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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 10. September 20th, 1949

Digest Gives Indigestion

Digest Gives Indigestion

The following is a direct quote from the June, 1049, issue of "The Reader's Digest":

"Efficiency-Or Else!

"Excerpt from The New Leader

"The following is a direct quote from the December 16 issue of 'I'ravda', official Soviet newspaper:

"The prosecutor's Office of the Sarator Region has investigated the output of cigarettes of unsatisfactory qualify by the Saratov Tobacco Factory of the Ministry for Gustatory Industries of the U.S.S.R. The cigarettes were placed OH sale containing various admixtures, insufficiently stuffed with tobacco, and with torn wrappers.

"The director of the factory, D. K. Ovehinsky, has been sentenced to seven years of prison, chief engineer P. V. Kireyev and production manager V. I. Podxhivalin to fire years of prison each.

"The First Sewing Plant in Erivan has systematically delivered to its customers men's clothes of poor quality. Chief engineer A. T. Avakyan and production manager A. G. Manukyan have been sentenced to fire years of prison each.

"The Dnepropetrovsk plant 'Stamp Record' has produced 72,740 barn locks of insufficient quality. The guilty persons, technical supervisor G. K. Adart-wan and production manager A. V. Rostov, have been sentenced to five and seven years of prison respectively."

This sweet little bit of the contemporary Red Baiting Campaign falls far below the usual puerility of current propaganda.

At first I was under the impression that the Reader's Digest had changed its political opinions but no—it had not.

Now why do I consider this propaganda puerile? For the simple reason that I consider such steps as were taken in the cases cited above are extremely necessary if the standard of living is to be raised. There are numerous cases, even here in New Zealand, of inferior quality goods which are due to the mismanagement of factories. How much better it would be if incompetent managers were shown that the people will not put up with them.

It can, of course, be maintained that the supply and quality of raw materials are responsible for the poor quality goods we see today and that normally the competitive spirit will result in excellent goods—quality always becoming better. But this competitive spirit arises out of a desire to make more money than one's neighbour and, if possible, to put that neighbour out of business. It is obvious that goods produced under this system of management will be no better than is necessary to accomplish the above aims which are certainly not conducive to the public well being.

In Russia we are told that fear will keep quality and production up to standard. But why then the constant reports of individual workers, working shifts, and factories as a whole, exceeding their quota. Surely it can only be a desire to do one's best for one's country and also, to a lesser degree, the very human desire to excell, which in this case has been turned to the public good.