Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 10, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THfi LETHBRIDGE HERALD Thursday, Dewmbor 10, 1970- III LA y iv. The press can take it Nora Balotf The problems behind Britain's strikes ...l.ni- M-imr jinnnnmisf s JlTft The cluef function of the press is to acquaint Uio people with what al the other institutions are doing, and tlus often means deeper inquiry than the institutions might like. In a lurn- aboul-fair-play sense, then, the Sen- ate's study of'the communications in- dustry was generally appreciated by the people, however much the mere suggestion of it offended the industry The report, having been obtained at considerable public expense and representing the work and thought ot several competent people, should and will be studied at length by both the industry and the public. That study will take time. In the meantime it might be ob- served that the committee largely avoided the pitfall of advocating a controlled press. That the press lias innumerable faults and weaknesses, nobody knows better than those working in it. That it is the duly of governments or other regulatory bodies to deal with these, the people are too often told by those who are made uncomfortable by an untram- melled press. Apart from recom- mending press councils and a ied- cral body to sit in review of press ownership consolidation (two sugges- tions fraught with danger as well as the committee seems to ap- preciate the importance of keeping the press out of the clutches of gov- ernmental authority. The report, concerned with the re- lation of advertising to the press, may have committed a serious over- sight It might have stressed much more than it did that publishing newspapers and magazines costs far more than what the reader pays di- rectly, and any reduction of adver- tising revenue 'means an increase in the price to the subscriber if the pub- lication is to stay alive. Yet most people object to paying what a publi- cation really costs. Advertising per- forms two important functions. It gives the people valuable guidance in the expenditure of their consumer dollars, and it pays the major share of the cost of bringing the news to them. That is something the people should be reminded of whenever the press is under discussion. In the initial news stories on the Davey re- port we didn't see it mentioned. T ONDON While Britain's wage price spiral is still hurtling upwards tlio num- ber of strikes reaching an all- tune record, there is a natural, but in fact only very partially justified, case for pinning the blame on the small revolution- ary fringe whose aim is not to raise living standards but to de- molish Britain's economic and political structure. Exorbitant wage claims, bear- ing no relation to the slow growth of the national economy, are something totally new in Britain's industrial experience. Claims are being filed every day for wage rises, 30 per cent, 45 per cent, even 50 per cent, whereas until recently it used to be thought excessive if they reached double figures. Rail- waymen, car workers, post office workers, dockers, as well as the specialized categories, such as policemen, teachers, journalists, are all in the fray protesting cither that they are not maintaining their earlier lead or that they are being left unfairly behind. Backing up the daily experience of industr i a 1 anarchy have come the grim figures showing Britain has had more strikes in the past year than at any time since the Gen- eral Strike of 1926. There are at least Uiree ma- jor reasons why industrial rela- tions would be at an all time low even if the politically-mo- tivated red fringe did not exist. The first is the disheartening and ever accelerating rise in the price of food, clothes, house- hold essentials, beer, indeed al- most everything everybody buys. After the devalua- tion, prices were expected to go up to take account of the in- creased cost of imports and then to level off. They never did. The Labor Party claims that the mechanism it set up in Whitehall, while it was in power, for restraining prices did in fact limit the speed of growth. Mr. Heath came into office af- ter making rising prices the main plank of his attack on La- bor, but after their first five months of office the Conserva- tive government has done no better than its predecessor in holding price tags down. Wild wage claims are of course far greater than the effective rise in prices so far; but it is un- derstandable that after three years rising prices, workers London lights out again The strike weapon is being used in Britain with particularly vicious im- pact in the case of the electrical workers' walkout. Its effects are felt by everyone but they are particu- larly distressing and dangerous to the poor, the sick, the solitary and the old. The top dogs of the electrical workers' union seem to have little sympathy for the hapless victims their outrageous demands for a twen- ty per cent increase in pay, nor any clear understanding of the effect on the economic future of their country if the government is forced to give in Unless the government succeeds in reducing wage level settlements it will be forced either into a dis- astrous inflationary spiral or brutal deflationary legislation which could result in unemployment on a cruel SCAlready, as Nora Beloff points out in her article on this page, there is a growing suspicion that labor mili- tants are infiltrated with Communist agitators. The Communist Morning Star, objecting flatly to any measures to control illegal strikes, calls bellig- erantly for the trade union movement to "fight it out, not allowing its hands to bo tied behind its back." Tough words for a tough battle. Prime Minister Heath's biggest problem how to deal with infla- tion, at the same time talking trade unionism into a more cooperative mood has reached the crunch stage. A state of emergency would allow the government to clamp rigid controls on the use of electricity, but it will not get it out of the wage-price situation. Greater under- standing by labor of the govern- ment's dilemma, more flexibility and less rock solid opposition would help. But there's little indication that the trade unions have got the mes- sage and are prepared to attempt to understand it. In the meantime British industry is slowed almost to a halt, householders shiver, food goes uncooked, trains don't run and the sick die because the lights are off again in London and all over England. "Remember, No base their demands not on what has happened, but what they ex- pect is still to come. The second reason for the present difficulties is the con- tinued process of a very belat- ed shift from the old industrial to the new technological revolu- tion Britain, having been first in the field in moving from agriculture to industry, still ro- tates many Hlh century fac- tories and industrial methods while other countries less de- veloped or whose industries had been destroyed during the Sec- ond World War have new and more productive industrial plants. Nonetheless, as a trading country compelled to remain in- ternationally competitive it is now under going the belated transformation from the old- fashioned to the new science- based industries. There have been vast shifts of population involving millions of people and redeployment oE labor away from the coal mines the railways, the steel mills, the textile factories. The Labor Government was committed to trying to protect the human casualties, even though this was done in untried experimental, and often very cosily, ways. Wage related unemploym e n t benefits took some of the sting out of unemployment and vast government subsidies were pro- vided to preserve employment in defiance of the iron laws of supply and demand. The Con- servative Government is dedi- cated to reviving the market mechanisms and withdrawing subsidies and aid except where these are economically profit- able. The first sharp evidence of the seriousness of this intention came when it refused to bail out the Liverpool dock company that was unable to meet its ob- ligations to private investors. Labor would have done so, for the port employs men and handles a quarter of Bri- tain's exports. Liverpool is an area well known for union mili- tancy, and latest figures reveal that on an average day 560 dock- ers are on strike and 43o ab- sent without leave. This, the Conservatives feel, will leach employers that if they cannot discipline labor they must not come r u n n i n g to the govern- ment for aid. Many economists arc predict- ing that this government will overcome inflation only at the cost of unemployed and the trades unions, with folk memories of the 1930s slump, are in an embattled mood try- ing lo fight back. Finally, against tliis back- ground of union hostility the Conservati ves are Irying to force through a bill to curb un- official strikes. All the trades union leaders are resisting ef- forts to impose legal sanctions on industrial disputes. The gov- ernment is hoping that once tho unions have made their protest they will adjust to legal re- straints, whereas the unions are hoping that by refusing to col- laborate hi implementing the they can prove it unwork- able. Beyond them, however, 1 e f t- wing militants organized an un- ofiicial token strike defying the law by using the strike weap- m, not to forward an industrial dispute, but to challenge a Par- liamentary dec i s i o n. Not all workers involved were political- ly motivated. Many were sim- ply anxious to emphasize their objections to what they feel is a challenge to their exist i n g rights. There is certainly not enough evidence to sustain the allegation of Lord Bobens, chairman of the National Coal Board, that there is a centrally- organized conspiracy: "I ac- cuse the militants of this coun- he said, "that by a Com- munist conspiracy they are try- ing to do what the Russians have not been able to do in this country and Western Europe." All that is so far freely recog- nized both by Labor leader Harold Wilson and by Conser- vative Prime Minister, Edward Heath, is that there are Whole areas of the counlry and whole sectors of the Labor movement so heavily infiltrated by politi- cally motivated militants that these rule out any meaningful collective bargaining or arbit- ration on wage disputes. The real problem is how far the certainly small minority of militants can benefit from the general disarray and win over the rank-and-file which no long- er feels it has anything to gain by collaborating with an elect- ed government. (Written for The Herald, and The Observer, London) Tim Traynor education Nixon administration shows concern over inflation rpHERE seems lo be no doubt that Dr. -1 Ivan mich is serious when he advo- cates, as he did at a recent conference in Canada, that the school system be abolish- ed. The value of education, lie said, is be- ing sacrificed to the value of going to school. As he is serious, and as he is a capable thinker, he has said things that must evoke a deenlv felt response in anyone who has reflect on the history of modern sctool- ing and on his own experience of life and within schools. His judgments not only mer- it close study but must prompt re-exam- ination of the role of the school in the We of individuals and in society as a whole. In what ways have schools hampered rather than helped true education? First let it be said that no one but narrow pe- dants some quiz-ianded and narrowly am- bitious parents, and some pragmatical pro- fessors who preach a shallow socializing version of education, really confuses school- ino with education. School is part, and not always an important part, of education And any schooling that does not at least sow the seeds of creative learning or stim- ulate rather than stifle the natural desire to know, is bad schooling. Let us admit that there has been a good deal of bad schooling. Even at elementary levels, fas- cinating'studies like history (so important in an age which is soaked in that mod- ernity so beloved of the advertiser) which, in earlier years ought to be vivid narra- tive full of ideas, are uessicated by dull fact- grubbing, where the emphasis is on infor- mation without imagination, the acquisition of which is tested by stultifying multiple- choice questions. And while dulled minds and TV spoilt imaginations graze with bovine comfort on endless multiple-choice vocabulary exercises; the more vivacious long for upland pastures and mountain peaks undreamed of by the so-called objec- tive testers. The self styled progressrast heirs of Dewey, so often lacking the under- standing of Dewey himself, seem to know everything about learning except what it means to be human. Moreover, too often today the heavy hand of specialization with all its manpower im- plications and notions of efficiency reaches down almost to the kindergarten stage, re- moving or lessening that bond that a ver- satile teacher, who once taught most things to her pupils, used to have with those in her cr.nrcc. And as .schools adopt more ard more the fuzzy notion of 'socializa- tion' so much an oil penetrating fog around us today, pressures towards con- formity and debilitation of standards in- crease. Then when students arc mature enough to engage in independent study and when they Becfj even more than ever the tutorial, Hunt seminar and small group discussioc, classes are large. Of course, with skill and insight and determination much education- al work can still be done within this frame- work; but too often the more dynamic spirit of inquiry is sacrificed to a forrr; of social engineering. Knowledge tends to be broken up into separate parcels, and despite the natural quality in any good teaching, espe- cially in the humanities, to transcend sub- ject limitations, teachers do not work as a group, sharing insights, 'promoting inter- disciplinary pursuit of truth. Perhaps the root error was in succumb- ing to the imperious role of the state in education. Perhaps when voluntaryism de- clined, the better spirit of learning was doomed to its present fate. For Ihe slats, of its nature, is without any philosophical title to dictale what sound schooling is. And this in no way denies the fact that even so, departments of education have been responsible for some fine achievements. It means that education cannot be run as a function of the state or as an efficient business. However, the positive side to all of this is that for many people, schooling has meant an enrichment; for some, the only source of enrichment. Within the schools the heritage of our civilization lives on in literature and language, history, liberal science and the arts, and in the best ideals the school community upholds. Outside the school there are so many influences which are anti educational, so many exploiters and propagandists, so many pressures to- wards a final descent into barbarism, that good schools are more necessary than ever. If Dr. Illich's recommendation prevailed, the vast and spontaneous learning he envis- ages would not materialize, for we are not living in that kind of world. Schools have been to a marked extent, but need not be, centres of mediocrity; homes of the unoriginal, refrigerators of the talented mind. If they are to justify themselves, they will only do so on the grounds that they are unlike, rather than hie the bureaucratic and comm e r c i a 1 world outside: centres of human values rather than passing fashion; homes of com- munal identity rather than vast seas of atom like individuals; places of friend- ship, co operation and concern for wis- dom and the "best that has been thought and said" rather than of competitive strife; schools of craftsmanship rather than shod- dy mass-production. And if all this sounds as though I think schools should smaller, more secluded but in co-operative harmony with parents, more flexible and varied in structure and If.ss of a monolithic system where all t'no ;he of a pyramid and where replaces deeper thought, then J must admit it; I do. WASHINGTON: The so- called "inflation alert" is- sued by the Nixon administra- tion is the most forceful ex- pression to date of White House concern about the outlook for the economy. There is a tank acknowledgment that, after a prolonged disinflationary cam- paign, there has not been a de- cisive breakthrough. With re- expansion indicated to offset stagnation and unemployment, the price and wage increase is still well beyond what would be compatible with economic sta- bility. In the alert, the president's council of economic advisers is highly crilical of price and wage developments in major in- dustries, and deals more blunl- ly than ever before with the possible implications. At a time of rising protection- ist pressures, the council point- edly underlines the role of im- ports as an option to domestic products involved in the price upsurge. Recent increases in oil prices come in for especially strong criticism, with the im- plication that the administra- tion is prepared to try to un- dercut them by loosening re- strictions on oil imports. (In- deed, the recent agreement in principle to give Canadian oil broader access to the Ameri- can market was probably strongly influenced by anti-in- flationary The council complains about moves to cut back domestic oil production despite the price in- creases, which resulted in a J5 per cent jump in gasoline prices in mid November. "Surely in- direct action to curtail produc- tion normal market pres- sures were not allowed to pre- the council states disap- provingly. After commenting critically on the recent General Motors wage settlement, as well as auto price increases, the council ob- serves: "This year's large price increases inevitably expose the domestic industry and iis em- ployees to increased competi- tion from cars made overseas." Of the wage settlement, the council says that even apart from a provision granting in- creases keyed to in the cost of living, the deal "sub- stantially exceeds any trend es- timates of gains in national pro- and would, if applied throughout the economy clearly push up HIP price Though the council remains officially non committal on di- rect government involvement tx> curb inflation in industry, it has effectively set aside passivity in its moves on oil and in its strong commentary on the auto settlement. Coupled with an at- tack on the idea that one high wage settlement entitles work- ers in other industries to seek matching gains, the comments on the auto settlement add up to a pointed call for restraint in other industries involved in wage negotiations, particularly steel. This is the next thing to the sort of exhortation practices by earlier administrations, and em- phatically disavowed at the out- set by the Nixon administra- lion. And, despite its misgivings about direct government inter- vention, the administration, has, in the oil matter, clearly turn- ed in the direction of straight- forward pressures. The council's comments on the establish m e n t of wage- price guidelines, or even con- trols, are perhaps to be read against this background. Assert- ing that the private economy "must be made to conform to the requirements of greater price the council af- firms that this "may be brought about, and is being brought about, by the operation of the market as influenced by the government's fiscal and mone- tary policies." However, it goes on to refer lo wage price con- trols and adds pointedly: "Sure- ly the process of adjustment will be made less painful lo the extent that it can be brought about by increased understand- ing and voluntary co-operation of the private citizens." Science studies age question WHAT IS man's natural life n span? The question is as old as man himself, or at least his study of himself. But until fairly re- cently, it has been largely aca- demic (or theological, consider- ing the Bible's threescore and ten, with Mettiuselah apparent- ly some sort of rule-proving In recent decades, however, rapid advances' in removing or minimizing major causes of early deaths have given the question newly practical significance. At the beginning of man's re- corded history, the average life span was probably something like 18 years. By 1900, it had doubled and by now it is around 70, give or take a few years, in most of the world's developed nations. Current scientific thinking is tending to fall in line with the Bible. This may well be about as far as we go. Dr. Ralph Goldman, profes- sor of medicine at UCLA, has noted in Geriatric Focus, for example, that cardiovascular disease accounts for roughly half of the deaths in the United States. Prevention or cure would add only four or five years to average life expec- tancy, it is estimated. W h a t then? In Dr. Goldman's technical language, the thinking is that "there is a natural intrinsic structural and functional decre- ment in all living orpanisms from maturity onward Death becomes a function of age rather than of any specific disease process, and individual longevity has a normal, finite NBA Service value controlled by intrinsic rather than extrinsic factors." Ultrasimplified, with the fac- tor of disease removed the human organism is something like the one-boss shay when it's allotted span is completed, it will simply cease to function. A noted British expert Sir Solly Zuckerman, has weighed in with a concurring opinion, suggesting in particular that after a point, scientific medical care apparently yields diminishing returns in added years. He notes that despite much greater research and fa- cilities in the United States than in Britain, American men still do not live as loiig as Britons (67 years as compared witn 70 years on the Meanwhile, the Soviet Union where super life spans ap- parently abound, judging from the frequent news items of Georgian farmers and Uzbek shepherds well past the cen- tury mark is involved in an intensive and comprehensive study of its aged population to shed light on the natural life- span and tiic natural conditions c o n d u c i v c lo completing it. Findings, also reported in Geriatric Focus, in a four-year study uf citizens SO and over are tentatively unflatter- ing to our urban society. Long life spans tend to be associated with rural inhabitants and o[ the rural elderly, 39.2 per cent are "relatively healthy" (cap- able of self-care and light work) in contrast to only 28.6 per cent of urban aged in similar con- dition. These questions of age are of considerably more than aca- demic interest today. pop- ulation explosion is, after all, not primarily a matter of a massive increase in births but of a drastic decrease in deaths, or of deferred death. Paradoxically, with the bal- ance o! population power seemingly tipping toward the young, the processes and prob- lems of age become increasing- ly significant. Looking THROUGH THE HERALD ]320 Weather forecasts for months ahead will be possible in a few years, as a direct re- sult of solar observations, ac- cording to an asistant direc- tor of the Dominion observa- tory hi Ottawa. 1930-AIberta teachers arc facing a growing unemploy- ment problem. It is estimated that there are some 400 to 700 teachers out of work in Alberta at the present time. The Alber- ta Teachers' Alliance is asking the government to close the normal school lo relieve the problem. Airlines an- This statement should also be seen in the light of the fact that adherence to a hands off pol- icy might well point to the re- versal of moves toward econo- mic expansion, if, as seems like- ly, the inflationary p_pt con- tinues to boil. (With and prices rising, expansion would become a sure recipe for even worse For die administration, there will be ev- ery reason to sustain the expan- sion necessary to ensure a rela- tively low unemployment rate during the run up to the 1972 presidential election. The prospects as of now are summed up as follows by the council: Productivity, which has re- cently grown in such a way as to ease inflation, cannot be ex- pected to increase at more than a three per cent rate. "This means that a continuing rate of increase of employee compen-- sation per hour of seven per cent per year (the current rate) would commit the economy to a continuing inflation rate of about four per cent." (Herald Washington Bureau) backward nounced that they had printed calendars in the barber shop use. The pur- pose: so that a man being shaved or shorn could look in the mirror aid read the text behind him. 22 per cent cut. to small fresh meat ration of Brit- ish consumers has been made. Corned beef was put on the market as a substitute for the loss. 1960 Public assistance has cost Lethbridge more this year than it has for at least 12 years. To date almost per- sons have applied for and re- opiverl .issistnncc, an increase of more than GOO over last year. The Letlikidge Herald 5M 7th St. Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD., Proprietors and Publishers Published 1905 1954, by Hon. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No. OOU Tha ranartian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspapir n" and'Ve Audit Bureau of emulation, CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager ,nc BAI I A WILLIAM HAY Eflirorlal Pag. Editor "THE HERAID SERVES THE SOUTH"