The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware on January 18, 1972 · 10
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The Morning News from Wilmington, Delaware · 10

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Wilmington, Delaware
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Tuesday, January 18, 1972
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10
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GDpnODOQDUD Wilmington, Delaware, Tuesday, January 18, 1972 Page 10 Sweden: Silence, schnapps and socialism Handelsran In NEBELSPLATER. Rorschchfrom l freedom, let's go to Sweden unionized Swedish workers backbone of the governing Social Democratic Party. He smokes Kent cigarettes and there is an open copy of U.S. News & World Report on his desk. "In Sweden," he says, "we can't afford to have unemployment. The Canadian figure of 6 per cent wouldn't be acceptable here. Of course, , the big change is that 80 per cent of the youngsters who go through higher education here can't be offered the kind of jobs they expect any more. Somebody has to do the menial work. The pay and living standards of the educated will have to stop rising until the others catch up." Sweden is experiencing its first major labor troubles since 1945. In the past, wage agreements with management have quietly been negotiated through an elaborate system of annual meetings between L.O. and its industrial counterpart. But last spring the government took the unprecedented step of moving in to prevent a crippling strike. Even though Sweden has a socialist government, the state has traditionally concentrated on social policies, leaving business and labor to operate in relative freedom. Sweden has had a socialist government for 39 years, but so little industry has been nationalized that only 6 per cent of the labor force is employed by the state. One example of Sweden's enlightened labor policies is the experiment at the Saab plant in Soder-talje, the first modern mass-production automobile factory to drop the conveyor belt system. Instead, cars are assembled by production groups that plan their own work schedules. Absenteeism has dropped while production quality has significantly increased. Although official statistics rank Sweden's standard of living just behind the U.S. (and just ahead of Canada), it is probably the world's highest on a per capita basis because income is much more evenly distributed. The cost of living went up 7 per cent last year and Stockholm is probahly the most costly place there is anywhere. Coca-Cola in restaurants costs the equivalent of 42 cents, liquor outlets charge $10 for a bottle of Scotch; the price of admission to a first-run movie is $4; it cost me a dollar to get a shirt laundered in my hotel; a pound of butter sells for 95 cents. It's a mystery how people can afford such prices, because even though wages are roughly equivalent to Canadian rates income taxes are very much higher. The tax on a salary of $8,226 is 50 per cent on top of a 17 per cent sales tax that applies to most goods. But the Swedes also get a lot more back from their government in terms of free services, including free annual holidays for housewives; fat pensions amounting to 60 per cent of a man's average earnings during the 10 highest-paid years of his life; free universal education up to the Ph.D. level; state dowries for newlyweds , and subsidies for single-parent children. The Swedish state has become an essential structure for guaranteeing one's self-interest. "The Swedes have their medical expenses taken care of, all of their welfare In the language of Canadians of a certain age and political persuasion (the middle generation of liberals), Sweden for the last 20 years or so has served as a kind of shorthand symbol for a functioning Utopia. You know the kind of situation I mean: Two socially aware, politically involved, deadly serious people are talking about a Canadian problem and they end their summation of our absurdities by saying, "Now in Sweden, they solve this so sensibly by. . ." Certainly, if most Canadians had to make a list of Worthy Nations, Sweden would probably come at the top. The Swedes have solved virtually all the important economic and social issues that preoccupy governments. They have abolished poverty, defeated unemployment, wiped out slums, banished ignorance, redistributed wealth, dispelled sexual repression and confounded ideology by building the world's best living standard on capitalist production and socialist distribution. Eight million characters in search of an author, the Swedes are brooding individualists wracked by introspection. Their country (Europe's fourth largest which, if it could be swung at its southernmost point, would stretch down to Naples) is a clean, well-lighted place. The industrial revolution came late to Sweden; only 50 years ago it was one of the most backward nations of Europe. There is little industrial ugliness. Superhighways glide by 18th-century castles; factories are set unobtrusively into forests. It is a country obsessed with orderliness. Nothing seems improvised; from the way farmers pile their firewood to the elegant folds in restaurant napkins. Everything is painfully tidy. And silent. It is the silence of Sweden that really sets it apart from other countries. Sweden's silence is something more than the absence of sound. It's a kind of tumultuous stillness, defeaning in its intensity as if within it negotiations of some primordial, unspoken sort were implacably proceeding. Trains, buses and streetcars full of speechless people rumble through the avenues of Stockholm like wheeled coffins. There are few street noises, little clatter of trade or . cries of children; clean walls cry out for desecration. Russian friends bear-hug when they get excited, the French kiss. Swedes show emotion with a firm, mute handshake, and when they do speak, the cadence of their language reduces the exchange to the tonelessness of a weather forecast. They are a nation of spectacle wipers. You ask them a question and, figuratively or literally, they pause to wipe their spectacles before they answer. Conversation thus becomes a series of pauses interrupted by words. One reason for all this silence is that the Swedish character was formed by the nation's rural past, when nearly everyone lived in isolated hamlets, with only a weekly church service to interrupt their solitude. This legacy has imbued the Swedes with a spiritual loneliness they call "ensamhet" which is their most noticeable characteristic. The crew cut makes him look like the second-string coach of a midwestern football team, but the darting blue eyes and sensitive, rabbit nose mark him as an intensely political animal. At 44, Olof Palme, the Prime Minister of Sweden, is Western Europe's youngest, most radical and least formal head of government. Deep into Swedish politics for the past 20 years, he was radicalized in the 10 months he spent hitchhiking through 34 states of the U.S. during the late Forties. He says it was the poverty surrounded by affluence he saw on the journey that inspired his deep commitment to socialism. Palme's ideology is real and much of Sweden's current unrest stems from his intention to turn Sweden into something close to a classless society. "I'm against wet-finger 'politics testing public opinion before you do anything," he says. "Without an ideological consciousness and a real will behind practical politics, you only have accommodation from one day to another." An ostentatious rebel In a country that still clings like an old maid to social niceties, Palme, when he was minister of education, took part in a march on the U.S. embassy in Stockholm to protest the Vietnam war. His great fear is fascism in all its forms. "Today's radicals just sit and wait for the revolution," he says. "They say: 'Everything has to collapse before we can begin to do anything. But it is possible to get within the existing system and guide it. The longer you sit outside, the greater is the risk of fascism or at least reaction" I met Palme in the cafeteria of Stockholm's new parliament buildings, a sleek structure with aluminum ceilings, brown carpets and birchwood walls. Discreetly chewing gum and swinging his leg over an armchair, he talked softly about the social equality he is trying to achieve. "I'm being attacked because of my Utopian ideas which are supposed to be forcing an atmosphere of confrontation. But I believe the opposite. The real confrontation comes from the economic gaps dividing members of the society. We can't do anything about happiness. But we can try to steer technology in a more humane way. We've been circling too much in the past, taking care only of society's victims. Now we have to give more power, real power, to the people involved in the production process. Power is very important and you don't need ownership to exercise it." Essentially Palme's message is that a society can be fundamentally alerted without a revolution and that the political leaders of democracies should be committed to such a transformation. "The Swedish example," he said, "is interesting for only one reason: it shows that social progress is possible through . somewhat boring, bureaucratic action." Arne Geijer sits in a large round room with carved ivory ceiling, once the home of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, and he is the most powerful man in Sweden. As head of the Lands-organizationen (L.O.), Geijer controls the destiny (and votes) of more than 1.6 million . . ok, ok, if Sweden has sexual costs paid for, their rent subsidized, and so much done for them, that if they lose their car keys they promptly commit suicide," Godfrey Cambridge, the U.S. comedian, once remarked. Actually, the Swedish suicide rate is not, as many outsiders believe, the world's highest. U.N. statistics show 10 other countries Hungary, Austria, Czechoslavakia and Germany among them with higher rates of self-destruction. But even if citizens of 10 other countries manage to kill themselves oftener, the Swedes must top everybody when it comes to drinking. The Swedish government liquor commission is the largest single buyer of the products of the French wine industry, and there is a saying in Scandinavia that while the Norwegians live to eat and the Danes eat to live, the Swedes eat to drink. I believe it. Every meal I had was accompanied by my Swedish host invoking an elaborate drinking ceremony, almost ecclesiastical in its gravity, inevitably climaxing with the cry of "Skal!" and the emptying of yet another tumbler of straight schnapps. Sweden has been neutral for 157 years and until recently this gave the Swedes no more than a spectator's role in the large events transforming the European continent. But as the twilight of ideologies overtakes the postwar alliances, Sweden is emerging as one of the few European countries with a sensible foreign policy. Sweden has rejected all the traditional loyalties, finding fresh definitions that go beyond the tattered residues of coldwar cliches. The Swedes seem to be acting out the idea of Yugoslavia's Milovan Djilas, that "the world is satiated with dogma; people are hungry for life." The Swedish example is blowing in the wind all across Europe. A continent that was for 25 years transfixed by its stage-center prominence in the contest between "the American way of life" and "the Communist conspiracy" has become restless and wants to turn in its cold-war costumes. The Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1968 shocked the sensibilities of cold-war warriors in both camps. It revealed the Warsaw Pact to be nothing more than an extension of Russian military colonialism and showed NATO up as an ill-informed overseas branch plant of the U.S. military-industrial complex. Both sides have been backing away from these alliances ever since. Russia no longer bothers to pretend that its partners have any meaningful say, and the United States, weary of its farflung post- Pay up or shut up, U.N. should say The rehabilitation syndrome 1945 adventures, appears ready to liquidate its NATO commitments within the decade. To many enlightened Europeans, this means a welcome end of alliance, the decent burial of the indecent "Pax Americana" which implied an American moral superiority most Europeans have been unable to feel since the Vietnam war. What thoughtful Europeans have suddeny realized is that both the U.S. and the USSR are now operating in their own national interests; they want to opt out any future struggle between the brutal machinations of the Kremlin and the pushy extravagances of American power overseas, which seems to operate according to an unequal mixture of Old Testament Calvinsim and New Jersey corporation law. Sweden's nonalignment policy fits in perfectly with this wave of the future. The Swedes believe in both armed neutrality to guarantee their frontiers and exerting moral pressures for world peace through substantial contributions to the United Nations peace-keeping efforts in the Middle East, the Congo and Cyprus. Some 50,000 young Swedes are conscripted every year and, not unnaturally, the problem of what to do about long hair has complicated their transformation into soldiers. In typical Swedish fashion, instead of ordering it cut off, the general staff recently issued a set of washable wide-mesh hairnets. I remembered a phrase from Andre Mal-raux, who once wrote that "the mind gives the idea of a nation, but it is its community of dreams that creates its identity," and it struck me that nobody in this elegant northern country is out searching for the Swedish identity. These silent, admirable people know exactly who they are; unlike most Canadians, their convictions have not yielded to their convenience. Part of the explanation is the fact that Sweden is a unitary state without our problems. But a more important consideration is that its geography has protected the Swedes from the violent ebb and flow of history and has created an inbred conviction that Sweden's national destiny is theirs alone to control. Sweden remains on this side of paradise. But the determined survival of the Swedes and their exhilarating willingness to experiment are lessons Canada might examine so that we can, even at this late date, fashion some future that might be distinctively our own. By PETER C. NEWMAN Editor-in-chief of Maclean's, Toronto from Atlas He admitted not entirely and went on to something else. Leonard's premise is meaningless in this particular case because these cities getting the federal money have so little to do with the ultimate care and treatment of the violent criminal. And since what is being done for the care and treatment of violence is beyond the authority or even the power of these city administrations, what could possibly be achieved in rehabilitation? This has become a word used so loosely it has lost all significance except as a kind of show window frosting on programs to justify the spending of all kinds of money. Education does not mean an offender will be rehabilitated. Some of the most violent people in the nation are educated, and some of the most violent are also illiterate. So what can be done or ought to be done? Potential offenders have to be re-directed from the concept that they can or should live by the law of the jungle. This is not necessarily accomplished either through education or even through vocational education. It requires considerable skill on the part of human behaviorists who know how to turn personalities around. It must be understood that many offenders, by the time they land in the custody of a correctional institution, are up against society and really believe themselves to be political prisoners. Also required here are jailers and officers who are sensitive to the complexes of offenders. None of this can be accomplished merely by saying such persons have to be educated or even taught trades. And on top of everything else, for such a complicated process, time and money for highly qualified staff are necessary. That's why it is so meaningless for any one to glibly say, "Rehabilitation is necessary," unless government is ready to make the long-drawn-out process available. Kht blowing fca Charlei I. Reese Jr., Chairman of the Board) Richard P. Sanger, President and Editor-in-Chiefi Frederick Walter, Executive Vice President and General Manager, John G. Craig Jr., Executive Editorj J. Donald Brandt, Managing Editor, Frederick W. Hartmann, Metropolitan Editor. An Independent Newspaper Published Every Morningj Except Sunday By The News-Journal Co. Wilmington, Del. a ill ff rr frank izing the United Nations. But if penalizing is what they are after, it can work both ways. The U. N. Charter clearly states that "a member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the the organization shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two full years." It has generally been assumed that this article will not be enforced, because expulsion of a major member would wreck the organization. For one thing, the penalty is not expulsion but loss of voting right in the General Assembly. Secondly, examples of nonpayment may prove dangerous and infectious, and THAT could wreck the organization, too. For once, the United Nations ought to start making noises as if it means business. The action does not even need any vote. It is automatic; in fact any reasonable reading of the language of the Charter leaves no doubt that the action is mandatory. Mr. Waldheim's friends claim he is an excellent and tactful negotiator. He himself claims he is a very strong person. Let all those qualities come into play as he begins to tackle this first of the many woes of the United Nations. United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim has taken his first major step toward solving the world organization's problem of chronic insolvency. The main elements of the economy campaign, by which he hopes to save about $6 million this year, are a reduction in personnel (mainly by attrition), a cutdown in the voluminous documentation, and restrictions on purchases. Staff expenses usually account for about 75 per cent of the U.N. budget a-bout $160 million in 1972. The trouble is that the productivity of the U.N. staff is low; lower, some complain, than that of most other large bureaucracies. There are also staff members who are able and productive but whose talents the United Nations cannot really put to sufficient or proper use. Then there is the matter of pensions "too much, too soon" the way one happy beneficiary put it. Documentation at the United Nations has drawn considerable praise. Its speed, details and quality make the world organization the lazy newsman's paradise. But that is not much of a reason to run such a costly operation (1970 estimate: $29 million). Newsmen assigned to the United Nations should be able to take down their own notes for filing dispatches. That should cut down considerably on the overtime cost and also the number of personnel. However, the General Assembly recommendation that documents of record as well as press releases be cut down by 15 per cent in number and length goes a little too far. Documents of record are still going to be needed, and it is the duty of the United Nations to make them available. But none of this goes to the heart of the matter, which is that there are countries that choose not to pay some of their assessments. The Soviet Union and France have consistently refused to meet their share of the Congo and Middle East operations on the ground that these operations were put into effect in violation of the United Nations Charter. The question is really political: They didn't approve of these operations. This is one of those areas where the new secretary-general will have to use his much-publicized diplomatic skills. Perhaps a way can be found whereby these countries would make a voluntary contribution to some other part of the U.N. budget. That would permit them to stick to their position without penal I become quite abrasive whenever I hear public officials speak casually about "rehabilitation." A kooky word, like sweet sounds from a siren luring people to the rocks of futility. Last week I went to Washington to attend a high-level press conference called by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew along with U.S. Atty Gen. John N. Mitchell. The basic purpose was good. The federal government announced a plan for giving away $160 million over the next several years to eight specially selected cities for fighting and reducing crime by 1976. No argument there. As Gov. Russell W. Peterson put it, the nation, states and cities have got to determine to spend millions for fighting crime. Also, as Peterson said, the nation is spending billions for that war in Vietnam. Certainly millions, at least, ought to be spent at home for the more important war. Okay so win or lose, the nation has to face up to the effort to combat violent crime in the cities and suburbs. But as I sat in that press conference, dazzled by all the federal brains around me, I was shocked to hear Jerris Leonard, director of the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), speak about the importance of rehabilitation. So far so good. Then he said that with these millions of federal dollars to the specially selected cities, the cities will be expected to "rehabilitate" the violent offenders. It was the old tired track of saying that so many of the violent criminals are undereducat-ed and that it will be important to teach them how to read and write, etc. This is the biggest batch of nonsense to come from a federal official who ought to know better. I think I flipped my cool and asked: "Are you saying that violent criminals can be rehabilitated through reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic? Drivel from evaders of responsibility Courts are part of that system. Crime and fear of crime are pervasive. Richard Scammons, former U.S. Census Bureau chief and now a political analyst, has coupled street crime and the economy as the two probable chief issues of the 1972 campaign. Members of the Joint Constitutional Revision Committee are familiar with all the arguments in this particular controversy. They are well aware that members of the Long-Range Courts Planning Committee have spent as many overtime hours on this proposal as legislators do for committees and constituents. To reject it out of hand is a travesty. Attack the News-Journal papers, yes; to use the papers as a whipping boy for evasion of responsibility, no. decision to use news material is made by the papers, which do try to avoid being used. That story was printed as quickly as Tom Greer, the chief court reporter for these papers, could assimilate it and type it. This is no five-minute document, and nights are just so long. It is no surprise to the legislators that these papers have favored the constitutional revisions in general and court reform as one of the particulars. Editorial shots have been fired at legislators and others by the News-Journal, and it's only right that they should try to get some of their own back. But is a fit of pique enough to kill . legislation as important as this? There's the rub. The whole criminal-justice system is on trial nationally. The first test of the proposed constitutional change for a more efficient court system has failed. The News-Journal papers have been identified as the villain by some members of the General Assembly's Joint Constitutional Committee. They felt that the use of the story outlining the essentials of the court proposal on the afternoon before their night meeting was a blatant attempt to pressure them into favorable action. Rep. George Jarvis, House majority leader, said he felt the papers had been used by the committee which prepared the proposed legislation. This is drivel and Mr. Jarvis and the other critics know it. These papers try to be responsive to everybody, including members of the legislature, but the

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