Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 10, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
10, Wl THf IftHHIDGI HfKALD 3 Arnold Toynbee Change in inevitable T ONDON What are man- kind's prospects within the next 10 years? To try to look ahead is im- perative. The elaborate and vulnerable way of life to which we have committed ourselves by our triumphant advance in technology depends, for its maintenance, on our being able to forecast the future and to make long term plans in the light of what we foresee. But prediction is being baffled by acceleration. In all fields of human activity the pace is growing faster at an acceler- ating rate. We are more and more frequently being taken by surprise by events that we have not foreseen and for which we are not prepared. Today, all conjectures about the future are subject to this formidable caveat. Can anything be predicted now will) any confidence? Two things, at least, do seem prob- able. Within the next 10 years, the population explosion is going to continue, especially in the "developing" countries, and, during these same 10 years, the price of our techno- logical advance is going to rise so steeply that it may become manifestly prohibitive. The price has to be paid in terms of loss of health and happiness. Air, earth, and water, in- cluding the deep sea, are already being polluted to a de- gree at which we are being poisoned. At the same tune, the nature of the mechanized work which is poisoning us physical- ly, is making us unhappy, dis- contented, rebellious and vio- lent. Our work is becoming re- pulsively monotonous we are having to fight our way, twice a day. between home and work place under constantly deteri- orating conditions. The streets are becoming more and more frustratingly congested with poison spreading mechanized traffic; these streets are be- coming as noisy as the fac- tories so are the homes in which we try to rest and sleep. Here noise assaults us from cars below and from aero- planes overhead. Technology does produce wealth and power beyond our grandparents' dreams, but we, their grandchildren, are now asking ourselves whether the price, in non material terms, is not going to be higher than we can afford. Since the Indus- trial Revolution we have been pursuing the increase of pro- ductivity as an absolute objec- tive, without counting the costs. I expect that, within the next 10 years, there is going to be a revulsion against this reckless purs'iit of material gain. The revolt will begin with the mothers. When mothers find that their babies have been poisoned before birth by man- made poisons that have pene- trated the mothers' own bodies, I guess that the mothers will revolt en masse. Ik- Why suffer the discomforts of pregnancy and the pains of childbirth in order to bring into the world a new genera- tion that will have been handi- capped physically before it has started to live? Is it not an atrocity to produce children who will have been condemned in advance to lifelong suffer- ing and misery by the pollution of the world that is mankind's habitat? Is it not also an atroc- ity to produce children who will be condemned to lifelong poverty by the population ex- plosion in the economically backward majority of coun- tries? I guess that Japan may be the first country hi which this coming revolt of mothers will become a dominant political issue. In Japan today we have a preview of what is going to happen tomorrow in the rest of the world. In Japan, the Indus- trial Revolution started only a century ago. -Japan's techno- logical achievement has been enormous, but it has been ac- complished at the cost of a short sighted neglect to take precautions against the evils that industrialization brings with it. Smoke and fumes and overcrowding have been allow- ed to run riot. Japan's conse- quent plight is the whole world's plight writ large. For both Japan and the world as a whole I forecast, with some confidence, that the major issue of the next decade is going to be the conflict be- tween the demands of produc- tion and the requirements of life. This issue is a world-wide affair. It breaks through iron curtains and it makes non- sense of ideological antag- onisms. At present, all regimes are dedicated to maximizing material productivity at all costs. This is the prevailing policy under tyrannical Com- munist governments, under non Communist tyrannies, and under parliamentary rep- resentative fcoverniuenls alike. In the face of the consequent menace to the survival of the Ionian race itself, the rival- ries between competing ideolo- gies and political parties are becoming increasingly irrele- vant, mischievous and exas- perating. not only physical and psycho- not only physical and psycho- logical it is also social. The increase in the degree and in the scale of mechanization has deprived the individual of the partial self sufficiency that he possessed in the pre-industrial age. Society is now at the mercy of numerically small but technologically powerful minorities which have it in their power to bring life to a standstill at short notice by sabotaging, striking, or even just "working to rule." Union- ization has put it in the power of indispensable minorities of workers for instance, the producers of electricity and gas or the servicers of railways and airlines to -hold society to ransom. Being human, some of these key workers in some countries, have been tempted to misuse their power ,by extorting wages that exceed what can be pro- vided from current production. This greed is self defeating. Money gams unwarranted by increases in production gen- erate rises in prices that can- cel the gains by depreciating the value of money. 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Extra speaker systems ALL AT REDUCED PRICES FOR OUR 32nd ANNIVERSARY SALE 35 ORIGINAL OIL PAINTINGS HALF PRICE BANK RATE TERMS OF COURSE TO SUIT Alt BUDGETS B ERT MAC'S IB MACS TELEVISION STEREO -COMPONENTS RADIO 315 7th St. S. Two Phones 327-3232 327-5560 "Established in Lethbridge Over 32 Years" countries first, but it is likely to attack the tyrannically gov- erned countries, too, long before we reach the year 1980. Sell defeating greed, like poi- MMIOUS technology, breaks through iron curtains. This surge of demand run- ning ahead of supply is only one of the manifestations o[ the present temper of man- kind. Those of us who have power of any kind are using this power to win satisfaction for our immediate desires with- out looking ahead to count the consequences. This is literally true of the drivers of mech- anized vehicles on our roads. As the roads become more con- gested, drivers drive less cau- tiously, though driving has be- come more dangerous. The invention of the atomic weapon has inhibited us from resorting to the traditional out- let for human nature's innate violence. We have recognized that an atomic world war would result ir mutual anni- hilation. Human violence is now being forced into the al- ternative channel of civil dis- turbances. These, like every- thing else, are increasing in in- tensity. Even the tyrannical re- gimes are now failing to re- press their subjects. There have been upheavals in both Polar' and Spain. The reaction to this is to call in question the whole modern way of life. This questioning has begun in the universities, which are the world's most in- telligent and most sensitive spots. So far, the rebelling stu- dents have not been joined by the industrial workers. Now that the workers, through un- ionization, have got the upper hand in the cut throat com- petition of free economic en- terprise, they are seeking to profit, in their turn, from this free enterprise, not to abolish it. It seems likely, however, that, before 1980, the industrial workers, too, will have become disillusioned with the present system. They will have seen that, the more money they ex- tort, the more rapidly this money evaporates. It loses its purchasing power before they have had time to spend it. We can therefore foresee that the industrial workers will make common cause with the stu- dents sooner or later. If and when that happens, the revolt against the present way of life may become irresistible. The crucial question there- fore is: what direction is this revolt going to take? Its- first direction has been negative. The rebels repudiate the pres- ent state of society and try to secede from society. This is a natural reaction, but it is a barren one. To "drop out" of society is not really possible. Man cannot survive except as a social animal. If the rebels could really succeed in break- ing up human society, they would liquidate the human race as effectively as the "Estab- lishment" could liquidate it by launching an atomic war. The question is whether the move- ment of revolt will take a posi- tive instead of a negative di- rection in the next chapter of the story. What mankind needs is a new way of life with new aims, new ideals, and a new order of priorities. Health and happi- ness are more valuable than wealth and power. In our heri- tage from our ancestors we have spiritual treasures of which we can draw for inspir- ation in trying to shape our fu- ture. When we are trying to put the world right, let us re- member our human limita- tions, and, remembering these, let us resist our human tempta- tion to lose patience and to turn savage. Let us face the truth that we tlo not start free from encum- brance. Every generation, and every individual, inherits the burden of karma, the conse- quences of earlier action. We have it in our power either to mitigate our inherited karma or to aggravate it, but we can- not jump clear of and we ignore it at our peril. cannot transform this pol- luted and distracted world into Amida's "Pure Land" but this unattainable ideal can inspire us to exert ourselves to leave our impure world less impure than we have found it when we have taken over the burden of karma from our predecessors. This is a modest objective, but. if the rising generation achieves it, if will have done a very pronl service to itself and In ils descendants. (Written fir The Hrrald and The Observer, London) So They Say He is the nation's most un- guided mifsilo. Hiss Jane Fonda on Spiro Agnew, Society shouldn't gamble The Calgary Albertan PRESSURE to use lottery profits to off- set hospital deficits was bound to arise. It will get stronger as lotteries in- crease in number and, perhaps, in size, on the one hand, while hospitals put the sup- plementary-requisition bite on local tax- payers, on the other. But there are two reasons why it should be sternly resisted. One was summed up by Alderman Eric Musgreave when the matter was discussed by Calgary General Hospital trustees the other day: "I think there is something wrong with a society that has to rely on gambling for the care of the sick." The fault to such a society is irresponsibility a refusal to accept the burden imposed by a fundamental community and indivi- dual need. This is not merely a moral weakness. It is likely to have damaging practical conse- quences. For one thing, since lottery prof- its cannot be accurately forecast, hospitals which depended on them for revenue would have to live in a constant state of fiscal uncertainty. For another, if the flow of "easy" lottery money was generous enough, hospitals would be under little compulsion to manage themselves efficiently. The second objection to using lotteries to finance hospitals, schools or other essential public services is that to do so would stand the case for legalized gambling on its head. That case does not rest on the proposition that the lottery is an easy way of getting people to part with their money. It rests on the fact that people are going to gam- ble anyway and that since the gambling in- stinct cannot be repressed it should be al- lowed expression through controlled end constructive channels. It coiild be argued, with complete logic, that the entire proceeds of authorized lot- teries (except for their operating expenses) should be distributed in the form of prizes. That is unlikely to happen partly be- cause many lottery-ticket buyers like to ease their consciences with the thought that they are contributing to worthy causes. But it is one thing to allow stidi causes to benefit incidentally from the gambling instinct and quite another to ex- ploit that instinct. If hospitals were allowed to benefit from lotteries, exploitation would soon follow. It may come in Alberta, anyway, as a re- sult of the provincial govenunent'3 Inten- tion to tax lottery earnings (that is, the profits of organizations conducting lot- teries) to the tune of 10 per cent. Signi- ficantly, when Attorney-General Edgar Gerhart announced this intention last month he said the tax was being proposed lieu of us not competing." In other words, the government is already begin- ning to regard the money to be made through lotteries as more important than the control of gambling. No wonder some local officials are look- ing at hospital and school lotteries with similarly avaricious eyes. But if this inver- sion of objectives becomes entrenched, lot- teries will be promoted with as much ded- ication and determination as soap not least by politicians delighted to have dis- covered painless public finance. Is this what the government wants or is the thinking underlying ils lottery policy still as fuzzy as it was at the outset? Dealing with poverty The Financial Post rising expectations created by two decades of unparalleled affluence per capita purchasing in Canada went up 53 per cent in the 1950s and 66 per cent in the 1960s has plainly brought with it a heightened awareness of poverty. It is entirely logical to conclude, for instance, that if remarkable conspicuous consump- tion is possible for large and growing num- bers of Canadians, then the problems of poverty are also solvable. It is true that poverty in Canada is a very relative affair often more a mat- ter of income comparisons within the coun- try than a matter of the debilitating hun- ger and ill health that afflicts the disad- vantaged in less wealthy, less productive nations. This, however, doesn't make the troubles of our poor and the frustrations of the disadvantaged in an advantaged so- ciety any less real or urgent. Plainly, Canadians are about to devote massive amounts of time, energy and money in an attempt to end, not just ease, the poverty that the Economic Council says afflicts one in every four families. new impetus can be seen in the federal government's white paper on income secu- rity. It is also visible in such things as the mounting of demonstrations by the poor and in the emergence of the pro- fessional poor. The solutions in a complex industrial so- ciety are not .going to be easy to find despite the widespread and highly emo- tional drive to pull all Canadians up onto the income bandwagon. There are im- mense jurisdictional problems to overcome since the existing web of welfare schemes spans three levels of government. There is the big decision to make as to whether welfare should be regarded as a right or a handout. The issue holds immense impli- cations for monetary policy, fiscal policy and the extent of government controls in a democratic enterprise economy. Like consumer activism, much of Hie agitation by and for the poor currently deals with the issue in highly simplistic terms. The guaranteed annual income is the popular panacea of the moment. As might be expected to a society where flf- fluence is widespread, the answer now is to drown the problem, if not the poor, in money. Is this the final answer? Can we afford it? Or will the poor, without further im- mense spending in areas such as family counselling, adult education, pre-school en- richment programs for youngsters and suchlike, still be with us? The new champions of the poor loudly declaim that since poverty exists, present welfare spending has failed. This is non- sense and it does not augur well for sen- sible new solutions. Despite its massive size, Ottawa's billion a year poured into health and welfare is not designed to end poverty. It is designed to avert family and individual catastrophe. If anything, it is a platform upon which1 new measures will have to be built. Few Canadians know these problems bet- ter than Senator David Croll. For nearly two years he has taken the Senate's spe- cial committee on poverty across the land to investigate every aspect of the troubles of the poor. While his report is still not due for a few weeks, he has indicated two possible solu- tions: create new jobs and establish a guaranteed annual income. Croll has also indicated that the most important task for his committee is to provide a plan for the 1970s "a statement of the challenges, the choices that are open to us as a so- ciety." To be of real service, Croll's report must be more than eloquent recital of our pre- sent woes. It must show how jobs can be created, how workers with limited educa- tion can participate with dignity in a tech- nological society. It must show how much it would cost to guarantee incomes and how this can be financed. Gun controls in Canada The Hamilton Spectator "JUSTICE Minister Turner has ordered a review of Canada's firearms sales laws. Current gun sale controls obviously aren't adequate anyone who appears to be over 16 can buy a high-powered rifle (with or without telescopic sights) or large- bore shotgun, and the appropriate ammu- nition. But a new set of rules, both realistic and effective, won't come easily. A review ought to sired some useful light. Canada's Restricted Weapons rules ap- pear on the surface to be fairly adequate for the sale and control of handguns and machine guns. Those weapons must bo registered with the Royal Canadian Mount- ed Police (locally, through city police) and the Criminal Code puts an onus upon both seller and buyer when the firearms change hands. Anyone 16 or over is eligible to register a restricted weapon hut police may deny applications. Children 14 and 15 may qualify to regis- ter handguns if they pass a safe pin hand- ling course and have their parents' or guardians' consent. The rules aren't wholly adequate be- cause the screening procedure isn't perfect (men with violent crime records have, for instance, managed somehow to win per- mission to own and carry restricted wea- pons The same registration rules couldn't bo applied directly to rifles and shotguns be- cause many don't have serial numbers the means of linking the registered owner with the registered weapon. And there isn't much question that most of the privately owned guns in Canada are rifles and shot- guns. But the federal government should ex- plore licensing possibilities. If gun owners required licences, issued only to people screened for their gun handling compe- tence, their criminal records (if and their need for a gun, sales might be re- stricted to legitimate sportsmen and col- lectors who have proved they are quali- fied to handle a gun and who accept re- sponsibility for it. Any move toward more gun controls is hound to provoke controversy, for there is no lobby more powerful (and puzzling) than the gun lobby, particularly in a coun- try where many boys cut their teeth nn gun barrels sometimes blowing their heads off in I he process. And no laws will keep guns out of the hands of the truly des- perate. Realistic gun laws could, however, give civil authorities the power to disarm those who have guns for no legitimate purpose and to keep guns out of the hands of the incompetent and the foolish.