of the world's peoples by the oil-rich Arab nations. Even more sickening is the way many statesmen are groveling before the petroleum plutocrats. In and outside the United Nations, represen- tatives from many countries are falling over each other in their efforts to curry favor with the Arab states. A case can be made for in- viting Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization to present his case to the UN General Assembly in New York. City. But the standing ovation given Arafat went far beyond the re- quirements of diplomatic civility and seemed mainly intended to score points with the Arab delegations at the United Nations. Similarly, the snub of Israel by the UN Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was patently a bid for Arab approval. The portents of a sellout of Israel are now emerging. Are three million Israelis to be offered on the sacrificial block in an attempt to get a better oil deal than most countries new have from the Arab billionaires. If so, it is certain that the United Nations itself is not far from collapse. The United Nations was created to keep the peace and dispense justice among nations, not to bargain away the lives of millions of human Deings on the barrel heads of oil. The Palestinian refugees deserve to be heard. They are as entitled to a homeland as are the Israelis. But the worH is making a perilous mistake if it encourages terrorism and brutality as the means for achieving political goals. The manufacture or possession of nuclear weapons is now spreading at a fearsome rate. What happens when terrorist groups such as the PLO get their hands on atomic ex- plosives? The combination of nuclear blackmail and oil power could produce a fear- some condition across the world. It is as dangerous and ab- surd for the world's nations to expect that they can ingratiate .themselves with the Arabs by letting Israel go down the drain as it was for the League of Nations to try to mollify Benito Mussolini by letting him destroy Ethiopia. The Arabs have a taste of power. They are making more money out of oil in one day, as Nelson Rockefeller said, than the senior John D. Rockefeller made out of oil in a lifetime. Anyone who thinks these potentates will suddenly become socially responsible and reasonaDle at the point Israel is -ovipec! out doesn't know much about history The oil-rich Arab nations to- day are holding a dagger to the heads of two-thirds of the rest of the world. Apart from the etfect on the United States and Europe, the Arab leaders have a lock on the economies of India, Southeast Asia, Japan, the Philippines, Australia and much of Africa. if we in the United States think we are hard hit by the hike in oil prices, we are roll- ing in luxury compared to the effects, for example, on a country like India, where the billion oil differential could produce an economic collapse. The only beneficiary of that eventuality would be the People's Republic of China. In Europe, Italy and France are only a decimal point away from national bankruptcy. The time has come for the rest of the world to wake up. Instead of sniveling before the Arab potentates or trying to beg their indulgence by throw- ing the Israelis into the sea, we ought to be reacting with all the counterpressures at our combined command. We ought to be pooling our research to speed up alternate sources of power par- ticularly energy and geotherrnal energy. We ought to be engaged in all out research for fixing nitrogen in the soil in order to free ourselves from the present need .to have one ton of petroleum for every ton of fer- tilizer. We ought to be speak- ing over the heads of the Arab rulers to their peoples by every means available to us. For the Arab peoples have not fared well at the hands of their rulers not in health, housing, education or social services. We are helpless in dealing with the Arab oil kings only if we play their game Our history has prepared us to do many things but being craven isn't one of them. The Lethbridge Herald 504 7tn St S Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD. and Publishers Second Mail Registration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and Publisher DONH.P.LL.NG Managing Editor General ROY F. MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K. WALKER Editorial Page Editor ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E. BARNETT Business Manager "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"