Excerpts show so-called progress

Published Mar 16, 2013 at 05:00AM

A few excerpts from the March 2 Economist showing what is called progress:

• Ray Cusick, recently deceased, invented Daleks, a sci-fi toy that delighted British children, sold in the millions, made colossal sums and all on a budget of $250! Cusick, who at that time was a salaried employee of BBC, received a token payment of $100 and his boss got the rest.

• An article described new automatic cash registers eventually replacing 3 million cashiers because “human workers cannot adapt quickly to technological changes” and “corporations cease to worry about the shrinking role for human labor.” Translation: need more profit for stockholders.

• President Barack Obama recently called for “a new era of scientific discovery greater than the space race.” The article noted federal spending for research will be cut by $85 billion dollars by the sequester.

• In 2008, abundant shale gas returned $12 per million British thermal units. Since then, many companies entered the fracking field where $3.40 is returned for the same BTUs, and many companies are selling their land rights.

• In 2012, pharmaceutical companies spent $24 billion marketing drugs to doctors at a recent “medical conference” where drinks “flowed like hot lava.” One company said they just happened to run into the doctors at the bar.

In summary, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” but “hope springs eternal.” British composer Benjamin Britten once said, “Surely out of the (works) that are written some good will come, even if not now and these will lead us to people who are better than ourselves.”

Russell B. Williams