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Is the world ready for a World Commodities organisation? Such an idea did not seem ludicrous to John Maynard Keynes, one of the main forces behind the creation of the World Bank and the IMF five decades ago. At that time, he wanted a sister institution to bring order to volatile commodity markets. Keynes failed then, but plans are afootto revive a version of his dream. Given the bleak history of such schemes, that seems surprising. Motivated by the noble aim of helping the poorest countries, groups ranging from the European commission to the IMF to various United Nations agencies have set up "commodities stabilisation" funds. Most have fallen foul of market forces, and failed.

At first blush, the World Bank's latest initiative, known as the International Task Force on Commodity Risk Management in Developing Countries (ITF), promises to be different. Though populated by the usual international agencies, the ITF has also attracted the interest of private firms, such as Car-gill, a grain trader, and Credit Lyonnais, a bank with a big commodity-finance arm. Nawal Kamel, the group's leader, insists that the ITF has learned from earlier attempts to manipulate the markets: "As the Chinese say, don't push against the water."

Instead, says the ITF, it wants to help small producers gain accessto
financial techniques, such as put options, in order to secure a minimum price
for their harvests. If fanners can do that, they need not rely on usurious money­
lenders:local banks will be more willing to lend them money at reasonable
rates, so they can invest in pesticides and equipment, and so, virtuously, on.
There are obvious snags: small farmers are often unaware or suspicious of
such instruments, and lack the money to buy them. Counterparties are deterred
by the tiny volumes they want to trade, and by their uncertain creditworthiness.



Images of the British raj in India are everywhere of late. On television returns, the divided rulers of Paul Scott's Jewel in the Crown sip their tea in scented hill stations and swap idle gossip, in the palaces of local princes. We can savour all the hot intensities that blast a decorous English visitor the moment she steps ashore to be engulfed in a whirlwind of mendicants, elephants, snake charmers and crowds. The nine-hour production of an ancient Hindu epic poem, The Mahabharata, has lately been played to packed houses and considerable critical praise. Best-selling books like Freedom at Midnight re-create the struggle of two great cultures, mighty opposites with a twinned destiny, as they set about trying to disentangle themselves and their feelings before the Partition of 1947. Across the country, strolling visitors marveled a few years ago at all the silken saris and bright turbans of the Festival of India and, even more, at the exotic world they evoke: the bejeweled splendour of the Mogul courts; dusty, teeming streets; and all the dilemmas confronting the imperial British as they, sought to bring Western ideas of order to one of the wildest and most complex lands on Earth.

Behind all the glamour and the glory, however, lies one of history's mischievous ironies. For the raj, which did not begin until 1858 when the British government officially took over India from a private trading company, was in fact only the final act in a long, crooked and partly accidental drama. Much of the British Empire, in fact, was acquired, according to a celebrated phrase, "in a fit of absence of mind."

When the London merchants of what became the East India Company first sent ships to the East in 1601, they were not bound for India at all but for the Spice Islands of the Dutch East Indies, and the English traders who set foot on the subcontinent a little later actually sought to avoid conquest. Directors back in London kept telling them that conquest would only cut into profits 'All war is so contrary to our interest,' they reminded field employees in 1681, 'that we cannot too often inculcate to you our strictest aversion thereunto.'

But India was still part of the fading Mogul Empire, which a century earlier had brought Muslim administrators and conquerors. Just to protect its ability to do business in a land already riddled with fierce animosities the company found itself forced to defend trading posts with hired soldiers. Before long, the posts became cities (Calcutta, Bombay, Madras) and their soldier garrisons, small private armies. As assets and responsibilities mounted, the merchants, who had come out as supplicants bearing gifts to local princes for an inside track on trade, gradually became soldiers, and then became local rulers themselves.

By the time the company was disbanded in 1858, hardly more than a thousand British officers controlled India, an area the size of Europe in which 200 million people - about a quarter of them Muslim, but a majority Hindu - spoke more than 200 different languages. By then, the company had carried such Indian terms as "bungalow", "verandah", "punch", "dungarees" and "pajamas". They had also imported back to Britain many habits such as smoking cigars, playing polo and taking showers. Most of all, they laid the foundation for, and forced the British government to get involved in, what was about to become the most ambitious, and the most anguished, empire in modern history.



In 1943, after the Soviet Army had seized the initiative and was advancing all along the front, Churchill came forward with a strategy that called for an invasion of Europe from the Mediterranean areas, through "the soft underbelly of Europe". Implicit in this plan was the placing of a Western Allied Army in the centre of Europe, directly in the path of the Soviet advance toward Berlin.

Plainly the coordination and synchronization of war plans by the western powers with the Soviet strategy, and their advance into central Europe, was neither exactly straightforward nor simple, and carried within it the seeds of a post-war attempt to isolate the Soviet Union following its superhuman efforts for victory over the Nazis. For its part, the famous January, 1945 plea by Churchill to Stalin, asking for an advance in date of the planned Soviet spring offensive, and the immediate positive response of the Soviets, at considerable sacrifice to themselves, underlines the scru­pulous manner in which the Soviets honored their commitments to total victory.

But by this time, the military fate of the Nazi forces was sealed. In the winter and spring of 1945, they were caught between the gigantic pincers of the advancing and victorious Soviet armed forces, and a much smaller, but effective western allied advance through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany itself. May 8, 1945 rang down the curtain on the European war.

With its two partners, Germany and Italy out of the war the resistance of Japan to total defeat was merely a matter of time, although one comment regarding this is necessary. The final military action of the war, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was clearly a show of U.S. nuclear muscle, designed to intimidate friend and foe alike in the post-war period.

On the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the massive victory over the forces of Nazism and Fascism, in the Second World War, replete with its unparalleled death and destruction, it is to be remembered that it was a turning point of immense and historic importance in the affairs of the human family.

What is fallacious is the widely trumpeted idea in the western world, and in particular in North America that victory was primarily the result of western countries’ actions. The truth is the reverse. It was the encompassing and unconquerable actions of the peoples of the Soviet Union, who not only bore the brunt and the most terrible cost of that unprecedented war, but won the decisive strategic contest with the Nazi monster. The price they paid more than equalled all other sacrifices made by all other peoples.

The opening of the new era of diplomatic and military history by the use of the nuclear weapon, has in a military sense shifted the parameters of military science and the concepts of total war and mass destruction...

But another factor exists today that did not exist in 1939, a worldwide consciousness and a worldwide movement of the peoples everywhere for peace, for disarmament, for national liberation, for detente and for right to live.

It is this immense, creative and growing spirit that leads to actions by peoples everywhere that will in the end destroy the arsenals of destruction, together with the obscene Nazi doctrines of "total war", so that a state of creative labor, peace and future security will be ushered into our world.

There is truly no alternative for humanity.



Western Europe's industrial democracies are struggling to maintain social welfare programs while fighting to overcome a recession that has cut deeper than they expected.

Fearful of raising their high taxes any higher, the countries are for the first time in postwar history cutting social welfare spending and borrowing heavily to make up budget deficits. The effect has been to increase labor tension and embitter partisan politics.

Given the social and economic structure of West Europe, any return to the days of expanding social benefits and rising living standards may be far in the future.

The economic problems of Britain have received the most attention, but the smaller countries are suffering nearly as much. Belgium has the Continent's highest rate of unemployment and has been swept by a series of regional strikes protesting the government's attempts to freeze wage levels and reduce social security spending by eliminating abuses. A campaign against tax cheating is also under way.

Denmark has suffered the greatest change in 1ifesty1e so far in the recession, with private consumption reduced by 4 per cent last year alone. The coalition government has tightened welfare spending by cutting subsidies to local governments and tightening rules for eligibility lo receive benefits.

In Sweden, local government payments are being reduced, along with subsidies for food and interest on home mortgages.

The Dutch government said recently that it planned to cut public spending by 10 per cent a year over the next five years.

West Germany, with a cap on public spending, is under pressure to shift money from its defense budget to social areas. The argument is a major element in the split between the left and right wings of the Social Democratic Party.

"The present crisis is the most serious, the longest-lasting and the most trying that the world has known since the '30s," French President told the 20th anniversary meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in December.

Former chief economist for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, warned: "Today, the major economic problems that the OECD governments perceive are of a fundamental, across-the-board nature rather than country-specific."



Fearful that emerging protectionist forces in Europe may trigger a protracted trade war with Japan, senior officials from the European Economic Community try to convince the Japanese government in Tokyo to start high-level negotiations on liberalization of trade.

The goal of the Europeans is twofold: to stem mounting Japanese exports to Europe and to open Japan to EEC-made products, technology and investment, whose levels have remained disappointingly low.

Most officials and diplomats rated the chances for success at only slightly better than even, while warning that failure would have widespread and damaging effects on trading relations between Japan and the West, including the United States.

"There is a lot riding on these sessions in Tokyo," a senior U.S. trade official said. "In the event that the Japanese do not prove cooperative, protectionist pressures also rising in America could get out of hand, which would be disastrous for all of us.”

The industrial lobbies in Europe, particularly in the hard-hit car and consumer electronics sectors, are tired of our previous efforts to persuade the Japanese to moderate their trade penetration,” said another senior EEC official.

In the last few weeks, influential French politicians and industrial leaders have been quietly but firmly urging that France seriously consider moving on its own, particularly with regard to slashing imports of Japanese manufactured products, including automobiles.

EEC strategists contrast worsening EEC – wide recession, unemployment and inflation with Japanese results in these areas. And Japanese exports are booming: Japan reported record trade surpluses with the EEC zone and with the United States.



The people of the neighbourhood of Hedley, on the skirts of Blackburn Fell, west of Ravensworth, on the road to Tanfield, were frequently annoyed by the pranks of a boggle named Hedley Kow. He belonged to a family of goblins more mischievous than cruel. He did nobody any serious harm, but took delight in frightening them. To whomsoever he appeared he usually ended his cantrips with a hoarse laugh after he had played them very sorry trick.

The illy-willy Kow was a perfect plague to the servant girls at farm houses all round the fell. Sometimes he would call them out of their warm beds by imitating the voice of their lovers at the window. At other times he would open the milk-house door, and invite the cat to lap the cream, let down stitches in the stockings they had been knitting, or put their spinning wheel out of order. But, his favourite trick was to take a shape of a favourite cow and to lead a milk-maid a long chase round the field before he would allow himself to be caught. After kicking and rowing during the whole milking time, he would at last upset the pail, and, slipping clear of the tie, give a loud bellow and bolt of tail on end, thus letting the girl know she had been the sport of the Kow. This trick of his was so common that he seems to have got his name from it, though to tell him from, a real cow, folk called him Kow or Koo. Here is a story about this Hedley Kow.

There was once an old woman, Goody Blake, who lived in a little bit of a cottage and earned a scant living by running errands for her neighbours; she got a bite here, a sup there, making shift to get on somehow. She always looked as spry and cheery as if she had not a want in the world.

One summer evening, as she was trotting, full of smiles as ever, along the high road to her hovel, what she should see but a big pot lying in the ditch.

'Goodness me!' cried Goody, 'that would be just the very thing for me if I only had something to put in it. But it would be fine to put a flower in for my window; so I'll just take it home with me.'

And with that she lifted the lid and looked inside.

'Mercy me!' she cried in amazement. 'If it isn't full of gold pieces! Here's luck!' And so it was, brimful of great gold coins. She felt awful rich and wondered how she was to get her treasure home. At last she could see no better way than to tie the end of her shawl to it and drag it behind her like a go-cart.

Then she was a bit tired of dragging such a heavy weight and, stopping to rest a while, turned to look at her treasure. And lo! It wasn't a pot of gold at all! It was nothing but a lump of silver. She stared at it and rubbed her eyes. 'Well I never!' she said at last. 'And me thinking it was a pot of gold! But this is luck. Silver is far less trouble, easier to mind and not so easy stolen.' So she went off again planning what she would do, and feeling as rich as rich.

When she stopped to rest again and gave a look round to see if her treasure was safe, she saw nothing but a great lump of iron. 'Well I never!' said Goody. 'I must have been dreaming of silver. But this is luck. It's real convenient. I can get penny pieces for old iron, and penny pieces are a deal handier for me than your gold and silver!' So on she trotted full of plans as to how she would spend her penny pieces.

Once more she stopped to rest and, looking around, saw nothing but a big stone. 'Well I never!' she cried full of smiles. 'And to think I mistook it for iron. But here's luck indeed, me wanting a stone terrible bad to stick open the gate.' All in a hurry to see how the stone would keep the gate open, she trotted off down the road till she came to her own cottage.

She bent over the stone to unfasten the shawl end, when... 'Oh my!' All of a sudden it gave a jump, a squeal, and in one moment was as big as a haystack. Then it let down four great lanky legs and threw out two long ears, flourished a great long tail and romped off, kicking and squealing and whinnying and laughing like a naughty boy!

The old woman stared after it till it was out of sight and then she burst out laughing too. ‘Well,' she chuckled, 'I am the luckiest body hereabouts. Fancy my seeing the Hedley Kow all to myself; and making myself so free with it too!’ And Goody Blake went into her cottage and spent the evening chuckling over her good luck.



They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work. This half serious summary of communist economics contained a kernel of truth:for Soviet workers, the freedom to pilfer and dawdlemade up, to some extent, for empty shelves and wretched wages. Like other illusions, it served a purpose for a while, though that could not last. Since the Soviet collapse, a different sort of illusion about the Russian economy has been cultivated in western capitals as well as in Moscow: "You Russians pretend to be creating a law-based, market-friendly liberal democracy. We westerners pretend to believe you - and what's more, we pay you for it."

This new fiction has also served a purpose. By fostering a climate of determined optimism, both the American and the Russian governments persuaded voters and sceptical legislators that the promised landof prosperity and reform was just round the corner. That was politically expedient. But whatever its virtues, the post-communist illusion was likewise doomed to be shattered - if only because Russians and Americans had different expectations about the "promised land". Americans were led to believe that, for an outlay of a few billion dollars, Russia could be transformed into a country in their own image: open to American business and cooperative with American diplomacy. Russians were encouraged to think they could enjoy the benefits of a market economy without the hard slog;and that economic strength would enable them to flex their muscles, and defy America, on the world stage.

Any remaining illusions about the efficacy of western reform in Russia have been evaporating over the past few weeks with exceptional speed. Soon there may be nothing left of them, and Russian-western relations will have to be rethought from scratch. The final blow could be the broadening probe by America's federal authorities into one of the largest money-laundering scandalsthey have ever uncovered: the apparent use of accounts at the Bank of New York, as well as at several European banks, to process about $10 billion in ill-gotten Russian gains. The authorities also want to know whether the Bank of New York was one of the chains of banks through which at least $200m may have been diverted from credits granted to Russia by the International Monetary Fund.

This follows the acknowledgement by the Russian central bank that it channelled tens of billions of dollars, including money received from the IMF, into a shadowy offshore company in Jersey-which then speculated in a lucrative government-bond market that the central bank was supposed to be regulating. The IMF's admission that "we were lied to" by the Russian central bank about the location of $ 1 billion in foreign exchange reservesin 1966 has done nothing to allay the suspicionthat worse had happened both before and after.

… Western governments should be prepared to take responsibility for whatever emergency aid they give to Russia rather than force the IMF to engage in games of make-believe.Apolicy based explicitly on saving Russia from self-destruction carries risks too: it creates an incentivefor Russian rulers to engineer situations that are fractionally disastrous, and then extort credits from the West. But if western governments suspect the Russian government of playing this game, they should voice their suspicions - and make sure the Russian electorate gets the message.That is better than conspiring with the Kremlin to deceive voters in both countries.


Marching through the forest near the hunting lodge, Wlodzimierz Ci-moszewicz, briefly prime minister of Poland in 1996-97 and stillvery much a politician, is careful not to step over the invisible border into Belarus. "There might be a Belarussian soldier behind one of these trees," he cries, waving at the forest ahead, indistinguishable from the forest behind: "We don't want an incident."

When Poland joins the European Union, which could be as soon as2003, but will probably be closer to 2005, the primeval Bialowieski forest, where Mr. Cimoszewicz and his dachshunds hut deer and wild boar, will become the EU's eastern border. It will also constitute a small stretch of whatis known as the "Belgian-curtain", the symbolic divide, named after the country thathosts the European Commission, between thosecountries favoured for EU membership and the hapless ex-Soviet countries to the east.

The thought thatthis leaky wooded area could soon become the EU's eastern perimeter makes certain Union members, notably Germany and Austria, deeply uneasy. They would like to see put in place something along the lines of America's militarised "Tortilla curtain", to keep out unwanted migrants, smugglers and other undesirables. Poland, by contrast, would like to have a well-patrolled, but physically open border. Cutting off neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus with high fences topped with razor wire and high-tech surveillance, Poles argue, might suit populist politicians in Western Europe but would seriously offend their friends to the east.

Poland may not feel able to press its case. Some 70% of Polish trade is now done with the EU, and only abouta tenth of it with the ex-Soviet countries. Moreover, Poland recognises that there will be huge pressures from people to its east seeking a better life to its west. The income gap between Poles and Belarussians is not only muchlarger than thatbetween Poles and Germans, but is widening. And eastern Poland is the country's poorest region. Labourers can be hired in the villages around the Bialowieski forest for just 25 zlotys ($6) a day. Unemployment is officially 15%, but probably farhigher. Ever sincethe Russian financial collapse of 1998, the stream of Belarussians coming to Poland to barter vodka for western goods has also dried up, costing many informal jobs on the Polish side.

In any event, the idea of hermetically sealed border is probably unrealistic. Organised criminals, who currently smuggle contraband and people into Poland, might wellfind a way through any physical defense, by bribery and sheer ingenuity. Jerzy Lugowoj, of the Polish state forestry company, says he already uncovers tunnels on his patch, their entrance covered with brush and pinecones, through which pass Afghans, Vietnamese and others, on their journey westwards.


With the ratio of Internet hype to reality in China so high, its web entrepreneurs are under pressure to add a twist to their marketing pitches. For many, the favoured approach is to explain that operating online in China is somehow different from that in the West – and that only they understand quite how.

Not all of this is guff. There is at least one very real difference from West. In rich countries, the Internet takes industries that have been developing for decades, if not centuries, and makes them more efficient; in China, many of those industries have never existed, so the Internet helps to create them from scratch. The prize for the winning business models might thus go to those who pioneer not the new economy, but the old.

Consider, for instance, the travel industry. Americans and Europeans take for granted long and sophisticated supply chains that enable them to walk into a travel agency and but the cheapest ticket to, and hotel room in, the destination of their choice. The Internet, to them, only promises to move some links in that chain online.

Not so in China. Travel used to be either off-limits or simply unaffordable. So even as the budding middle classes now form the first queues for tickets to the Terracotta Army, the country still has no travel industry to speak of. A few state enterprises claim to be "agencies", but in fact only sell guided package tours to a small number of destinations. Individual travellers seeking bespoke itineraries arc on their own: there is, for instance, no catalogue or database of room prices for China's 4,500 star-rated hotels.

This seems odd to Neil Shen, a worldly thirty something man from Shanghai with a degree from Yale. A former head of Deutsche Bank's Chinese bond business, in 1999 lie set up one of China's first travel brands, ctrip.com, a website in Chinese and English where visitors can read travel reviews and book air tickets or hotel rooms.

But getting the business ready has involved painstaking work. Ctrip has 20 employees ringing up hotels (3,000 so far) to build the nation's first room-price database. It plans to do the same for air tickets. Since China lacks proper credit-card and express-mail industries, Mr. Shen has signed up local milkmen to collect cash at customers' doors.

This sort of meticulous, first-time data collection is spawning entire service industries. From medicine and hospitals to restaurants and movie tickets, says Judy Pan at the Boston Consulting Group, China has studiously avoided consolidating information. It was only last year that the first Chinese Yellow Pages telephone business directory was published.

The new trend goes far beyond the pooling of data. Take the office-supplies industry. Thousands of small stores and state-owned companies in China make pencils, rulers and staples. But there is no "procurement" industry (wholesalers, logistics networks and so on) connecting them with customers.

In this case, it was four Chinese, who met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who decided to do something about it. They founded Asia.EC.com, China's first vertically integrated procurement firm. At the user's end there is a website, but behind this stretches an entire supply chain: AsiaEC has produced China's first comprehensive catalogue of office supplies, both on paper and online. It has the warehouses and docs the wholesaling. It even leases the trucks that deliver the goods and extends trade finance.



Like presidential approval ratings, stock pricestend to inflate when the U.S. engages in armed conflicts. Look no further thanthe tireless bull marketthat we enjoy today. It began in 1991 when the U.S. drove Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi army out of Kuwait. The first allied air raids came on January 17 of that year and sent the Dow Jones industrial averagesoaring 4.6% in a day. By mid-march the Dow had jumped 20%.

Yes, sir! The generals on Wall Street do love a war. There's nothing likethe smell of smart bombs in the morning - as long asthey're ours - to arouse feelings of invincibility.And what better frame of mindfor dialing one's bro­ker and cheerfully picking up 100 shares of Boeing or Lockheed Martin? With Saddam the Sequel possibly only hours away, I guess it's no shocker that the market has hit new highsfor the first time in six months.

Be warned, though, that a Saddam II, if it doeshappen, would be nothing like the original - at least not in the stock market. When the Gulf War began, the U.S. was in the throes of a banking crisisand slipping into recession. Saddam way bent onhanging on to his oil-rich conquest. Stocks were down, and oil prices had briefly doubled to $40 per bbl [barrel]. There was a lot of fight for. This time around, stocks are high and oil is low. The economy is on a historic roll. And Saddam isn't strong enough to upset any of that greatly; he is merely being defiant.Where is the market's upside?

Once a U.S.-led attack starts - if the situation should get that far - Wall Street is counting on a swift allied victorythat would destroy Saddam's "germ factories" and perhaps even take out the tyrant himself. The generals on Wall Street are so certain of the outcome that in their minds they've already won the war and held the ticker-tape parade. And that's just the point. "There's a lot of room for disappointment," notes Tom McManus, a market strategist in Katonah, N.Y. "People have forgotten how easily things can go wrong." What if we don't quickly knock out Saddam's weapons of mass destruction?

Any measure of failure could upset the markets. For example, today's benigninflation and low interest rates are partly the result of cheap oil prices. And Wall Street expects that a defeated Iraq would be allowed to flood the world oil to raise money to rebuild, which is one reason the price of crude oil has slumped since October from S23 to $16 per bbl. But would Iraq be treated with such kindness if an allied mission were unsuccessful? Doubtful. Such an outcome could reverse psychology in the oil market and send prices higher, stokinginflation and squeezing stocks and bonds.

Yes, success in the Persian Gulf would vindicateall those market patriots bidding up share prices. But because it is so widely expected, success would merely maintain the status quo- not inspire a whole new bull market. And for those who worry about a bungle, stocks of defense contractors,oil producers and oil services companies would be good hedges.Remember, those generals on Wall Street wear suits, not battle fatigues. They don't really know a thing about war.



For academic economists, two specters arise when unemployment falls to around 6%: wage increases and inflation that eventually could threaten business expansion. But so far, in this economic recovery, things haven't been so scary. In August, the Labor Department said, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.1% of the work force, marking the fourth month in a rowthat joblessness has been at a level generally viewed as sparking wage increases and higher prices. But wage pressures are virtually absent from the picture; the latest unemployment rate shows that average hourly earnings in the non-farm sector rose just 0.2% last month and were up only 2.5% from a year ago, a bit lower than the inflation rate. The number of jobs grew by 179,000 last month, with gains being mostly in the serviceindustries.

What gives? For one thing, economists say, it’s too soon for wages to start picking up. Despite isolated cases of wage increases, they say wage pressures aren't likely to appearin a broad way until early next year. “There is usually a lag time between a low unemployment rate and inflation problems, says Paul Mastroddi, managing director of U.S. economic research for Morgan Guarantee Trust Co. But analysts say that even given a lag time, wage pressures are still quite low. Unit labor costs, which take productivity into account, are usually rising at a 5.2% annual rate, 13 quarters into a recovery. But at mat stage in this recovery - this year's second quarter - they increased at only 0.4%, says Stephen Roach, senior economist for Morgan Stanley & Co.

Many economists say international competition, low job security and weak union bargaining power have all helped to hold wage increases down. Mr. Roach notes that much of the job growth of recent months, strong as it has been, has been concentrated in temporary-help service firms, restaurants and retailers. "That's just not where wage pressures arc going to start," he says. Wages usually go up first at manufacturing, transportation and finance companies, he says.

Labor Secretary Robert Reich says, "There's, still some slack in the labor market. Eight million people are out of work, and several hundred thousand more are discouraged about finding jobs." But these mitigating forces may not be at work for much longer, especially with strong increases in new jobs. "The bargaining balance is about to shiftto labor, given the advanced stage of the cycle and the scarcity of skilled workers," says Gene Sherman, director of research for M.S. Schapiro & Co. Indeed, problems are popping up in certain areas of the country. The Federal Reserve, small-business associations and employment agencies have noted labor shortages - particularly in the Midwest, which is about the strongest economic region of the country. Mr. Mastroddi notes that wages in the government's employment-cost index have risen in a range of 3%-3.5% in the Midwest. That compares with 2%-2.5% two years ago.

This rise in wages in the Midwest puts a hole in the argument that international competition will help keep labor costs low. The heart of U.S. manufacturing beats in the Midwest, with large companies such as Caterpillar Inc. and General Motors Corp. doing a large amount of exporting."This is the place that should be affected most by international competition," Mr. Mastroddi says. "And already, this is where we are seeing wages accelerate." He says that although wages are still quite tame in the South, another strong spot, "this may be the next area to pick up."

Factories added 32,000 jobs in August after hardly adding in July. With several indicators suggesting the manufacturing sector is slowing,many analysts expected factories to addfar fewer workers. As usual, much of the employment growth last month was in the service sector, which added 123,000 jobs. Retailers added no jobs at all last month, after adding 100,000 in July. Construction employment dropped.

All figures have been adjusted for normal seasonal variations.



In a recent book entitled The Psychic Life of Insects, Professor Bouvier says that we must be careful not to credit the little winged fellows with intelligence when they behave in what seems like an intelligent manner. They may be only reacting. I would like to confront the Professor with an instance of reasoning power on the part of an insect which cannot be explained away in any such manner.

During the summer, while I was at work on my treatise Do Larvae Laugh? wekept a female wasp at our cottage in the Adirondacks. It really was more like a child of our own than a wasp, except that it looked more like a wasp than a child of our own. That was one of the ways we told the difference.

It was still a young wasp when we got it (thirteen or fourteen years old) and for some time we could not get it to eat or drink, it was so shy. Since it was a female, we decided to call it Miriam, but soon the children's nickname for it — "Pudge" — became a fixture, and Pudge it was from that time on.

One evening I had been working late in my laboratory fooling round with some gin and other chemicals, and in leaving the room I tripped over a nine of diamonds which someone had left lying on the floor and knocked over my card catalogue containing the names and addresses of all the larvae worth knowing in North America. The cards went everywhere.

I was too tired to pick them to that height, and went sobbing to bed, just as mad as I could be. As I went, however, I noticed the wasp flying about in circles over the scattered cards. 'Maybe Pudge will pick them up,' I said half-laughingly to myself, never thinking for one moment that such would be the case.

When I came down the next morning Pudge was still asleep over in her box, evidently tired out. And well she might have been. For there on the floor lay the cards scattered all about just, as I had left them the night before. The faithful little insect had buzzed about all night trying to come to some decision about picking them up and arranging them in the catalogue box, and then, figuring out for herself that, as she knew practically nothing about the larvae of any sort except wasp-larvae, she would probably make more of a mess of rearranging them than if she left them on the floor for me to fix. It was just too much for her to tackle, and, discouraged, she went over and lay down in her box, where she cried herself to sleep.

If this is not an answer to Professor Bouvier's statement that insects have no reasoning power, I do not know what it is.




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