Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 25, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD Friday, October EIMTORIALS Is this committee necessary Practical aspects of alleviating hunger It was unwise of Mayor Anderson to appoint only incumbent councilmen to his newly-formed executive committee at a time when the voters have shown decisively that they want some new thinking on the council. His action is apt to revise past suspicions, regardless of whether they are justified, that the coun- cil has not always been interested in the views held by voters. The mayor will justify his ap- pointments, and the formation of the committee itself, by pointing to the fact that the action was approved by council. Since the action was taken at the first meeting, when half the councilmen were new, it could also be considered as a measure ramrodded through before the new councilmen had a chance even to become familiar with proceedings and when they may also have wished not to create an initial impression of obstruc- tionism. Both the existence of the committee and its makeup should be studied carefully. If, as the mayor said, the com- mittee will be needed probably three times a year or less, is it needed at all? Couldn't the whole council be assembled on the special occasions when immediate attention is needed to some matter? It sounds as though the council would have to assemble anyway to hear the recommendations of the executive com- mittee. At least, one hopes it would. As for membership, since the apparent duty of the committee is advisory, surely the new members of the council are also capable of offering advice, even on short notice. Experience on the city council is, after all, not the only experience which generates valuable advice. Although Mayor Anderson attempted to downplay the role of the committee at its preliminary unveiling, it obviously can be a vehicle of some power. As a further point of consideration, com- mittee meetings are private and this may result in putting a screen around ac- tivity that should be open to public scrutiny. Council business is public business, assumptions to the contrary notwithstanding, and while it may be in- finitely easier to conduct business in private, it is not in the best interests of a healthy and democratic form of govern- ment to do so. When the new committee reports back to council with its terms of reference, the council should scrutinize them carefully and perhaps reconsider the whole idea before approving or dis- approving those terms. Problems, problems Geophysicists believe they are on the threshold of accurate predictions about the timing and magnitude of earth- quakes. In fact, accurate predictions have already been made on a small scale. They are not based on mumbo jumbo or signs of the zodiac but on reading and interpreting such data as seismic pressure waves, underground water level changes and elevation changes in the earth's surface. Soviet scientists triggered develop- the technique with seismographic observations in central Asia. The theory of the dilatancy diffu- sion model, as it is called, was then developed independently by several U.S. geophysicists with more assisting data from the Japanese. It is now felt that public predictions are only a few years away and the U.S. Geological Survey anticipates es- tablishing an early warning network. Then will come the tough problem. When earthquake prediction becomes a refined technique, what happens next? Will the prediction cause more disruption and ac- tual terror than the quake itself? One sociologist who has studied the effect of disasters on human populations doesn't think this will be the case, since earthquakes of major proportions could be predicted months and years in ad- vance. However, he raises the question of the effect on business development in the target area, on the refusal of in- surance companies to write policies, for instance, or the unwillingness of cor- porations to invest in an area about to be struck by a quake. The forecasts, he says, may turn out to be more a curse than a blessing. A further possibility ex- ists that inevitable failures in forecasts may make the public apathetic or at reluctant to take steps to avert dis- aster. All this makes it clear that es- tablishing the necessary rapport between humankind and the planet it inhabits is a continuing process and solving one problem simply creates another. Geophysicists are at work on this too. They think they are learning how to control earthquakes on a very small scale. Soaring price of inert The latest consumer puzzle involves the price of a lowly product scouring powder. Not long ago two cans cost 29 cents; now they cost 65 cents. Why? Has the packaging (small amount of tin, larger amount of paper pulp) doubled in price? If so, how much of the total cost did this represent? Has labor and tran- sportation doubled in price and if so, what percentage of the total price do they represent? What is the markup on scouring powder at two for 65 cents? Does this take into account past, present or anticipated inflation and will the profit be high enough to encourage investment in the scouring powder in- dustry so that bathtubs will not be dirty? Or is the price a reflection of soaring ingredient costs? Have the producers of the active ingredients formed a cartel of which the public is unaware for the sim- ple reason that OTPSTBSSHEC (Organization of Trisodium Phosphate, Sodium Tridecyl Benzene Sulfonate and Sodium Hypochlorite Exporting Countries) is too hard to pronounce? Or is the problem related instead to inert ingredients, which make up 84.85 per cent of the scouring powder? Has the price of inert soared beyond reason? There's a lot of symbolism that says it has and it may be affecting other things than scouring powder. ART BUCHWALD Has CBS no shame? WASHINGTON As everyone knows, I have always been in the forefront of the fight for women's liberation. My body is scarred from battling on the picket lines at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City and the Miss Universe Contest in Miami. As we say in the lib movement, "I've paid my dues." Therefore, I believe I can deal with the following subject with complete objectivity. What on God's green Astroturf is a woman doing acting as a sports commentator during a professional football game? Last week I turned on the Redskin-Giant game, leaned back in my chair with a beer in my hand and a bowl of potato chips at my feet. Suddenly I beard this strange voice on the' air It sounded exactly like a woman's. My first thought was that Pat Summerall had had a serious operation. Then I decided that the sound on my set had gone awry But a few seconds later a very pretty brunette came on the screen who was introduced as Jane Chastain. and SnmmeraH said she was going to do UK color for the game I sat straight up in my seat A woman doing color on TV Didn't CBS have any shame at aiP How could a maltibillion-dollar network in- vade the homes of 30 million beer-drinking, potato chip-eating, red-blooded American football fans with the voice of a girl? Let us make no mistake about this Football watching is the last refuge of the Male Chauvinist Pig. We invented the game, we play it every Sunday and Monday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday (see your local paper for TV listings; it is our thing As nice as Ms. Chastain looks and as knowledgeable as she tned to be, she has no more business on a TV football game than Howard Cosell has on The Waltons. If I were to conjecture why CBS made this decision, I would have to guess that by assign- ing a woman announcer to a TV football game they were trying to attract a larger female audience. They were hoping to win over the wives or, as they are called, "widows" of the men who spend their weekends staring dumbly at their tubes. This thinking is not the way we do things in America. The role of the wife on Sunday afternoons is to make the beds, prepare the meals, drive the children somewhere or take care of any relatives who might drop in unex- pectedly. Even if they wanted to, they don't have time to watch football. It is a cruel hoax on the part of the network to try to attract them to tbe TV screen when it knows women have so many more important things to do. To snow yon the groveling they did last Sun- day, CBS had Ms. Chastain interview Btllie Jean King at naif time. Hie last thing American men want to see during a football half time is an interview with Billie Jean King. Let me make myself perfectly clear. I nave no objection to women being airline pilots, truck drivers, senators and even president of the United States. They're entitled. They can be doctors, lawyers, automobile mechanics, policemen, firemen and Indian chiefs They can own banks, be in the numbers rackets and play Little League baseball if they want to. The only place they don't belong is on a TV sportscast telling us male spectators things that they think we didn't know about football. P.S. No abusive mail concerning this coiuntn will be answered. By Anthony Lewis, New York Times commentator On the current trends of population and food produc- tion, according to inter- national experts, by UN tbe poor countries of tbe world would need 85 million tons of grain a year from outside. In a year of bad harvests, the need could be 100 million tons, or even more. Like other statistics, that projection has an abstract ring to it. But it is literally a matter of life and death, and it presents a formidable challenge to human organization. "We couldn't even move 100 million tons of grain an American official remarks "not across the world in any limited time. Remember how our ports and railroads were fouled up when the Russians bought 15 million tons from us." Before the problem of mov- ing that much food, there are the questions of how to grow it and to pay for it. At today's prices, 100 million tons of cereals would cost something approaching billion. Haiti and Bangladesh and the 31 other food-short countries will not have the foreign exchange to pay for it. Who will? That is the scale of the issues facing the World Food Conference in Rome starting Nov. 5. Public discussion of the food problem understand- ably tends to focus on im- mediate matters, such as the amount of American aid to hold off imminent mass star- vation in south Asia. But the conference is meant to take a longer view, and that means dealing with the most fun- damental issues of population, resources and the wealth of nations. The Rome conference is to have 130 countries par- ticipating. No such meeting can be ex- pected to come up with concrete solutions for the world's food needs. Nevertheless, state depart- ment officials preparing for the conference seem modestly hopeful of agreed progress in defining the problems. They sketch these points: "For the life of me I can't see why we're not allowed to burn leaves whenever we feel like it... I mean if you're half ways careful what can Ottawa's simplistic economic solution By Bruce Whitestone, syndicated commentator After eight years of stub- bom inflation, the nations of the world are looking at new solutions. An increasing number of them conclude that, rather than using the classic restraints, other less painful remedies just might work. The Canadian finance minister became the latest recruit to a new approach: if we have "too many dollars chasing too few why not increase production? A rising output of goods, it is claimed, would break the inflationary cycle and the resulting increase in output would mean lower prices. Tlien the government in its speech from the throne signified its intention to increase the supply of goods and services as the main ingredient in its fight against inflation in other words to produce ourselves out of inflation. The reasoning sounds plausible. After all, our economy is not operating as it should. Chronic "shortages" LETTER of materials hamstring entire industries, while rising labor costs play havoc with produc- tivity. The crucial question now is whether the reasoning is right and whether or not the propos- ed remedies of increasing production will work. It should be noted that over the past several years the nation's money supply grew at twice the rate of growth of our economy; the extra increase in money supply merely fuel- ed inflation, lius, the root cause of the inflation is in fiscal and monetary policies, so the only sensible course would be to correct the errors here. In place of acknowledging the real causes of inflation, governments have chosen to bend economic policy to political considerations. This is what the gimmick approach of increasing production is all about. Aside from the fact that it fails to attack the real cause of inflation, what is wrong Defending the hunters We deplore the unfounded insinuations in The Herald's anti-hunting article Oct 21. The headline proclaims that "vandalized ranch is dosed to hunters" and tbe inference is that hunters were responsible for the damage. This assump- tion is hardly fair as it is not substantiated by facts. The offence took place around June 25. Bear hunting closed in May, and big game hunting does not open until November. There was, therefore, nothing to hunt, and presumably there were no hunters in tbe area at that time. We recognize that there are people who do not approve of shooting and hunting, and that they have a right to their opinions, but no one has the right to snipe at and condemn any faction by the use of un- founded assumptions and in- sinuations For the record, we would mention that the Lethbridge Fish and Game Association has posted a standing reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone found guilty of shooting cattle, or poisoning dogs, etc. This would seem to indicate that hunters are not the irresponsi- ble lot that may have been assumed. We realize that we cannot expect Tbe Herald's support on hunting, but we believe that tbe press has a responsibility to report facts. Until it is proven otherwise, we do not believe that hunters were responsible for the vandalism reported, and we deplore tbe damage done to the reputation of the hunting fraternity by the method used in the above rpport NIELS E. KLOPPENBORG for the Lethbridge Fish Game Association with trying to moderate infla- tion by increasing production? To begin with, even a relatively mild inflation dis- torts the structure of produc- tion. It leads to the over- expansion of some industries at the expense of others. Also, no one can know the real demands to be met. For ex- ample, in an inflation ridden economy such as ours, a significant part of the housing shortage is artificial. If there were no inflation, many house buyers would prefer to rent rather than buy; many would choose to live in apartments. It is only because houses have proven to be good inflation hedges that so many desire to own their homes rather than "waste" their funds in rent. Similarly, individuals and cor- porations are inclined to borrow money, to substitute cash, a depreciating asset, for all kinds of materials, goods, or facilities. These involve a misapplica- tion and waste of capital. Un- til the day of reckoning, everyone tries to get aboard tbe inflation train so demand is literally unreal. These demands keep adding up to more than 100 per cent of gross national product, no matter bow fast it grows. Therefore, no program of adding to production could ever help to catch up with the inflationary pressures. Perhaps equally important, tbe actual process of trying to increase production in itself is very inflationary. Capital speeding per se is inflationary as it utilizes labor and materials without contributing to the actual production of goods for quite some time. Then, tbe funds to finance increased production have to come from somewhere. Corporations would have to spend huge sums to expand their facilities. With our bond markets in a state of senn- coUapse and stock markets at 10 year lows (because of we do not have the financial apparatus to finance such an expansionary program without the govern- ment providing the funds. If tbe central banks supply easy money, it would further strain our capital markets The resulting easy money policy would lead to more inflation, greater and corporations would be no better off than before. The only way that a program of capital expansion could work now, would be to ration funds to the consumer sector, probably by greatly reducing consumer demand through increased taxes. This brings us back to square one. Inflation can be fought, not as our finance minister simplistically proposes, by increasing sup- ply and production to meet demand, but by "old fashioned reducing demand. Otherwise, there is every possibility that a program of increasing production would mean even more inflation in an effort to meet tbe artificial demands on our economy, and the financing of this expansion program would only aggravate the inflation problem. Ultimately, when this infla- tion collapses or is brought to a halt, the misdirected capital investment, whether in tbe form of machines, factories, or office buildings, cannot yield an adequate return and, therefore, loses tbe greater part of its value. We can come to grips with our problems. At one time or another we have tried every trick: fine tuning, game plans and gradualism. None worked or could work because they all ignored the true cause of our problems. We must hope that this latest play in tbe theatre of tbe absurd will close before huge production costs are wasted. This proposal does not get to the root of the problem, but temporarily enables the politicians to stay away from the disagreeable fact that cur- ing inflation must involve some real costs. 1. Estimates of food short- ages differ in detail, but there is now general agree- ment that the less developed countries face a very large and continuing deficit. 2. The old concern about over-production and surpluses in the West is disappearing. A symbolic indication of the change occurred the other day. After years of badgering the Common Market to keep its doors open for larger purchases of American grain, the United States successfully urged the market to buy less this year. 3. There must be intensified international efforts to increase food production in the less developed countries, for example by scientific im- provements in tropical agriculture. But for the foreseeable future there will be dependence on imports from a handful of surplus countries, primarily the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina and the Common Market. 4. In the past the United States has carried about 85 per cent of the world's grain reserves. Just about everyone agrees that that is no longer possible, either physically or politically. The reserve responsibility must be spread. There have been reports of disagreement between the state and agriculture departments on the question of reserves, with agriculture favoring a market system of reserves held by grain dealers and other private sources rather than public reserves. But state department officials say that question is far down the road and much less impor- tant than others. The first necessity, ac- cording to the Americans preparing for tbe Rome conference, is to agree on the volume of reserves needed. Then there is the question of who should contribute how much to the reserves and where they should be held in what would amount to an international system of national reserves. The American idea is that these concrete, difficult issues of reserves should be con- sidered after Rome at a negotiating conference among the major grain exporting countries and the big consis- tent importers: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, the Soviet Union and China. China, despite her agricultural successes, still imports two to five million tons a year. Why should the U.S.S.R. and China be expected to take part? Because otherwise they might have a low priority in getting grain from the ex- porters. That was the mean- ing of a significant sentence in Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger's recent interview with James Reston of the New York Times: "Countries that will not participate (in a world reserve system) should not than ask necessarily equal rights to participate in purchases of reserve stocks." Kissinger is said by his associates to see the food issue now as a crucial ex- ample of the new interdependence of nations. Of course a real recognition of that fact might put some political restraints on the United States as well as the Soviet Union and others. In re- cent years the United States has used its food aid in a highly political way, sending the largest part to South Viet- nam. All of the thought on reserve mechanisms, hard as it is, only touches the surface of tbe world food problem. Underneath there is the ques- tion of money tbe need for the less developed countries to have enough of it so the United States and others can go all- out in food production for them. Aid can hardly make a dent in that need. In the long run there most be real transfers of purchasing power, and thaUn turn raises the whole question of tbe oil producers and their respon- sibility as well as ours. The Lethbridge Herald SOtTthSLS LETHBR1DGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Second Cleat Man ReoWiWon No 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and PtfWWwr DON H PILLING DONALD R DORAM Managing Editor General Manager ROYF MILES AwrtWna Manager DOUGLAS X WALKER rJal Editor ROBERT M FENTON Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"