top of page

NONTHEMATIC / Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring 1958)

Political memories are notoriously short and selective. Past events tend to be judged too readily from the vantage point of today, and judgements once formed continue to be applied without qualifications for intervening changes. Thus it is with attitudes about the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). What the cold war has made obvious today to the antagonists in the international labor movement was far from obvious in 1945. At the end of World War II the prevailing political and social conditions were well-nigh compelling circumstances for the formation of an all-inclusive international labor movement, even though subsequent experiences have tended to militate against the 'correctness' of the original decision of the non-Communist labor movements to join with the Communists in the formation of the WFTU.

The events of the last generation should have told us that whenever real tyranny exists it is exercised by a minority. Indeed, the protagonists of the totalitarian rulers of our times have boldly proclaimed the right of an organized minority (the members of the totalitarian party) to rule over their country. Modern technology has come to their assistance, and William Henry Chamberlin has rightly said: "Because of the appalling concentration of power in the totalitarian state there has, perhaps, never been an age in history when so few could inflict so much suffering on so many."

Aside from the fact that the syndicate can be an association of employers or famers as well as of industrial workers, there are some basic distinctions in structure and function between the syndicat du travail and the trade union. First, the syndicate is a purely voluntary association of workers; they can join or leave at any time, regardless of whether their firm is 'organized' or not; and within a single firm, workers performing the same tasks may be members of three or four mutually opposed syndicates.

It has occasionally been maintained that there were no significant group differences in fertility before the invention and diffusion of the modern birth-control techniques which have so greatly facilitated the voluntary limitation of family size in the past half-century. But the fragmentary evidence available, inadequate as it is by modern standards, make this assumption untenable, much as its acceptance might please the demographer by assuring him that his earliest data record the initial appearance of the phenomenon in Western history.

When Prince Edward Island agreed, in April 1957, to adopt a scheme of universal hospital-care insurance, the requirement was met for a Canada-wide program that is of enormous importance to the United States...Legislation will take effect by which the federal government will finance about half the cost of any provincial plan providing general hospital care to the whole population. While this would be regarded as ‘socialized medicine’ by many in the United States, the new program, which will probably take effect in 1958, is being greeted enthusiastically by all political parties in Canada.

Letter to the Editor regarding an Autumn 1957 article on National Bolshevism in Weimer Germany.

Review of book by James Morris. New York: Pantheon. 1957. 326 pp.

Review of book by Hazem Zaki Nuseibeh. Ithaca: Cornell University press. 1956. 227 pp.

Review of book by Romulo Betancourt. Mexico, DF: Fondo de Cultura Economica. 1956. 887 pp.

Review of book by Frederick Martin Stern with foreword by Lt. General Lewis B. Hershey. New York: St. Martins Press. 1957. 373 pp.

Review of book by Melvin L. Greenhut. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1956. 338 pp.

Review of book by Reinhard Bendix. New York: John Wiley; London: Chapman and Hall. 1956. 466 pp.

Review of book by Francis X. Sutton with Seymour E. Harris, Carl Kaysen, and James Tobin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1956. 414 pp.

bottom of page