Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 26, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 - THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD - Monday, February 26, 1973 Growing appetite leaves cupboard bare By Bruce Hutchison, Herald special commentator Inexcusable act Hopes for some kind of settlement of the long festering Middle East situation have probably been dashed Jx>r some time as a result of the stunning shooting down of the Libyan airliner by the Israeli air force. Nothing the Israelis can say about the tragedy will curb the criticism around the world or mollify the outraged people of the Arab community. There just is no excuse for shooting down an airliner. Always some latitude has to be allowed for pilots getting lost because of malfunction of equipment. The possibility of peculiar flight patterns and unresponsive pilots being due to hijackers cannot be ignored today either. One of the things this incident has done is lend credence to the repeated charge that Israeli military personnel are trigger happy. Israel cannot afford to give real or imagined grounds for the withdrawal of support. Although it cannot seriously be believed that the destruction of the airliner was another act of reprisal in the never ending game of tit-for-tat, this event is almost bound to set off ugly incidents to which Israel will respond. Thus an already bad situation seems destined to deteriorate even more. Fortunately the big powers do not seem to be so intransigently com-mited to one side or the other in the Middle East now. The thaw which has taken place between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. means that trouble in the Middle East does not have the same ominous overtones as was previously the case- Nevertheless, a settlement of the Israeli-Arab conflict is needed. It will require the utmost in diplomatic skill to get back on track of that goal now. Cheap heat The announcement of a 51 per cent increase in crude oil imports from Canada by the United States follows earlier reports of fuel shortages in our neighboring country. Shortage of fuel forced the temporary winter closure of both schools and factories in some parts of the United States. The situation is expected to remain "tight" all winter. Coupled with this news are reports of a power shortage with the increased need for power sources to feed the millions of outlets which have come to be viewed as necessary by today's affluent society. The practice of plugging in everything from scissors to toothbrushes may have to go and the habit of jumping into the family car to reach the corner store abandoned. In short affluence could eventually strangle man. Inventors will be exploring ways of curbing fuel and electricity consumption. Designers will be experimenting with house plans devoid of furnace and electrical dependance. The furnace and meter man may become superfluous. One of the most Innovative experiments with fuel saving to date is that of Bob Reines of Alburquerque, New Mexico, who has designed the world's first home to be totally heated by the sun and electrified by the wind. A conventional structure the same size as Reines' hemispherical home would require about 10 times the heat to maintain the same temperature and would use five times as much electricity. Bulbs totallying less than 150 watts, brighten the entire Reines' home. The house, which cost $12,000 to build, requires less of nature's energy than any comparable house in the world. It is designed to conserve heat, water and electricity. Propellers charge 16 high-capacity storage batteries, while simple solar collectors heat 3,000 gallons of water in a system heated by the sun beating down on black copper tubes. The house, called Portotype 1, is already obsolete with plans for Portotype II now on the drawing boards and expected to be completed by 1974. It will be a wind-solar powered home that anyone good with his hands can build. Using wind and sun for power and heat could transform home construction throughout America. Home operation and building costs would be drastically reduced and greater cleanliness result. When the Reines leave their home to visit Alburquerque they are struck by the unintentional but irreparable waste and ugliness: the power lines,, the smoke, the smog and the crowding. No power lines are needed in their wind-powered home and the sun-furnace emits no smoke or grime. Wind-powered generators and solar heat have done for the Reineses what energy experts for years have said could not be done - it has provided a good standard of living without backup from commercial energy sources. From such a beginning, the builder envisages a proliferation of minimum-energy homes in the U.S. and then throughout the world. ERIC NICOL Old before you're young Canada has been advised by its science council to "start moving from a consumer to a conserves society and lead the world toward a fairer distribution of earth resources" (as reported by the Canadian Press). At first sight one might suppose that the science council had taken leave of its senses. For what is it proposing? It is proposing a revolution not only in our economic system but in our own little private lives. We are urged to reduce our intended consumption of goods VANCOUVER - Breathes there a man, with soul so dead Who never to himself hath said, This is the year I diddle the feds with a tax deductible contribution to a registered pension plan? If so, he doesn't read the business page. For weeks, and with a crescendo that climaxes with the end of February, ads and accountants have urged the taxpayers to accountants have urged the tarpayer to make the hegira to the trust company of his choice, or to one of the other Meccas where the infidel tax collector may not enter, to lay his grubby sleeve on our savings. Allah and Merrill, Lynch be praised! But what is this heightened attention to a retirement income doing to the aging process? A man is only as old as he feels-till he reads The Financial Times. Then he breaks out in liver spots. I've aged 10 years in the past month and I don't even subscribe. A pei-son can't see the words RETIREMENT and PENSION thrust before his increasingly rheumy eyes without experiencing intimations of mortality that may impair his ability to get out of bed in the morning. Shaving, I ask the mirror, mirror, on the wall: "Should my RRSP be geared to security of capital and a high long-term interest rate, or to a long-term capital gains which will be a help against inflation?" "That depends," smirks the mirror, "on how close you are to retirement." Judging by the face in the mirror, how close I am to retirement is about 12 minutes. I don't need a long-term anything. At the rate at which I am aging visibly, what I want is a quickie plan that pays off before I totter out of the investment when all the institutions of society are designed to increase it; to limit our standard of living when all governments promise to raise it perpetually. No revolution of such magnitude, both physical and mental, has ever been proposed before now in any society-a complete reversal of everything we have been taught to believe since civilization began. Yet the science council may not be as crazy as it looks. In fact, it has merely added up some obvious figures and reached some obvious conclusions. For example, it must have noted that the United States already is consuming a lion's share of the world's total production, is increasing its demands by about six per cent annually on a compounded rate, and at the end of this century will have increased its population by something like 50-mil-lion extra consumers. The resulting figures are beyond my calculation but they must mean that, by, 2000 A-D., American consumption will at least double. Where will the American economy get the stuff to feed its insatiable appetite, assuming that it can somehow pay for the imports? Perhaps it could get enough if other nations demanded no more of the total, or better, less. But their demands and their populations are also increasing at a rapid rate and they hope, in time, to enjoy the American living standard. To take another example, if nearly a billion people in China reached that standard*-or half of it-they alone would need house. Just pop the money into the pokes under my peepers. The point of these calcified thoughts is that if I, in middle age, am affected by the Greek chorus chanting of pension plans, what is it doing to the young man of thirty or forty? Is it normal and healthy for those in the prime of life to be insistently reminded that the profitable years begin at 65? That the rest is mere prelude to the gorgeous pay-off of accumu-la'.ed benefits? In February we verge on the season when a young man's fancy lightly turns, if given a chance, to thoughts of love. Instead he is inspired to cry hey, nonny< nonny, the deductible contribution to a registered pension plan is icumen in. Today we see many young people who are prematurely grey. The hair specialists blame too much hair washing. I blame brainwashing. Young persons are brooding about choice of RRSP when they should be out gamboling with lamb and bee among the dandelions. No doubt a person should provide for his old age, but is there not something insidious about the income tax that bribes us to contemplate ourselves as Darby and Joan while yet we should be Daphnis and Chloe? Ideally, young people should never have to think about their old age because they will be looked after, regardless of how silly they have been about savings, by their children and grandchildren. This is how primitive tribal societies function, with the result that their young people look different from their old people. Their faces are not lined by the graph of retirement income. Then come and kiss me, sweet and twenty, Youth's a stuff will not endure . , , 'Now, that's what I call a 'dollar crisis'!' Sailing with the wind may wreck ship By Peter Desbarats, Toronto Star commentator Release of the budget this week carried with it a cautious but official indication that Finance Minister Turner is sailing with the wind at long last in his battle against unemployment. Since' he took over the portfolio a year ago, Turner has consistently invited Canadians to assess the government's per-f-mance on the basis of its record in reducing unemployment. He identified employment as his "most urgent priority" last February. In his first budget speech last May, he said that "the main thrast of this budget is to deal with this problem." The first words of his budget speech this week were: "The purpose of this budget is, first Letters Defends advertisement I was most incensed by the attitude and vocabulary of Marilyn Anderson in her letter of objection to the abortion advertisement inserted by the Picture Butte Knights of Columbus. Attention to this aspect of abortion has long been overdue at a time in history when with all things increasing in price, the prenatal human has suddenly become .very cheap. It is high time the fetus had some support and I congratulate the Picture Butte Knights of Columbus for the concern they have shown. For the record I am neither of the Roman Catholic faith nor paitieularly religious but this doesn't matter for the subject should transcend religious barriers. It is a pity therefore that Marilyn Anderson did not attack anti - abortion per se and not use it as an excuse to conduct what'appears to be a personal vendetta- against this religion. As one who believes human life to commence at conception I consider the final line of the advertisement, "Today my mother killed me", as entirely relevant. It may be that a one - eighth inch human embryo is incapable of thought as the letter suggests but what about a six and one - half months fetus which is capable of extra-uterine life and in some areas also qualifies for abortion? I doubt its thinking capacity differs very much from a baby up to a few weeks of age. It is difficult to draw a line, should we therefore not err on the side of humanity? The impression I gained from the letter is that abortion means nothing or nothing less than an appendectomy. Moral values are slowly but surely being eroded for the sake of permissiveness and convenience. The downhill slide is easy to start but difficult to halt. The situation is nicely summed up by Dr. John Marshall, Chief of Obstetrics and Gyneacology at Harbor General Hospital, Torrence, California, who says, "if a woman comes into tins office and all you do is empty her womb, all you're treating is the symptom. You have to treat the disease, irresponsible sexuality - as well". The world is becoming overburdened with humanity but .abstinence and contraception are far more. satisfactory than abortion as solutions. Abortion has its place when the fetus is shown to be defective or in certain circumstances when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. I respectfully suggest Marilyn Anderson pay more attention to ways and means of preventing conception rather than apparently advocating wholesale and socially acceptable abortion. W.N. HARRIES Lethbridge. Scores inequities Congratulations to Mr. Niels Kloppsnborg for his letter in the Herald (Feb.14). I think a lot of people are thoroughly disgusted with the penal reform system and it's inequities. For instance, I notice locally that three men who conducted an armed robbery snd took $2,200 got out. on bait while another who stole $100 in a break - in was remanded in custody! Furthermore, why should the capital punishment question be decided by MPs who sometimes admit they do not reflect the wishes of their constituents? This should be settled by a plebiscite of the total population. G. KENNETH WAITS Lethbridge. and foremost, to bring about a substantial reduction in unemployment." After a year of this rhetoric, unemployment rates are still high. The government's record in this respect remains extremely vulnerable. For almost three years, the unemployment rate has averaged six per cent or higher. Last year it peaked at 6.9 per cent in September, the month before Canadians voted on the government's performance. The seasonally adjusted rate remained above six per cent last month, although it dropped to 6.2 per cent from 6.7 per cent in December. But there are now signs that Turner can reasonably expect to bring the rate below six per cent this year, and that the downward trend will accelerate into the seventies barring unforeseen economic reverses. In his budget speech, Turner predicted that 300,000 new jobs will be created this year, compared with 250,000 last year and . 200,000 new jobs in 1971. Officials of the finance department estimated that if the participation rate in the labor force remains constant in 1973, unemployment for the year will average 5.2 per cent. This would be the lowest annual figure since 1939. The factor that is finally starting to swing the trend in Turner's favor is the pill, as well as changing patterns of family life that have contributed to a lower birth rate for several decades. Up to now the sheer growth of Canada's labor force, fueled by the postwar baby boom, has defeated every effort of the Trudeau government to reduce the unemployment rate. It was accurate but politically futile for the government to boast that Canada in recent years has bad the fastest rate of job creation of any industrialized society. Every time a new job was created there seemsd to be two new applicants for it. This has been a major factor in maintaining the high unemployment rate in the last half of the sixties. It is now beginning to change. A recent study for the prime minister's office indicates that the growth of the labor force started to taper off last year after a period of rapid increase that had lasted since 1966, In the early sixties, the annual rate of increase in the population 14 years of age and over was two per cent. By 1966 it was 2.6 per cent. It peaked the following year at 2.9 per cent but remained high through 1971, when it was 2.5 per cent. Last year, according to current estimates, it declined to 2.4 per cent, the beginning of a forecasted downward trend that will cut the rate of increase to 1.9 per cent by the end of the decade, and to 1.3 per cent by 1984. These population estimates, of course, will be affected by such factors as job opportunities and working habits of Canadians before they are translated eventually into employment - statistics. But the demographic component that they express is the basic factor that determines the size of the actual labor force in Canada. The changing population statistics also contain several hidden benefits for future governments. The population bulge that helped to create high unemployment among young workers in recent years will make itself felt, in the seventies, in the 25-to-34 age group. Male workers in this age group traditionally have the highest rate of participation in the labor force. With growing family responsibilities, workers in this age group tend to seek employment more efficiently and to stick with their jobs for longer periods of time than do younger workers. Another fact which will re* duce unemployment in the seventies is a deceleration in the growth of female participation rates in the labor force. The Economic Council of Canada has used these and other factors to project a 2.8 per cent annual growth rate of the labor force during the seventies compared with a rate of 3.2 per cent between 1965 and 1970. These are the forecasts that Turner has in mind when he talks about the risk of "overshooting" in his effort to reduce unemployment. The unemployment problem should start to take care of itself to some extent in this decade. But there are not similar statistical indicators to comfort Turner in his efforts to control inflation. Copyright 1973. Toronto Star Syndicate) .. most of the world's current production. Projecting the figures for a century or so, the science council doubtless sees that they are simply impossible. Apart from the related problem of pollution our minor planet does not contain sufficient materials to supply the projected demand. Even the present demand for such things as energy is pressing hard on supply and will press still harder before long. (The shieks or Arabia intend to live high on their oil rigs.) Despite all the figures, however calculated, the science council so far as I know is the only important voice raised in Canada against our smug conventional wisdom. Certainly the politicians of all parties are making exactly the opposite argument. They tell us in every speech and budget that our present living standard Is too low, t hat it must keep rising forever and will do so if only the right party is elected whether the necessary resources are available or not. In the clamor of politics the only voice of the science council is drowned. Anyone who heeds it is likely to be suspected of reactionary thoughts, anti-social behavior, perhaps Communism or worse. The real, dedicated Communist will argue of course, that all these problems are the natural result of a system known as capitalism (though this word has lost most of its original meaning.) If Communism actually limited the demand on the earth's diminishing raw materials then it could claim to be wiser in this respect than so-called capitalism. On the contrary, it claims that it can and will incease the demand faster than the other system if it is given the chance. Russia has been given the chance and asserts that claim in its rising production and con-sumption (also pollution), though the western non-Communist nations are still far ahead. But the physical process is the same everywhere under every system. All of them, with various ideological labels, seek the same objective and achieve the same result in depleting the world's only real wealth (as distinguished from the mere bookkeeping arrangement called money). All of them promise an unlimited future abundance which, in total, cannot be delivered for physical-not financial or political-reasons. That, I take it, is what the science council is talking about. It is thinking in long terms. The politicians with rare exceptions, are talking and thinking in short terms because that is the nature of their trade. As always we shall look in vain to politics for long thought or basic remedies. They must come from men who are not concerned with elections, popularity and votes. Yet even the most ignorant politician can see the end of the physical process as it is going now without the help of the science council and other non-partisan thinkers. He can see, if he thinks at all, that an ever-increasing world population, an ever-increasing consumption of materials and an ever-rising standard of living may fit the myths of politics but deny the simple laws of mathematics. We are told that two and two make five or more. If Abraham Lincoln could revise his Gettysburg speech for contemporary use, he might well ask whether any nation conceived in affluence and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal for the piimaiy purpose of consumption, can long endure. Lincoln, like the science council, would know the answer to that question. 'Crazy Capers' We're not even a one-car family now, Dad -Mom's run into the other! The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta * LETHBRIDGE HERALD "O. LTD., Proprietors and Publisher* Published 1905 1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No. 0013 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspacer Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager OON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associaie Editor ROY P MILES DOUGLAi K WALKER Advertising Manager Editorial Page Editor -THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"