The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 5 (September 1, 1933)
America's Experiment—Is Civilisation in Peril?—Dead Culture of Old Britons.
National Job First.
Comment on the London Economic Conference is, as a rule, tolerant of the attempt of the United States nation to solve its own internal economic problem in its own way, but it is noted in some quarters that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, in his preliminary visit to President Roosevelt, quite failed to discern where the latter was going (or not going) and thus raised unjustified hopes. General opinion indeed is not only tolerant of the American attempt to “code” industry, but enthusiastically watches the progress of such an unprecedented experiment. When New Zealand created the Arbitration Court in the last decade of last century she gave power to fix wages and hours, but did not touch output and prices. Now the United States seems to be going “the whole hog.” Can this regimentation of industry, fore and aft, succeed? Its failure would disappoint; its success would be a world sensation.
Will Result be Clear Cut?
Of course, big experiments occasionally turn out half and half; there is liable to be failure at some points, success at others. There may be in America results so complex that anyone might hesitate to find a verdict. What, for instance, is the verdict on the Russian Five Year Plan? That question could be given a hundred variously qualified answers. One thing is clear—the proportion of failure in the Five Year Plan has not been sufficient as yet to turn out the Government that launched it. Of course, the American population and American industrialisation are in no way parallel with the Russian population and the work it does. Things that pass in Russia may not pass in America. In America one looks for a decisive verdict from an intelligent jury. And humanity's interest is that the verdict be favourable. No one wins if Roosevelt fails.
Tariff Strife Again.
In the absence of an international recovery scheme, the various recovery schemes of the nations individually seem fated to create new high tariffs, as in France. The addition of the dollar to depreciated currencies put a new aspect on that form of tariffism which consists of countering monetary depreciation. As between Japan and the British Empire there is not only the depreciation issue, but also the Indian Government's tariff increases, which Japan resents. Japan has plenty to bargain with in the tariff field. She buys as well as she sells. Australia, thanks to sales of wool, has been sending much more to Japan than she buys from Japan. How favourable to Australia the balance has been may be judged from the cabled fact that in 1932–33 Japan increased her exports to Australia by 50 per cent. over the 1931–32 figures, yet the balance still remained #5,000,000 in Australia's favour.
Warning of Lost Cultures.
By implication, if not directly, the old school teaching presented the ancient Britons as semisavages. The school child used to imbibe the idea that the Briton, before the Roman came, wore woad and little else. But Eleanour Sinclair Rohde, in “The Listener,” remarks that “it has long since been proved that the ancient Britons were a highly cultured people. Youths from Gaul were sent to study at British universities, and the Druidic triads are the oldest literature in the oldest living language in the world. British craftsmen were taken to Rome to teach the art of enamelling, and there is every reason to believe that the citizens of London, Winton, and Caerleon-on-Usk were citizens of no mean cities.” If early British culture could be so long lost sight of in Britain, there must have been other cultures that vanished, leaving no record save such ruins as are seen in Yucatan, in Rhodesia, and—perhaps strangest of all—on Easter Island.
Rebirth of Refrigeration.
Though refrigeration of ocean-carried food is half a century old, it is being born again under the eye of chemistry. British biologists are making wonderful progress in research. Frozen meat exported from southern countries to Britain has never been perfect hitherto. Frozen mutton has been better than beef, and the biologists now aim to find a way of landing New Zealand or Australian beef in London as good as Argentine chilled, of improving mutton and lamb, and of doing likewise for fruit. That capable interpreter of scientific research. Julian Huxley, reports brilliant results in the cold-preservation of all the above, also of fish. He even anticipates that ultimately the coldpreserved food will land in perfect condition, equal to fresh. This will interest the Danes and the quota-seeking British farmers. By quickfreezing of fish at low temperatures, fishing factory ships like the Arctic Queen—a ten thousand tonner!—can cruise the whole summer and then land her fish in England in best condition.page break
“They laugh and cry and eat and drink,
And chuckle and crow and nod and wink……“—J. G. Holland.
Our Children's Gallery—(1) Roy Lewis; (2) Dave and Willie Myers; (3) Valerie Smith; (4) June Christieson; (5) Margaret Stanford; (6) Shirley Smith; (7) Peter and Patricia Comber; (8) Patricia, Rowland, Joan, Pauline, Nancy and Lorraine Curtis; (9) Valma Besley; (10) Charlie Tarrant (all of Hawera); (11) Bernard, Maureen and Francis McPherson (Mokoia); (12) Douglas Peach (Hawera).