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Short Reviews

Manpower for Development: Perspectives on Five Continents

by Eli Ginzberg
Praeger, 331 pp., $3.95 (paper)

A Singular Iniquity: The Campaigns of Josephine Butler

by Glen Petrie
Viking, 317 pp., $7.95

A Man Holding an Acoustic Panel

by David Shapiro
Dutton, 64 pp., $2.95 (paper)

Selling Death: Cigarette Advertising and Public Health

by Thomas Whiteside
Liveright, 160 pp., $5.95

A Cook’s tour of the world’s manpower policies, largely composed of old speeches, lectures, symposia, and chapters of previous books by Ginzberg. The book surveys Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Ceylon, India, Egypt, Israel, Ethiopia, Eastern Europe, Sweden, Venezuela, the Bahamas, and Canada, of which only Japan and Israel are seriously treated. Ginzberg is enthusiastic about the participation of women in the labor force: he notes that Japanese women work for half of male wages and regrets that “the supply of low-cost adolescent female labor is drying up….” More neutrally, he recommends that Israel expand its skilled labor supply and concentrate on science-based industries.

The problems for each country of poor health, poverty, agricultural underemployment, and ill-trained managers are largely rendered in the same formulae. The style is distracted: widely divergent topics are jumbled in one paragraph, the logic of first sentences is often unpursued, and random trivialities abound concerning traditions, democracy, and the market place. One is hard pressed to find their relation to the text but in his conclusion Ginzberg draws the following lessons: “Development policy must be unique.” “Manpower represents the key constraint on growth.” “Rapid economic growth is an illusion.” “Political stability comes first.” “Government bureaucracies have limited capability.” “Capital cannot be ignored.” “Neglect of agriculture is costly.” “There are only a few basic criteria for progress,” and last and inevitably, “Talent is the key to enhancing the quality of life.”

Victorian sexual mores have recently undergone much psychological and social analysis—e.g., Steven Marcus’s The Other Victorians—with special attention to the undercurrent of hysteria which characterized social attitudes toward prostitution. Petrie’s forthright and admiring biography of Josephine Butler, the charming and intelligent English matron who led a one-woman crusade for repeal of the Contagious Disease Acts of the 1860s, adds a minor but interesting chapter to the history of the shady underside of Victorian morality. Wife of a clergyman-scholar, she was a lady of impeccable virtue who by background and breeding ought to have been insulated from the epidemic squalor of prostitution. Instead she, like Gladstone, plucked the unfortunate girls off the streets and took them home for tea, sympathy, and rehabilitation; unlike the Prime Minister, however, her compassion was free of galling righteousness.

Her opposition to the Acts—which mandated humiliating and sometimes brutal medical examinations for suspected fallen women—was waged with unflagging zeal and considerable success in a day when nice upper-class ladies simply didn’t get involved in such grimy issues. Astutely she saw behind the reformist façade of this legislation a class-biased infringement of civil liberties and a formidable legal bulwark for sexual double standards. Petrie records the progress of Mrs. Butler’s cause and the scurrilous libel the suffered without looking deeply into her character (she was a fitful hypochondriac afflicted with guilt over the death of a young daughter), but his biography shows strong feminist sympathies, is amply researched and crammed with telling Victorian detail.

Shapiro has several related styles all devolving on a wonderfully assured grasp of language as an object in itself. In the poems that reveal this most clearly, his method parallels Barthelme’s in prose—ransacking the mind’s attics and making improbable arrangements of the tatty, unseasonal stuffs shelved away there. The elements are sometimes linguistic (crystallized usages, subtle but distinctly particular styles of diction), sometimes figurative (his images are select, but their impact still is strongly verbal); and their process of assemblage is Dadaistic but in a most refined and civilized fashion. As in raw, original Dada, interpretation is a marginal (frequently impossible) matter, but the modulations from image to image and line to line are made here with such knowing finesse that the range of effects is immeasurably greater and the appeal is of a vastly broader, more human order. Some of the poems are more conventional, but the essential unpredictability remains, a faintly eerie playfulness and an impressive dérèglement of the familiar.

This is a low-keyed but energetic book, persistently sympathetic to the Indians. It focuses on the legal aspects of their disinheritance and destruction at the hands of the US government. Washburn, in The Governor and the Rebel (1967), interpreted Bacon’s Rebellion as a fight over the status of the Indians. Here he argues that constitutional guarantees can serve to “bring the Indians under more sway” and that the termination of federal responsibility for Indians would mean not progress but further inferiority. Unfortunately, the book’s analysis is limited: Washburn doesn’t consider whether the clash between Indian civilization and colonial development need inevitably have degraded the former, but simply expresses his parti pris; and he discusses the details of inheritance laws, water rights, idle land controls, etc., insufficiently within a social theory of land use and property rights.

The first part of the book deals with the deeds and attitudes of Spanish and English colonists and the government in the nineteenth century, from Marshall’s negation of Indian sovereignty to early prototypes of bogus capitalist opportunities for Indians which in reality opened new exploitative possibilities for their white predators. Neither here nor in the sections on the Indians’ current status is there a thorough examination of the political and administrative character of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; in general Washburn’s muckraking is vague and limited. There is a serious discussion of alcoholism among Indians, and an interesting comparative description of the Canadian government’s relations with Canadian Indians.

Washburn acknowledges the deficiencies of many present tribal leaders but seems to advocate the reconstitution of tribal life and defense of Indian enclaves. He closes with optimistic references to the Nixon Administration’s Indian proposals. On the one hand, the book is not exhaustive in its legal treatment; on the other, it is broader than a legalistic study, and it cuts through Vine Deloria’s romantic ideas of how to restore the ancient folkways.

Whiteside brings the zeal of an impassioned moralist as well as a great many foul-smelling facts on marketing and lobbying to the anti-tobacco crusade. He estimates that since the publication of the Surgeon General’s Report in 1964 the nicotine habit has caused “the lethal effects of 10 Hiroshimas…in our very midst.” Here he takes a close look at the $10 billion a year empire, starting with the tobacco executives who all smoke incessantly and predict, among other social calamities, a dramatic upsurge in wife-beating should use of the weed die out.

In the muck surrounding the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1970 (which knocked the cigarette ads off the airwaves) he finds the pollution extending to broadcasting, advertising, and Capitol Hill. With the networks taking in a tidy $40,000 per minute for Salem springtimes and Marlboro men riding into the sunset, lobbying and influence-peddling against the FCC were energetic and after the January 1, 1971, cut-off, the withdrawal symptoms were severe. Newspapers and magazines, on the other hand, found a bonanza in the deflected ads and Whiteside wants something done about it. His correspondence to this end with FDA Commissioner Edwards is appended, in which Whiteside urged on the comatose agency classification of tobacco as a “hazardous substance.” In the long run, he sees a slow decline of the habit as consumers “turn on their manipulators.” This is a sinister portrait of the death merchants; one which may accelerate R.J. Reynolds’s diversification to Chun King Oriental Foods and Brer Rabbit Molasses—but has the Surgeon General checked them out?

(Notice in this section does not preclude review of these books in later issues.)

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