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October 19, 1979 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-19

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Wge 4-- Friday, October 19, 1979-T-he Michigan Daily
m
d*.I Mit tow
Ninety Years of Editorial.

nIaznI
Freedom
News Phone: 764-0552

Vol. LX

XXX, No. 38

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

I

economic change is crucial

TWO ACTIVISTS FROM the 60s,
Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda,
came to town this week complaining
about the power of corporate
executives in the 70s, and to lead a new
movement to bring about "economic
democracy" in the 80s.
Their mission is no simple task. I:t
calls for significant changes in the
economic make-up of this country's
free enterprise system. The system
has undergone severe tests in much of
modern Europe, but has remained
relatively intact in the United States.
Yet, the mission they've been
spreading in a whirlwind tour is one
which deserves much attention. It is a
campaign which should be pursued
vigorously until the goal becomes a
reality.
Since Adam Smith's "Wealth of
Nations," the free enterprise system
has been basically untouchable.
Although government regulations and
legislation have robbed it of some of its
power, the free enterprise policy of
economics has meant a lot to most
Americans. With communism
establishing itself as a strong force in
20th century economics, Americans
have viewed free enterprise as their
attachment to democratic principles.
Communism has represented an evil
force oppressing the population it
governs. Free enterprise, however,
has been a code word for American
democracy because it allows the public
to determine the market, and to act
accordingly. It has represented the
freedom of Americans to make
business-oriented decisions without in-
terference from the government. It has
made Americans proud.
M.ut that way of thinking is obsolete.
Since the industrial revolution in the
19th century, the economics of this
country shifted dramatically. Many
large corporations cropped up in this
dpntury to infiltrate the American
economic scene. Whether in steel, oil,
or automobiles, each industry came to
be dominated by a few exclusive com-
panies. It became a nation of
oligopolies. And in each of these new
powerful corporations, just a few
wealthy tycoons held most, if not all, of
the power.
Exercising their power in order to
reap the largest profit margins, these
corporate leaders made a lot of money
for their companies. They also
strengthened the country's economy
and standing in the world community..

Through America's industrial gains
the country became the most powerfu
in the world.
But while these accomplishments
are formidable, these same corporate
executives have made their money a
the expense of the public. In the oil in
dustry, they have collected huge
profits while the public pays exorbitan
prices for gasoline and home heatin
oil. And who can rival the irresponsible
actions committed by executives in
chemical industries and in nuclea
power plants. Worse than raising
prices beyond reasonable limits, these
"businessmen" have endangered the
lives of many Americans. Three Mile
Island, Love Canal, the list goes on.
Hayden and Fonda are so right. The
time is ripe for there to be more con
sumer involvement in these cor
porations to instill a sense of respon
sibility and accountability which ha:
been lacking throughout the century
Instead of big executives just running
the show, there needs to be represen
tatives of labor and other consume
groups on the boards of the large cor
porations. While no such specifi
methods were discussed by the tw
former 60s activists, a grass-root
organization has begun in California
and must spread throughout the coun
try.
For example, with consumers anc
local representatives on a company'
board of directors, corporatE
executives would be unable to im
plement ambitious programs risking
the welfare of the community. A plar
to operate a nuclear power plant woul
not be passed so easily if community
members have significant input in tha
decision. In addition, large coverups -
such as the one which existed for s
long at Love Canal in upper New Yort
state - would not be allowed to con
tinue at the expense of the public.
One - disturbing aspect of th
Hayden/Fonda campaign has been th
response it has received during its 55
city tour. The pair has been perceive
as that radical dynamic duo who wer
traitors during this country's in
volvement in Vietnam. For many, th
two are just up to their old tricks.
But a deep look at their campaig
will show that it's a middle-class caus
which would benefit all Americans. I
is very w5fortunate that some hav
misperceived its aims, bu
nonetheless, their struggle is a vali
one.

6WARENESS
Nuclear
The nuclear power industry isD
perhaps best characterized by
the striking lack of information
made available by which we can the costs as well as the benefits
judge its safety and cost- industrial economic develo
effectiveness. In a crude sense, ment. Nuclear power can be se
the combatants seldom fight on as a crucial test case for such
the same plane of action and decision, for its possible co
ideas; it is more a case of solar sequences could actually be of
romantics and technological life and death nature. It is new I
progress freaks engaged in a most standards, and il
rather fruitless shouting match. regulation is conducted bya
Now one can rightly take issue agency (Nuclear Regulator
with such a characterization, yet Commission) whose roots 1
1 the fundamental point it makes it heavily in the exciting days of tf
largely correct. That is, most of
us lack the proper technical
S knowledge to adequately
e describe such questions as plant The probl
t safety and waste disposal. What
we can examine initially,h
e however, and use in our decision-"
e making, are the pre-suppositions perhaps in thi
of the nuclear industry and theD
g overall implications that the go away. Bu
e' nuclear question presents. With this problem
n these tools in hand, we can un-
r derstand that nuclear power isthe ocean.'
more than a mere energy alter- eoc a .
g native, for it indicates the need
e to reassess our development and
e power-allocative processes.
e In examining the nuclear issue, Atomic Frontier and the Atom
we must not lose sight of the Energy Commission which dirE
nature of this country's growth ted the program.
e and development. Our strivings There are kinks in the syste
- for economic progress have left a Even if we can assume that
- legacy of spillover costs and plant can be made safe, there a
- pollution that no one had planned numerous otherfactorssthat ca
s for or is willing to deal with. doubt on the actual safety
nuclear programs. Plants a
- WE MUST TAKE note of these constructed by the lowest bidd(
g consequences in fure decisions, like any other basic busine
- for we can no longer treat such decision,and are often run f
,r problems as mere afterthoughts. profits by private compani
- Nuclear power stands at the focal Recent events around the count
C point of these two modes of plan- have raised questions as to the
c ning frowth. We have the choice fectiveness of the safety syster
O to fairly and fully assess the long- and construction methods n(
s range consequences of the employed.
a nuclear option (and we will
return to these), or we can again THE PROBLEM of nucle
- postpone this necessity because wastes has been largely ignore
we believe that we have to have perhaps in the hope hat it wou
d the energy right now, no matter go away. But we cannot swe
S what. this problem under the rug or t
e To move thoughtlessly into the ocean. It is poorly understood.
e future is to invite the risk of un- is hard to transport. It is hard
- forseen difficulties, The United contain. And it hangs around
g States has been guilty of this ten- long time. Clearly, we must
n dency in its pursuit of almighty better than this.
d "progress", and it must begin to The nuclear issue also hasi
y plot a course that takes note of .credible implications upon ti

of
)p-
en
a
[n-
a
ts
an
ry
ie
;he

Lel S. Carol

country's power apparatus.
Nuclear power is highly capital
intensive. Your local co-op will
not be building any nu ear plan-
ts this year. Only the large
utilities have the financial
capabilities and incentives to do
so. And these incentives are quite
strong, for nuclear plants are
highly profitable for their
owners. The expensive construc-
tion process (for example Fermi

power
nust be resisted

em of nuclear waste

largely

ignored,

e hope that it would
t we cannot sweep,

I

under

the rug

or

the oil companies. What is impor
tant to realize is that a suc-
cessfully implemented solar
power program would be con-
trolled and operated by small-
sized companies and com-
munities at the local level. This is
not good news if your business is
the monopolization of the energy
available to the public. Your
profits would tend to go down.
THE DECENTRALIZATION
of the energy field would totally
disrupt the power structure of
this country. Local communities
would decide how to keep thie
rown lights on, and utilities would'
lose a profitable monopoly they
have come to enjoy. One can thus .
come better to understand the
motivations behind the utilities'
push for more and more plants. It
is undoubtedly in their best in-
terest to do so. Yet more plants
may not be in the public's best in-
terest, and this is the most impor-
tant question of all.
A stern re-evaluation of
nuclear power must precede any
further development ofithe
various nuclear programs in ef-
fect throughout the United States.
Moratoriums on new construe-
tion, such as the Jondahl-Ross-
C.lodfelter proposal now in the
Michigan legislature, would allow
for such examination to take
place,uand would introduce a sen-
se of prudence that must accom-
pany the issue.
If it can be demonstrated that
we can build safe plants, can
dispose of waste properly, and
that other energy alternatives
are mere fantasies, then we
should forge ahead with nuclear
development. Yet until this bill is
filled, we must oppose business'
and governments's efforts to
thrust nuclear power upon us.
This is our decision to make, and
the proper forum for its oc-
currence must be demanded.
On Sunday, PIRGIM (Public
Interest Research Group in
Michigan) will march in Lansing
to protest nuclear energy in
Michigan.
Daniel S. Carol is a member
of PIRGIM.

nic
m.
a
are
,ast
of
are
ler,
ess
for
es.
try
ef-
ms
low
ear
td,
uld
ep
he
It
to
3a
do
in-
;his

II is expected to cost 1.3 billion
dollars) is easily financed by
raising utility rates to con-
sumers, with the justification
that the consumers will need the
energy from these plants.
Utilitieslike Detroit Edison and
Tennessee Valley Authority will
even use overstated future power
load forecasts so they can build
more plants. This is because once
in operation, nuclear plants will
turn a tidy profit until they have
to be rebuilt or abandoned 30
years later.
On the other side of the coin,
there exist energy alternatives
which have different implications
that the utilities would rather not
talk about. Now it is quite true
that solar and wind power smack
of Don Quixotic romanticism. Yet
until either the oil companies,
whose hearts and dollars belong
to fossil fuel, or the federal
government (largely nuclear-
oriented) put real effort and
research into these areas, one
can not wholly dismiss them. In
fact, most solar patents have
been purchased and put to rest by

t
10
k
I-
e
e
i-
d
e
l-
e
n
e
t
e
t
d

C _

The 'price and qualityF of
University housing has long been
a problem that students who have
to live in dormitories and other
University residences have long
been powerless to change. But
one University organization is
trying to get students involved in
housing policy.
The University Residence Hall
Council (URHC) is the line of
communication between the
University Housing Office and
students living in University-
owned and operated housing
units.. The Council meets two ob-
jectives: it provides the Housing
Office with student feelings on
decisions which affect the
residence halls, and it provides
residence hall students with a
vehicle to express their
dissatisfaction or admiration for
the office's policies.
The group's potential is
valuable both from the Housing
Office's perspective and the
student's perspective. With an
open line of communication '
housing officials can better meet
student needs and students can
have more control over policies
that affect them.
The idea of the University
Residience Hall Council was
initiated in the fall of 1978 when
the Student Government Task
Force in the Housing Office was
assigned the task of creating a
means of communication bet-
ween housing administrators and
students living in University
housing units. The Task Force
spent fall 1978 and winter 1979
creating the URHC, which is

UHR C tackles
campus housing
By Jane F$sper

Let' S

hear it for the, Pitt.

made up of representatives from
each dorm, a president, vice
president, treasurer, and
secretary.
The organization's purpose is
to address the issues concerning
residents, including security,
food consolidation, ineffective
dorm governments, and lack of
communication within and bet-
ween dorms.
The elections for dorm
representatives were held Oc-
tober 4, 1979 and the first Council
is scheduled for mid-October.
The URHC offers both housing
administrators and residence
hall students a fantastic oppor-
tunity. Housing needs student in-
put. If housing decisions can be
influenced by students, then the
resulting policies will be more
realistic, more effective, and
more easily implemented.
Currently, housing ad-
ministrators aren't aware of how
students feel about housing
policies. They aren't aware of
student issues and concerns.
Housing needs to be made aware

and URHC provides the means of
becoming aware.
Residents of University
housing have every right to in-
fluence the policies that will af-
fect them. Through URHC
residents have the opportunity to
influence policy before it is enac-
ted and also react to existing
policy.
For example, weekend food
consolidation is one issue that
students could address using the
URHC. Students, generally, are
very inconvenienced by having to
leave their dorm to go eat in
another dorm, especially in bad
weather. Had URHC existed
when the Housing Office was
planning weekend consolidation,
it is doubtful that the plan would
have been implemented with so
little student opposition.
Now that consolidation is a fact
students have to cope with,
URHC provides the means of ex-
pressing their dissatisfaction. A
concerned student or - better yet
- a group of students can go to a
URHC meeting and voice their

opinions.
The one force that threatens'
the success of the URHC is the
overwhelming force of student
apathy. Students on campus
-today care too little about how
housing' policy affects them to get.
involved and influence these
policies.
This is evident on the individual
halls where R.A.'s cannot initiate
enough enthusiasm to organize
hall activities. The same apathy
exists in the dorm governments.
Students want exciting activities
in the dorm but very few are
willing to work on planning. Each
individual should have a personal
interest in his/her environment
and that interest should imply in-
volvement.
Apathy is devastating; this
lack of student motivation
seriously threatens to inhibit the
effectiveness of the URHC.
Housing officials have expressed
their interest in the group, but
students havayt to indicate
their interest ad commitment.
The potential for effective
communication between residen-
ce hall students and the Housing
Office is available through the
URHC. Students must now take
advantage of it by coming to the
group with positive, constructive
suggestions. Their failure to do so
only indicates an unwillingness to
take on the responsibilities of
maturity.
Jane Esper is a student govern-
ment task force member and
an L.S.A. junior.

T HERE IS something strangely bit-
tersweet in the comeback victory
of the world champion Pittsburgh
Pirates. That the Pirates were able to
out-hit, out-field, and out-score the
Baltimore Orioles is by itself the bitter
part of the victory for those who
pledged allegiance to the strategical
genius of Earl Weaver and his army of,
batsmen. But even those whose
pockets are emptier because of the
unexpected outcome of this series can
take solace in the "sweet" - that the
Pirates victory is a vindication for the
city of Pittsburgh and for every other
struggling, scrapping city of the urban
industrial northeast and midwest.
In a sense, the Pirates personified
Pittsburgh. Every one said that the
Bucs were dead, just as everyone said
the city had fallen victim to the
traditional urban decay and neglect.

The baseball pundits and the urban
analysts all proclaimed Pittsburgh a
loser, although reports of the team's
death - and the city's - were both
greatly exaggerated.
Like the city of their names, the Pit-
tsburgh Pirates had to compete again-
st the flashier, big money cities like
Los Angeles, San Diego, Cincinnati,
and New York. The Pirate victory then
becomes a victory for the urban, in-
dustrial, working class city over in-
surmountable odds - over money,
over neglect, and over decay. Even
Baltimore can take solace in that.
So along with Pirate fans, every
working class city in America is
celebrating the World Series victory
for the city that best represents
working-class values and blue collar
ethics.
Better luck next year, Billy Martin.

....--
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