Watching the World
◆ The month of May gave the world a sharper look into the morals of many businessmen.
(1) The “routine” practice of giant U.S. corporations making large bribes to foreign officials to get contracts and ‘stay in business’ became a public scandal.
(2) Federal authorities revealed a massive real-estate fraud that cheated up to 80,000 Americans out of as much as $1 billion. It involved a long list of “respectable” bankers, attorneys, brokers, appraisers and as many as fifty-six different corporations. “This is not going to stop by putting the officers of these corporations in jail,” said a Florida assistant attorney general. “We’re going to have to put everybody in jail.”
(3) The federal authorities also exposed a huge scandal involving at least 100 international grain-dealer employees and grain inspectors. Short-weighing, theft and bribery involved so many people that one source said: “Because of the sheer volume, they can’t indict all of the people involved in everything. The court just couldn’t handle all of them.”
(4) Just isolated cases? Business Horizons magazine recently reported that a Georgia University professor’s survey of hundreds of businessmen revealed that almost 60 percent of young managers would follow the lead of their bosses even if lies and deception resulted. About two thirds of all managers felt pressure to compromise personal standards for company goals.
Few Remember World War I
◆ “If one assumes that you must be 10 years old for events to make a lasting impression,” observed U.S. News & World Report recently, “only 9 per cent of the U.S. population today recalls World War I.” Students of Bible prophecy note that Jesus Christ predicted that the “generation” that saw such a global conflict and what followed “will by no means pass away until” God’s Kingdom rule asserts itself fully over mankind.—Matt. 24:7-14, 30-34.
◆ When the shooting wars in Cambodia and Vietnam recently ended, it became the “first time the world has known complete peace since 1931,” observed the Los Angeles Times. Yet, paradoxically, “not a single major international negotiation is going well or promises any early results.” And the Associated Press notes that the nations “still don’t need outside enemies to find excuses for organized killing. The map is spattered with conflicts wherein citizens of individual nations murder one another over the question, always, of: Who will rule whom?”
◆ “The American criminal justice system,” declares Science magazine, is in the midst of a “‘massive retreat’ from rehabilitation.” Why? The article notes that, though a prisoner may appear to cooperate with a program so as to get out of prison, “the likelihood of his abandoning his antisocial ways” is small.
On the other hand, a Massachusetts psychologist describes a different kind of rehabilitation in the case of a prisoner, at Walpole State Prison, who was sentenced to fourteen years for armed robbery. He says his patient shifted from being an “amoral, destructive person, to one with a conscience. . . . There’s absolutely no way this guy could have carried himself this far through therapy.” What was it, then, that changed this person? “I attribute this solely to his experience with [Jehovah’s] Witnesses . . . They’ve been responsible for a social re-education of tremendous power and impact.” But will it last? The psychologist “is quite sure this is a permanent change for [the prisoner],” notes the report in The South Middlesex News.
◆ Just how deep has been the economic recession in the Western world? The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (O.E.C.D.) estimates that, for its twenty-four member nations, the total output of goods and services suffered the sharpest drop ever observed by the organization. Imports for these nations decreased the most since World War II. “This slowdown of world trade,” noted one O.E.C.D. official, “is a new thing in the world economy.”
Parents Learn Too
◆ Parents usually view themselves as teachers of their children, but few realize that taking the time to listen and to respond to their children increases their own knowledge. “Your child, in fact, can lead you to perceive the truly profound fundamentals,” Parents’ Magazine observes, “because in seeing the world through a child’s eyes you are experiencing the very origins of knowledge.” It is further pointed out that learning with a child “can be a truly stimulating intellectual adventure” because “it is rooted in everyday, all-day life” rather than school books, and “it adds a wonderful extra dimension to parenthood.”
◆ How much responsibility must Germany’s religious leaders bear for World War II? In the recently published book The German Church Struggle and the Holocaust, Wayne State University history professor William Sheridan Allen says of church leadership: “The most ironic statistic of the Third Reich on this was that more Catholic priests and Protestant ministers died in the German army than were put into concentration camps . . . the official acquiescence of the churches was a vital factor sustaining the Third Reich and permitting it to work its wickedness freely.”
◆ “Of the thousands of Americans who have been infected with serum hepatitis in the last ten years,” observes a recent New York magazine article, “it is not likely that many of them were doctors or nurses or lab technicians or pharmacists or employees of drug companies. These medical professionals and paraprofessionals know better than anyone else the risks involved in submitting to commercial plasma transfusions; and they usually insist, when they or their loved ones are hospitalized for surgery, on a [saline] plasma expander. . . . Hospitals do not usually volunteer to offer incoming patients the choice of a plasma expander. But you may demand it, before you sign your admittance contract, as most medical professionals and paraprofessionals demand it before they sign theirs.”
Just like Grown-Ups!
◆ Using a stolen rifle, a fourteen-year-old Canadian boy recently held ninety schoolmates and three teachers hostage for half an hour. After firing a shot to prove he meant business, the boy had everyone lie face down on the floor. Then he demanded that a friend be brought from another school to join him in twenty-nine minutes or he would shoot one hostage every ten minutes. Toronto police persuaded the would-be terrorist to give up.
◆ Is the boast that military spending improves the national economy fact or fiction? A detailed statistical analysis made at Yale University indicates that twenty-six states, with 60 percent of the U.S. population, lost more jobs than they gained as a result of defense spending. “The belief that spending by [the military] has been good for the economy has been a myth,” says the study. “It is not supported by the facts.”
What Is a Jew?
◆ The Israeli government recently recognized members of the black Ethiopian Falasha sect as Jews. The controversial decision allows immigrating Falashas immediate citizenship under a 1950 statute applicable to all returning Jews. The true origin of the Ethiopian sect is disputed.
◆ A Japanese gynecologist found that recorded sounds from inside a mother’s womb were effective in lulling newborn infants to sleep. (See Awake! 5/22/75, p. 30.) Now the chief of the women’s clinic at Sweden’s Halmstad Hospital says that musical recordings assist mothers in natural childbirth. For months expectant mothers practice relaxation exercises accompanied by a Mozart piano concerto. When birth contractions begin, the hospital delivery room becomes a concert hall, making births less painful and safer, with a much lower infant mortality rate than other hospitals, they say.
◆ A new federal health program that requires making free contraceptives available to “sexually active” youths from twelve to twenty-one years old was recently opposed in New York as too costly. “This federal fornication funding is one more example of how ultra-sophisticated we have become,” complained a state senator. “Instead of a program that encourages sexual abstinence among adolescents, the government of the United States would equip little boys with contraceptives before they are old enough to shave.”
◆Travelers’ actions in strange countries often give them a bad name. Now a Korean regulation requires that each time citizens apply for a passport, they must take a crash course in etiquette. No course, no passport. “A heavy dosage of what-to-do and what-not-to-do for polished manners” is given in the six hours of lectures, says Japan’s Daily Yomiuri. It tells of a businessman from Seoul who somewhat reluctantly attended the course, but then admitted: “I decided such a lecture would really be a must for a traveler going overseas for the first time—from almost any country.”
Recession and Dogs
◆ The number of large dogs being turned in to animal shelters nearly doubled last year, according to an American Humane Association survey. Why? Says one shelter official: “We’ve never had so many Saint Bernards and German shepherds in the shelter. People flat out tell us they can’t afford them.” About 360 human babies are born hourly in the U.S., compared to about 3,000 puppies and kittens.
Spirits at the Top
◆ A remarkable preoccupation with spiritism was revealed recently with the publication of former Canadian Prime Minister William Mackenzie King’s personal diaries for 1932-1944. According to Time magazine, during his twenty-two years as prime minister the diaries reveal that “spiritual communications often buoyed his own moods, or catered to his vanity.” King described séances, visions and superstitions with frankness. Of his pet dog, he wrote: “I feel more and more he is a little spirit dog revealing dear mother’s continued presence to me.”
◆ What brought on the grim budget crisis for what is said to be the richest city in the world—New York? One factor may be that New York spends nearly five times as much per resident for city operations and for interest on debts as does the country’s next largest city, Chicago—$1,233.68, compared to $267.29. Concerning other U.S. cities only Washington, D.C., spends more.
◆ Visions of government presses running off masses of paper money at negligible cost are losing validity. The price of printing one thousand bills of any denomination has risen nearly a third—to $11—in three years. U.S. officials are considering revival of the $2 bill to save an estimated $4 million in annual printing costs.
World Illiteracy Grows
◆ The number of illiterates in the world has grown by about 100 million since 1950, to about 800 million now. Most are in developing countries. A recent report by the Population Reference Bureau reveals that, out of every thousand adults in the U.S. and Canada, only 15 cannot read and write, whereas 737 African, 468 Asian and 236 Latin-American adults of each thousand are illiterate.