Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 1, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuesday, May 1, 1973 THI LETHMW6E HMAID 5 Reversing the food price escalator The way of the transgressor By Jim Fishbourne, Herald staff writer By Bruce WliiLcstone, syndicated commentator Housewives, surveying latest supermarket prices, have bsan rubbing their eyes in dis- belief. The reason: one of the sharpest run-ups in food prices in recent memory. Food products, of course, are only one more passenger on the high speed escalator of in- flation but because they must be purchased, the rise is especially apparent to the con- sumer. By now, all are con- cerned with the problem, ask- ing what actions can be taken to check the rising prices. To begin with, the question of curbing the in farm prices is complicated by the govern- ment's ability and willingness to substantially increase farm capacity or to negotiate mas- sive export sales. Above all, however, the trend in farm product prices is determined by the government's over-all economic policies. It must be acknowledged that the government is primarily re- sponsible for the upsurge of farm prices. Domestic demand has been increasing at its usual rate while foreign demand has sparer! because of poor crops abrearf The supply of form produaX however, been tmable to kesp pace with this increase in demand primarily because for ten years it has bsen government policy to le- strain fann prociucf'on. One of the realties of the 1970s is th.-'t c-'jr has been based on the belief in chronic overproduction, OUT judgment should have led us to the removal of the shackles re- farm oy'rmt of inadequate supplies. The gov- ernment should reverse its pol- icies in recognition of current trends. Everyone knows that food prices weigh heavily in the cost of living. Despite all the talk, increasing the supply of farm products is the only way that the government can mod- erate the rise in food prices. Direct controls on prices of farm products would cause mass confusion, rationing and black markets, in effect, they would fail to curb rising prices for farm products. Controls would tend to increase prices as the legal price incentives to increase production would be eliminated. But increasing farm output is a big job and is start- ing very late. The increases in food prices at the consumer level are startling. Contrary to general opinion, total farm output is quite stable, it is very slow to change from year to year in response to changes in demand for food and other farm products. Demand for farm products has been rising while the sup- ply of farm products has not kept pace, partly because of government policies (both federal and provincial) design- ed to restrict farm output. The bad luck with the weather merely worsened a problem that was already developing. Demand for food has been rising faster than the increase in population. This is not as paradoxical as it may seem. When racemes rise, people eat more meat and less grain pro- ducts and potatoec. consumption of then leads back to crop producers in the form of increased demand for grain and oJier livestock feeds. far more grain is requ.red to feed pscple who first want it converted into red meat than if they were satisfied with bread and related products. The increasing demand for meat has been one of the cru- cial factors in the rise in farm product prices. The govern- ment's expansionary economic policies have pushed up con- sumer incomes and the de- mand for meat faster than the production of meat could grow. Over the past decade, per cap- ita msat consumption has been rising even though msat prices were advancing rapidly. Hence, one thing that is being learned is that food demand in affluent Canada is income elas- tic, probably even more than prjce elastic. Housewives may think that they are price con- scious as between various food items but they are buying more beef than ever before. Put an- other way, if the government massively stimulates the econ- omy, as it has been doing, food prices will respond ir a parallel way. The rise in food prices ob- viously is not just a problem down on the farm. It is a re- minder of the crucial impact of fiscal and monetary policies on moderating the growth in total demand and in curbing infla- tion. Therefore, the government can hslp temper the rise i n farm prices in several ways. Export markets shou.d be de- veloped further to permit con- tinuing large scale (and, therefore, low-cost) production runs. Efficiency here should be coupled with increased, lower- cose imports where Canada lacks production capabilities. Curbing increases in demand with fiscal and monetary poJcy will also moderate farmers' costs and tend to increase their production. Above all, however, increasing farm output will help to lower food prices. Watergate in chemical form By Norman Cousins, editor of World Magazine "Just iJ satisfy my own curiosity, sir, may ask WHY you want your picture on your new The American people have their minds on politics these days, but some things are happening on the science front that call for imoortant atten- tion. We have in nrnd the sptxtacubr and fi-.ga'.enmg new developments in the chsm- icsl control of human beings. There is nothing new, of course, in drugs that are use- ful in the trei.ment of mental illness. Many tr.cu'ands cf pa- tients who ordinarily would be confined to mental institutions are now able, because of these drugs, to function at an ac- ceptable level in private lifp. What is new is the extent to behavioral drugs are be- in-r misused. There are now drugs to man- ipulate human conduct and at- titudes. Such drugs can make people belligerent or passive, jubi'ant or depressed, outgo- ing or introspective. There are aiso drugs to make people rav- enously hungry or indifferent to food; drugs to enhance or im- pair sexual prowess; drugs to make men feel and act like women or women feel and act like men. One might suppose that this assortment cf chemical magic should be a cauce for unnua1''- fied rejoicing. The trouble is that these drugs also crea e serious problems. They orfer the ominous possibility that pciple could be programmed as ficuqh they were comput- ers. possibilities for abuse by unscrupulous political lead- ers are almost beyond calcula- tion. Such Orwellian horrors need nst be sesn only in terms jf hypothetical situations that might arise under a dictator- ship. Purely as a present dan- ger in terms of things that are already happening in every- day life there is plenty to worry about. First of all, some doctors have been too open-handed in the prescription of behavioral drugs. Until only recently, for example, amphetamines were prescribed on a surprisingly large scale for people who wanted to reduce. Some of these patients began to develop mental symptoms associated with schizophrenia. They halu- CJiated or acted in a d'sjoln'ed manner. The connection be- tween such behavior and am- phetamines was insufficiently understood for a long time, with the result that a number of the victims were mistakenly sent tc mental institutions com- pounding the basic problem. Other patients have been vi- brated by their doctors between superstirnulants and supertran- quilizers. Not infrequently, the victims were people in public life whether in government or the performing arts. They wanted to be razor sharp for their activities but aiso wanted to be able to throttle dawn and relax in their own time. But the human body is net a shuttlecock. It cannot be breiged from one side to the other without fearsome effects. Some people have become zom- bies under these circumstanc- es; their metabolism has gone berserk. Some behavior drugs can de- Book Reviews press the bone marrow in sus- ceptible individuals and even produce symptoms similar t o those in Parkinson's disease. The point of all this is not that these drugs should never be used there are cases where the benefits of expert administration are dramatic and seemingly miraculous. The point is that these drugs can be dangerously misused or ov- erused and now constitute a problem for both the individual and society. The pcint, too, is that these drugs carry the ter- rifying political potentiality of transforming human beirgs into drones. The American people now have their minds on Watergate, which is understandable. But what we have been discussing in this column is Watergate in chemical form. Watergate has become synonymous with a gross violation of rdvacv. Xo'iv ing can do more to violate the privpcy aid integrity of ?n in- dividual than draas that can separate a person from his true inner self and make him responsive to the wi1! of others without his intelligent consent. Early feminist speaks THUMB ENTHU Here's a MUST for your Library "Better Wavs to Successful Gardening In Western Canada" By ISABEUE R. YOUNG and CHARLES YOUNG 326 Pages Chock Full of Useful Information "In Times like These" By Nellie McClung (University of Toronto Press, S2.95, 129 "At the present time there is much discontent among wom- en, and many people are alrm- ed about it. They say women are no longer contented with woman's sphere and woman's work we may as well admit that there is discontent among women "but there is no cause for alarm, for discontent is not necessarily wicked.'" This is not from the pen of a present day feminist, but rath- er, was written in 1915 by one of Canada's most gently mili- tant and highly respected wom- en of her time, Nellie McClung. Mrs. McClung was a hard- working activist. She fought for female suffrage and at a time when women in politics was al- most unheard of, she won a seat in the Alberta legislature. She had a way with words which cowed her male contemporar- ies with the result that she opened the door of the kitchen and let many women out into the world. But her tactics were not designed to shock, as some of today's feminists choose to do. Instead she saw the social order in the traditional way women in the home and men going out to work, as cany- ing injustice for both sexes and wanted the roles to be on a more equal basis. "The time will come, we hope, whsn women win bs econ- omically free and mentally and spiritually independent enough to refuse to have their fowl paid for by men; when women will receive equal pay for equal work, and have all avenues of activity open to them; and will be free to choose their own mates without shame or indeli- cacy; when men will not be afraid of marriage because of the financial burden." Although society has today al- lowed for greater communica- tion between the sexes than existed in 1915, women are still trying to figure out what is best for them individually. In many areas we are still in the kind of social backwater that caus- ed Mrs. McClung to take up tho torch for the cause. I would recommend this reprint for feminists and anti-feminists, as it very sensitively puts our po- sition in language which is clear and at the same time sympath- etic to men something the feminists have neglected to in- clude in their demands for whatever that may mean. MARGARET LUCKHURST The hurt of loneliness A MUST for the Beginner Gardener and a Revelation for ths Experienced FEATURING: plants to survive Our winters dates and soil mixtures indoors and outdoors and Cold Frames and Landscaping Gardens and Lily Ponds Plants and Gift Plants AVAILABLE AT Lethbridge Herald FOR ONLY Or if you wish a copy tent to you, Stnd to tover mailing ond handling. "Loneliness: The Fear Of Love An Appra'sal of Transactions! Analysis" by Tra J. Tanner (Harper anil How. 143 pages, S6-85, distri- buted by Fitzhenry and White- is within us all three prrls, the parent (seat of dis- cipline, the adult (seat cf choice, testing and and the child (seat of feelings, inquisitiveness, cur- iosity and Loneliness touches all of us, young or old, rich or poor. At some time in our lives, loneli- ness can infect every fibre of our being, resulting in sleepless- rcis, depression, aches and pains both imaginary and real. In his informative book, Ira Tanner describes the fear of love as "the root cause of every attitude and form of behavior that separates us from each other." This fear can cause poor communications or the complete breakdown of com- munications between people. Our loneliness finds us frozen in the middle of wanting love yet running from it at same For instance, if one has to work hard at not being lone- ly, chances are that fear lies behind the frantic efforts to be popular, to be lovable to every- one. A comprehensive book, writ- ten in a style that laymen will understand, it may just be the very key to opening the door to greater understanding of self, mate, and other people. Personally, I think only with the knowledge of self can your fears be alleviated. ANNE SZALAVARY fCrazy Capers' Some surprise has been expressed over the meek surrender of the Brinks employ- ees who had walked off with or so from the company vaults. To anyone used to handling money in large quantities, there will be nothing very surprising about it. There are important points, which may not occur to every reader, but which are vital clues to this particular outcome: first, the two apparent thieves are ama- tsuis (at least at and second, the bulk of that much money. Some years ago, while In Japan, I hap- pened to be custodian of a fairly large sum of money. A colleague, who knew our operation involved a lot of cash, asked me one day how much was on hand. "Oh. I'd say about or so" I told him; "maybe a few thousand more.'' he replied; "if I had my hands on that kir.d cf dough, I'd be long That's debatable, but his remark started a train of thought. Purely as a mental exer- cise (1 swear I tried to work out juot what I would have to do if I decided to take off with the money. After a fair amount of and even some cautious consultations with people possessing spe- cialized knowledge on particular points, I had to conclude that the game simply would not be worth the candle. Why? Just l.ke I said rbove; because at sterling I ?-i r.ia cur. and because of ths imrnen-e bulk or that much money. The cash I was holding was in several currencies, Canadian. American, British and Japanese, but 4 was all in small denomina- tions: the largest dollar was a ten, the British money was in single pound notes, and all the Japanese bills were for 1000 yen, something less than three dol- lars. It would have be3n no great trick to concert it to a single currency there were always plenty of eager money cii angers around but large denomination bills were very hard to find. At the time the Japanese printed nothing larger than a 1000 yen note, and the rare Isrge-sized for- eign notes thai came to Japan were quick- ly grabbed by smugglers, who also ap- preciated that a bill co'i'.d be con- cealed as easily ES a s.ngle dollar. So the first prob'.em in stealing my large stack of cash was its bulk. Close to a half millior1. in small bills makes quite a pile; the one I had, at a rough, eye-bal! es'i- male, would have filled a medium-sized steamar trunk. Now let's assume the thief had made his initial break in my case it would not have been hard to arrange a two or three day head start and is sitting on a train, plane or bus, tuth his trunk full 01 cash (in his lap, What is likely to happen nex'.? Well, obviously he has to get far away from where he is known, and he has to keep ahead of the police; if he stays in the same country, he might as well go straight to jail, as ha can never surface snd start enjoying his ill-gotten gains without being caught. So he has to travel. Have you ever crossed an international border? With a large, impossible-to-conceal trunk? And when the customs people open it, and see it is crammed with cash, just vrhnt do you tell them? It happens to be one of the simple facts of life that at least for the amateur there is virtually no way to smuggle a trunkful of cash across a border, and I suspect that goes for suit- full of cash, too. Professional crooks ct.n of .en manage these things, but it is because they have the organization and operatives, the knowledge of who will and who won't take a bribe, and all the other needed expertise and resources. An amateur wouldn't know where to start; if he did, if he'd spent the necessary time planning, exploring, testing and so forth, he would hardly be an amateur. And just supposing he had done all the necessary preparation, undoubtedly he would run into another unavoidable prob- lem. To travel from place to place with stolen money, to have some safe place to hide when necessary, to receive the indis- pensable co-operation or connivance from guards, customs inspectors, policemen, etc., all would have a price tag, and when you're on the wrong side of the law the pricing policy is terribly simple it's whatever the traffic can stand. And why not? Why should anyone turn crook, risk being jailed as an accomplice to your crime, unless the price is gjod? According to my figuring, and the (admittedly less than totally dependable) information I was able to gather, simply to get across a border probably wcxild take half the money or mare, ard being provided with a ne v identity in another country would take at least half of whatever was left. Then you pay to keep whoever got you there from talking about it. There's also the little difficulty that if you think you're overcharged, or badly done by, there's not a thing you can do about it. You can hardly write angry letters to consumer affairs or the better business bureau, or have your lawyer sue, or call a policeman. You have no recourse whatsoever, even if someone simply takes your cash because re's bigger and ytrong- cr than you. Those, by the way, are just some of the technical or tangible difficulties; there are owners. You have to add: becoming en exile, and being afra d ever to come home, or to visit a country from which you might be extradited. If you had a wife and family, in addition to having to for- sake them, you'd probably be guaranteeing they'd be under police surveillance for years, perhaps for life. And for what? When I worked it cut, counting the bribes I'd have to pay, the sharing that would be necessary to ensure the needed the cuts that would be taken by crooks and mobsters at various stages for various services, I calculated that if I ever did make it there'd be nothing to stop anyone from knocking me on the head and grabbing the loot to a place from which I couldn't be extradited, I'd arrive there without my fam- ily and with just about enough money so that if I invested It the return would pmount to IPSS than the old age pension I'd collect in Canada just by waiting for it. Maybe the Brinks boys figured it out the same way. But they should have done their figuring before, not after, grabbing the cash. Report to readers Doug Walker Keep it brief "Practical Car Gloria, Shelf No. 4. A few weeks ago the author of a letter to the editor was so upset by the way his letter came out in The Herald that he wrote suggesting a public apology was in order. Several cf us examined the original letter and the editing done on it without being convinced that the sense of the letter had really been changed. Nevertheless I have since that I didn't suggest the gentleman be invi'.cd to meet with us so that we could loam more precisely what offended him ES well as explaining to him why evictions and changes were made. All material that comes to an editor's desk is subject to editing: ths deleting of words, phrases, and paragraphs: the mak- ing of sivle changes; the correcting of spoiling mis'akes and grammatical errors, detected. Hardly anyone's writings escape tins kind of alteration; most can profit from it. Readers of Weekend maga- zine may have no'-krd a comment recently by publi.'hir Jack McClelland that sime U S. editors practically rewrite books sjb- miLted authors. Ordinarily we accord a courtesy to let- ter writers of indicating by an elhps-s 1 that something has been deleted. We on'y do this when at least a sentence has been scratched, otherwise the shortening pro- cess would sometimes leave a letter so speckled dots as to be unpleasant to read. Tl.c ellipsis is rr.rely used in material. For one ca often ma crial has to be shortened at the final makeup stage that it isn't practical to reset lines marking omissions. But even bsfore the type is set cuts are made this is sel- dom done. Maybe if it was that tho profess.'on.il urn'ers get thk treatment there might no; be resentment on the part of local writers. Contrary to a pjpular misconception, ma- terial is altered to slant i1 in the direct ion of the prs'ticns taken by the pajxy's cd (or. It wou'd eas.er simply to leave offensive material out of the paper altogether. In the csse of let- ters, it wouldn't make any sense to twist the contents because one of the prime purposes of providing space for them is to encourage the expression of differing views. One of the reasons letters get high read- ership is that they are generally short. The editing function helps to achieve that goal. It is surprising how otei a point can be made as well or better by the elimin- ation of decorative words, qualifying phrases, superfluous illustrations, redund- ant material, and irrelevant deviations. The surest way of having a letter published the way it was written is to compose it carefully and keep it to approximately a single typewritten page double-spaced. One of the complaints registered with the new Alberta Press Council (to which The Herald does not belong, by the way) wa3 on this very point of tampering with letters the complainant insisted that newspapers ought to be required to pub- lish letters as received. The press council chairman and secretary deemed it self- evident that the matter did not warrant investigation by the council. In a way I wish we could print letters as received it would save a lot of time and some anguish. On the o.her hand it might simply transfer the anguish to the letter writers. For everyone who thinks he wr.'.es deathless prose and imperbuslv stniJls us to ''publish as is or rot ?t all" there is another person who is fearful he has made a mess of his effort and pleads with us to "fix it up'1 before putting it in Ihe paper. As it stands now The Hsrald can always be blamed for all errors and any infelici.ics. Knowing how long it takes for most peo- ple to put thoughts to paper I hate to think of anybody's effort going for nought. We hive a 47 pr.pe letter on file that defies editing and is impossib'e to publish. It is a monument to (he folly of ignoring (he about gei'ing in'o roint: the best bet is to be brief!