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NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 11, No. 4 (Winter 1944)

Public opinion is a mutable phenomenon in a mutable society. We cannot hope to cope scientifically with any problem of social or cultural change if we tie our concepts to particular and changing conditions. As our variables must at least aim at universality, they cannot be defined in terms of mutable institutions. They should have a human meaning capable of surviving changes in institutions. If we do not eventually succeed in finding universal variables that constitute a pattern of all patterns, containing in itself the principles of its variations, social change will continue to engulf the meaning of the concepts in which we pretend to formulate its laws. It is for this reason that I do not start with the press, the radio, the movie, or the mass society of the industrial age

The constitutional and administrative structure of postwar Germany will most probably depend on the decisions of two groups: leading members of the United Nations, on the one hand, and, on the other, the Germans themselves, acting within the limits of the discretion that is left to them. Neither the decisions of the victors nor those of the vanquished are likely to be made all at once. Relatively soon it will be decided, at least tentatively, what Germany’s boundaries with other states are to be and how the lines of demarcation shall run among the various military governments within Germany.

During the last few years Indianism has been recognized as a social movement in the broadest sense, containing political elements and political potentialities. It centers on what is called, south of the Rio Grande, the Indian problem. This problem arises mainly out of the fact that a population of thirty million or more Indians has remained fundamentally untouched by Spanish civilization. The present article does not intend to deal with the Indian problem as such. Its intention is rather to analyze it indirectly, as it finds expression in Ibero-American literature dealing with the Indians and with the Indian problem. That expression is Indianismo--usually referred to in Latin America as Indigenismo.

We need not address ourselves here to the difficult question of how to define the concept of overpopulation, entangled in so many largely independent variables. All that matters in this context is the inevitable conclusion: beyond a certain minimum point of population density, already present in all industrial countries of the world and in a great number of others, a smaller increase in population is preferable to a larger one, from the viewpoint of economic welfare, and no increase is preferable to a small one. It is true that technological progress may allow a growing population to maintain and even to improve its standard of living despite the law of decreasing returns; but since, beyond the minimum point, technological progress is not tied up with the growth of population, the improvement of the standard of living is likely to be even higher in the absence of population growth.

When the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, carried along in the general wave of planning, set up postwar planning committees in 1943, they found themselves in a peculiar situation. They had no ideology or general program of their own to guide their planning, nor was there a political party whose program they could back. Some of their affiliated unions had research bureaus and were thus well informed about economic conditions in their particular industries, but organized labor as such had never undertaken economic research on a scale large enough to warrant its utilization for making postwar plans. Most important of all, the workers themselves were silent; there was no movement within the ranks of labor which led the planning in a definite direction.

Review of book by Sumner Welles. New York: Harper. 1944. 431 pp.

Review of book by Nathan Straus. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1944. 314 pp.

Review of book by Arthur E. Murphy. New York: Macmillan. 1943. 346 pp.

Review of book by Armand Lowinger. New York: Columbia University Press. 1941. 172 pp.

Review of book by Ray Lepley. New York: Columbia University Press. 1944. 267 pp.

Review of book by Harold R. Hutcheson. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1944. 195 pp.

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