The things they say
“The earth is polluted neither because man is some kind of especially dirty animal nor because there are too many of us. The fault lies with human society —with the ways in which society has elected to win, distribute, and use the wealth that has been extracted by human labour from the planet’s resources.”
— Ecologist Barry Commoner, The Observer 9 January 1972.
“A better method (. . . of controlling inflation . . .) might be to pay all workers that amount of money which just suffices to preserve the living standards of the lowest paid workers . . . it would be injudicious of a government not to recognise that workers, in struggling for earnings, see themselves struggling for them at the expense of profits. At the same time, a reduction at this moment in the average rate of profit or rate of return on funds invested could further hold back investment.
— Rt. Hon. Aubrey Jones, one time Chairman of the National Board for Prices and Incomes—Lloyds Bank Review January 1972.
The poor are likely to die at an earlier age than the rich, and the gap is getting wider. Their chances now are even worse than in the depression years of the early 1930s, a doctor said yesterday.
— Registrar General’s figures quoted at a meeting of the British Society for Responsibility in Science, The Times 10 January 1972.
“Everyone agrees that it would be ideal to prevent all road deaths. No one’s going to deny that we know how to do it. But when we say we’d like to abolish road deaths, we mean at no cost. Given the economy, which has to continue, then people are expendable. We reckon to kill a few thousand just for the sake of keeping the economy right.”
— Dr. Eric Laithwaite, Chairman of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, The Listener 13 January 1972.
There are 33 millionaires in the village of Soltvadkert, Hungary: 33 peasants, that is, who earn over 1 million forints a year. The average working wage in Hungary is about 36,000 forints a year. Calculated at the tourist exchange rate that’s a difference of roughly £14,000 to £500 . . . in Soltvadkert the old system has returned: the poor peasants are once more employed by the rich.
— William Shawcross, The Sunday Times 23 January 1972.
“The problem of source depletion is a phoney. What will happen to the standard of living if we run out of mercury? Probably nothing. The most essential resources are virtually inexhaustible —oxygen, nitrogen, iron, aluminium, sulphur . . . Provided that we have the energy to do the necessary extraction work, there is no resource problem.” Weinberg and his colleagues believe that nuclear energy can amply provide for about 15,000 million people without wreaking havoc on the environment (. . . and that . . .) the whole world can enjoy a standard of living even higher than that of present day inhabitants of the United States.
— Dr. Gerald Wick interviewing Alvin Weinberg director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, New Scientist 20 January 1972.
“Economic forecasting in this country in the last few years has gone awry. We certainly never wanted and never expected to have unemployment at the present level.”
— Mr. Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment, The Times 24 January 1972.
“I do not personally believe that unemployment will get back to the sort of levels we were used to in the 1960s. There will be more people unemployed than we have been used to . . .”
— Campbell Adamson, Chairman of the Confederation of British industry, Financial Times 13 January 1972.