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Japan

Editorial: Futilities & Tragedies

 Each year that passes brings out with greater clearness the contrast between the professions of the League of Nations and its accomplishments. Organised for the avowed purpose of solving international tangles by arbitration, and thus doing away with the recourse to force, every dispute it has set out to settle has demonstrated its utter ineptitude.

 The latest manifestation of the League must be food for infinite laughter to all who have a sense of humour. The League holds numerous and heated meetings; its delegates sit day and sometimes till late at night; first-class diplomats from all nations represented make hurried trips in aeroplanes to its meetings; frenzied notes are sent out to Japan and China to cease fighting and arbitrate. And the result?—Japan goes marching on to protect the £200 millions her capitalists have invested in Manchuria.

Sunrise Capitalism

Japan is often cited as an example of how capitalism can work, if only all workers were hard-working and loyal. Its low unemployment, high growth rate and high wages are apparently what we should all be striving for. Indeed, when he was describing Labour's economic policy recently, Neil Kinnock said that Labour was after a Japanese-type economy.

It is not only in this country that Japan is held up as a shining example of "successful" capitalism. In the United States, competition from Japan has led to many industries closing down - especially car and steel plants - which in turn has resulted in some American workers mistakenly blaming "dirty foreigners" for their unemployment. Russian leaders have also been pointing to Japan's economy, and the quality of their goods, as an example of what their workers should be aspiring to.

Material World: No Peace in the Pacific

Material World

After Costa Rica’s civil war in 1948, Jose Figueres, the then president of Costa Rica, abolished the army, took a sledgehammer and began the demolition of the nation's military headquarters. That fundamental decision was enshrined in the 1949 Constitution. To this day, Costa Rica has no army, navy or air force, no heavy weapons of any kind but instead they have the Fuerza Pública (Public Force) responsible for law enforcement and border patrol.  

Hiroshima in the Making

The idea that the material world is composed of enormous numbers of exceedingly small entities called atoms was first propounded about 450 BC by the Greek philosopher Leucippus and his pupil Democritus. It was not until 1911, however, when Ernest (later Lord) Rutherford published a paper putting forward the nuclear model of the atom, that the proposition gained general acceptance. It may seem hard today to realise that the paper caused no commotion in the world of physics — Rutherford himself does not appear to have considered this discovery as the epoch-making event it turned out to be. In fact, this is not surprising since no commercial application could be envisaged for the work, unlike x-rays and radium which had obvious medical uses and were soon seen as potential sources of profit.

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