Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 14, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Thursday, March 14, 1974 Inflation prospect bleak The London Economist says the outlook for world inflation is bleak. Inflation has accelerated sharply since the beginning of the 1970s almost everywhere only the Soviet block is excepted and the possibility that the data there have been manipulated cannot be ruled out. Worst hit by inflation are the developing countries, several of them having rates over 20 per cent. But even in the industrial world rates of over 10 per cent are now the rule rather than the exception. Inflation is expected to climb in ft74 as the second slice of the Arab oil price increase last December is reflected in consumer prices. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in its latest report on the economic prospects for the major industrial countries, forecasts markedly higher rates of inflation for all of them. Politicians everywhere are talking about the ravages of inflation but, as with the weather, few seem to be doing anything about it. Just as the average citizen is unwilling to entertain the thought of a reduction in the standard of living so national leaders are loathe to surrender a degree of sovereignty so that a world body could seriously attack the problem. Where the continued rise in inflation will lead is a matter of debate among economists but among ordinary people a sense of foreboding is understandably predominant. The only thing that sustains a measure of optimism is that the rising inflation over the past few years has not resulted in a crash and a world depression, as many anticipated. The fifth freedom The most unpopular decision ever made by Willy Brandt's West German government, judging from the furor it has aroused, is being rescinded. Against its better judgment, the Bonn government is being forced to lift the speed limit of about 60 miles an hour it had imposed on the Autobahn as a means of preserving gas. Although designed to meet the energy crisis and save gas, the speed limit also decreased the death toll by about 40 per cent on that highway, which has been described as the longest, most lethal race course in the world. The outcry against the speed limit came from the automobile industry, automobile clubs and some newspapers. While other newspapers were chiding West Germans fcr acting "as if the intellectual and physical freedom of the citizens of a state could be measured by counting the centimeters the gas pedal may be pushed to the the largest- selling paper declaimed that the speed limit interfered with the rights of a free people and another coined the slogan, "Free speed for free people." In fairness to West Germany it should be noted that European traffic in general causes most Canadians and Americans to shake their heads in amazement, provided they have been able to get out of the way in time. Brandt's failure to impose his speed limit on the Autobahn is in marked contrast with Nixon's success along the same lines. In the U.S., state after state is acceding to the federal regulation that in order to get federal highway funds they must impose a 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, and finding that the death toll is lower. Whether the fifth freedom is the freedom to live or to die depends on where one lives. Up the Mackenzie As the argument, and the suspense, over the possible construction of a gas pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley approaches a climax, it is a sad but necessary duty to report that someone, somewhere, forgot to make the most important environmental study of all. In the multitude of spoken and written commentaries about this project and Sir Alexander- notwithstanding confusion seems to exist as to which way the Mackenzie River flows. This is noticeable in the disparity of use of the terms "up" and "down" the Mackenzie and, while it may have little effect on actual construction plans, it is causing purists, and possibly the fish, a certain amount of anguish. It is thought in some quarters that this disparity can be traced to a quirk in American thinking which holds that all rivers flow from north to south. This is known as the Ol'Man River syndrome and there is ample evidence that it now has a strong hold on the Canadian mind. In view of the confusion and the need to resolve it immediately, a brief and privately-financed study has been made of the matter and has produced the definitive conclusion that Sir Alexander was right and the Mackenzie River does flow from south to north and not in the reverse direction. This being the case, the only way to build a pipeline "up the Mackenzie" is to start at the Arctic Ocean and built it south in the general direction of Edmonton. If one insists, on the other hand, on building a pipeline "down the his plan obviously is to start at the headwaters and work north toward the Arctic Ocean. The correct usage of words depends on the point of view and on the logistics of pipeline construction. But if and when gas begins to flow through that pipeline, be it known to one and all that it will move in only one direction up the Mackenzie. One can almost hear Sir Alexander adding, ERIC NICOL The Victorian strap is back The strap is back, in schools that had given up corporal punishment as a relic of Victorian brutality. Enough students have been beating up on their teachers to revive flogging as a deterrent. The school just tries to mitigate the measure by listing the strap under Leatherwork. Even the most ardent advocate of mending ways by raising welts must feel, however, lhat justice is not entirely served by thumping the kid. For the strap to be a comprehensive punishment, the scene in the principal's office would go something like: This is going to hurt me more than it does you. Monkhouse. Bend over.