Trends of the Times


Look How Far We've Come

In the male products area, there has been a new thrust into magazine advertising. Following Julius Schmid Co.'s very low-key ads promoting "birth control for men" in Playboy and similar magazines, competitor Young's Drug Products Corp. has started placing half-page full-color illustrated ads for Trojan prophylactics in such major magazines as Look. Although still pitched to the "prevention of disease" theme, the ads are nonetheless a significant departure from tradition.
December 1971

Turner Outdoor Advertising of Atlanta has burst the condom barrier by erecting 30 billboards boosting the Ramses brand. It's the first time in American history that such wares have been hawked via billboard.
March 1986

May a Hundred Channels Bloom

Earlier this year several people involved in radio and television news began to question the wisdom of the government's control of the media via the Federal Communications Commission.…the conspiracy of silence has been broken.
November 1971

Support is growing among the public, broadcasters, and Congress to end government control of broadcast content.
August 1975

Will the momentum of deregulation in radio, TV, and telephones let up under the Reagan administration? Many observers worry that it will, because of the appointment of Mark S. Fowler, generally considered a supporter of the established broadcasting industry, as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.…Major initiatives that would threaten the status quo are unlikely to emerge from the FCC.
August 1981

Recent speeches by the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Mark S. Fowler, lend strong support to his contention that he really is for deregulation.
September 1981

If there were a Nobel Prize for government agencies that reduce their own powers, this year's award would have to go to the Federal Communications Commission. Under the leadership of chairman Mark Fowler, the commission has freed communications technologies from the shackles of commission regulation at a dizzying rate.
December 1982

Thank God

On 1 July 1973 the United States military draft came to an end, amidst complaints and controversy.
September 1973

The Post Office: To Know It Is To Hate It

Postmaster General Elmer T. Klassen recently announced plans to raise first-class rates from 8 cents to 10 cents in January; this…is bringing increasing cries of anguish from citizens, businessmen, and Congressmen.
October 1973

"Use commercial small-parcel carriers as a cheaper alternative to priority mail and U.S. Postal Service–insured parcels." So reads one of 10 cost-saving suggestions from the federal government's own General Services Administration.…
August 1976

"We don't want to take the risk" of losing more vital mail. "Our last two mailings we sent by United Parcel Service." The head of a corporation? No, the speaker is Kenneth Duff, senior staff officer at the Department of Agriculture.
April 1978

Yet another government agency is switching from the government's postal service to private United Parcel Service. This time it's the Internal Revenue Service.
May 1979

John Crutcher—a commissioner of the Postal Rate Commission…pointed out that the Postal Service's operation is currently "stodgy and barnacle-encrusted.…"
October 1983

In a recent op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Federal Trade Commission chairman James Miller III suggested doing away with the [private express statutes] altogether and letting private companies deliver first-class mail.
June/July 1985

In a blunt open letter to Postmaster General Preston Tisch, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Daniel Oliver sums up the sentiment well: "Postal service is bad, and customers are unhappy".…Tisch is no dummy. He had his reply [to Oliver] delivered by a courier service. A Postal Service spokesman explained to the Wall Street Journal, "It's just that we wanted it to arrive as soon as possible."
October 1987

Speculation, '70s-style

Recent developments appear to be bringing closer the day when Americans will have the financial security of being able to own gold—legally.
February 1973

Stoning the Drug Laws

Stating that "marijuana is here to stay," [Consumers Union] urged complete legalization of the use, cultivation, and sale of marijuana.
February 1973

The latest FBI figures show that not only are marijuana arrests still increasing, they are becoming an ever-greater percentage of all drug arrests.…
February 1976

"We believe the time has come to liberalize laws regarding the possession of marijuana for personal use." So stated the presidents of the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association in a joint appeal to Congress and the state legislatures.
February 1978

The privately funded Drug Abuse Council has released a national report stating that more Americans than ever are using drugs and the trend is not likely to let up in the near future.
July 1980

In response to an…antiparaphernalia ordinance, the Loading Zone [headshop] in Thousand Oaks [California] continues selling what appear to the untrained eye to be the same products, but they're being sold with radically different marketing techniques.…Roach clips have been magically reincarnated as memo holders and hat ornaments.
February 1983

Former television stars Tom Rettig of "Lassie" and Billy Gray of "Father Knows Best" have endorsed a California initiative to legalize marijuana. Rettig reported that his nearly 20 years of pot smoking hadn't harmed his life.
June 1983

We had to read through the column twice to make sure we were understanding correctly, but there it was—conservative superstar and syndicated columnist William Buckley reversing himself and calling for the legalization of drugs, including cocaine and heroin.
June/July 1985

Body Counts in the Other Drug War

One of the more sacred of Washington's sacred bovines has long been the Food and Drug Administration. Only in recent years, with the rise of health-food advocates and of the NAS-NRC drug efficacy studies, has there begun to be direct challenge of the agency's right to dictate what substances shall or shall not be on the market.
February 1972

In a November 1981 editorial entitled "100,000 Killed," the Wall Street Journal launched a round of salvos at the FDA for its obstruction of the use of the drug propranolol, which has been shown effective in England since 1965 in preventing second heart attacks.
February 1982

For people afflicted with AIDS and other terminal illnesses, deregulation may now make the difference between life and death. Taking what the Wall Street Journal called "a giant step for the sick and dying," the Reagan administration has instructed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ease its regulations so that patients can more quickly receive experimental drugs that might save their lives.
June 1987

And How Do You Suppose They Celebrated?

California's odious law forbidding oral copulation was struck down as unconstitutional by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge on 11 September.
December 1972

REASON'S Weirdest Trends

One of the holdovers from the days of 40-year lifespans is the ideal of marriage "till death us do part." Mounting divorce statistics…belie our devotion to this ideal.…One way of facing reality might be to make marriage contracts for shorter terms, with options to renew. This idea was proposed this year in Maryland.
December 1971

The Recreation and Parks Committee of the Los Angeles City Council has recommended removing the City's ban on exposing the female breast in parks and on beaches.
January 1972

The director of the Laboratory for the Study of the Relations between Cosmic Psychophysiological Rhythms in France has just published a study that found no correlation between the character traits of 2,000 successful people and the signs of the zodiac under which they were born.
July 1982

The Coolest State in the Union

Nevada is the first state to adopt a provision for "none of the above" as an alternative to the candidates listed on the ballot.
August 1975

In the September primary elections, Nevada's recently enacted "None of the Above" ballot law received its first test. And proved to be a winner. In a race among three candidates for the state's seat in the U.S. House, None of the Above collected the most votes.
January 1979

None of the Above captured one-third of the vote versus Kennedy and Carter in the Nevada Democratic primary in late May.
August 1980

Lesson from Britain: Start with the Pubs

During World War I over 200 taverns, hotels, and liquor stores [in England] were nationalized, allegedly to combat drunkenness in munitions factories.…Now, after 57 years, the pubs are being denationalized.…
August 1973

A majority of British workers now disagrees with the policies of nationalization and egalitarianism which have been the core of Labour Party policy.
July 1978

Denationalization looks like the coming thing in the United Kingdom. The election of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister is expected to lead to a major shift in the role of the state in Britain.
August 1979

In rapid succession Britain's new government led by Margaret Thatcher is moving to undo the socialist accomplishments of the postwar era.
November 1979

Britain's Thatcher administration has announced the biggest denationalization program of its term so far. Its object: North Sea oil and gas.
February 1982

The British are farther along. Over the past two years, four major enterprises have been "privatized" (as the British call denationalization).…
November 1982

Were We Ever Wrong

The myth that the government could go on indefinitely creating give-away programs financed from "somewhere" has finally run its course.
November 1972

Were We Ever Right

The Social Security system is headed for disaster.…
April 1975

The Life and Death of a Bureaucracy

Long recognized by economists as the enforcer of an airline cartel, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is now in a fight for its political life. In addition to the usual contingent of free-market economists, its opponents now include Ralph Nader (who thinks the agency should be abolished altogether), Sen. Edward Kennedy (who has become an advocate of deregulation), the Departments of Transportation and Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the White House.
July 1975

The administration's long-awaited bill to partially deregulate commercial aviation was submitted to Congress in October. Its passage would be a major step in opening the industry to competition, breaking up the present cartel-like structure.
January 1976

Under the leadership of economist Alfred Kahn, chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the CAB has substantially reduced government regulation of the airlines. The result has been fare reductions, new service, and an unprecedented boom in air travel.
November 1978

President Carter signed into law the Airline Deregulation Act on October 25. It loosens the Civil Aeronautics Board's control over fares and routes, ends them entirely by 1983, and abolishes the CAB altogether in 1985.
February 1979

Laissez-faire in aviation? We're getting closer, as the Civil Aeronautics Board in May removed all controls on airline fares for routes of under 200 miles and expanded "fare flexibility" for longer routes.
August 1980

It was a death worth celebrating: on December 31, the Civil Aeronautics Board passed into history.
February 1985

We Neeed Our Private Space

In an important policy development, the Carter administration has rejected proposals for costly new space ventures. Instead, it plans to scale down NASA budgets and turn over many operational roles to private industry.
January 1979

The growth of private-sector launch services continues.
May 1982

Lee Scherer, the former director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida…predicted…that NASA may start turning over launch operations to private business, "I would say, within three years, if you want to try to pin it down."
December 1982

Although many space enthusiasts have cheered President Reagan's commitment to a permanent, manned space station, there is growing doubt about how such a goal should be achieved—and at what cost. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has proposed an $8-billion program to build such a station.…NASA is essentially proposing to reinvent the wheel.
October 1984

In the wake of the Challenger disaster, President Reagan announced that NASA will launch only 14 more commercial satellites from the space shuttle before bowing out of the commercial launching business.…Exit NASA, enter private industry.
December 1986

True privatization of space transportation is finally under way.…In various stages of evolution are private launch-vehicle developers, private launch operators, and even private spaceports.
January 1988

Some Things Never Change

Chinese officials seem to be straddling the fence on free speech—at one time encouraging the expression of dissent, and then striking out when the dissent seems too threatening.
June 1980

If It's Broke, Fix It

For the first time in 20 years, a South African prime minister, Pieter Botha, has conceded that the separatist policy of apartheid has not worked.
February 1981

Let Freedom Ring

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand an FCC ruling that for the first time permits other companies to compete with American Telephone and Telegraph and Western Union in providing long-distance communications services, both voice and data. One of the competitors, MCI Telecommunications Corp., is already advertising "Competitive Long Distance" service.…
January 1976

Although Congress failed to enact a telephone deregulation bill this session, the industry—helped along by the Federal Communications Commission—continues to move toward open competition.
December 1980

In February, American Telephone & Telegraph announced that it will divide its 22 operating companies into seven independent regional firms, before divesting them in accordance with the Justice Department's recent antitrust settlement…Every month brings further evidence that these services are not natural monopolies.
May 1982

For the first time since about 1910, when exclusive franchises were granted to local telephone companies, we're about to have a choice of local phone systems again.
January 1983

What Do the People Think Now?

A nationwide survey commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange showed 93 percent of those polled believe that Ronald Reagan should be given a chance to try his economic policies—even those they disagree with—since nothing else has worked.
March 1981

The Worst Lead Ever Written

There were elections on April 12 in Santa Monica, California. The results were generally better than expected.
July 1983

Interest Grows in Deregulation

The past five years have witnessed a competitive revolution in the banking business. Not only has competition proliferated among banks, savings and loans, and credit unions, but there has also emerged a whole crop of "near-banks" that are giving the thrift institutions a real run for their money. The result (besides an explosion of credit) is likely to be the virtual deregulation of consumer banking.
July 1979

"I am in favor of abolishing the central bank," stated Nobel laureate Milton Friedman in a recent letter to Gold Standard Corporation.…
March 1983

It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys. By an 8-0 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a serious blow to the Federal Reserve Board's campaign to limit the expansion of "nonbank banks" and thus competition in the banking markets. The Fed is furious, the banks elated, and the ultimate beneficiaries of the court's wisdom will be consumers.
May 1986

Tax Attacks

With the full revelation of White House use of the IRS for harassing administration "enemies" with special audits, for cracking down hard on "extremist" groups, favoring the president's 1972 campaign supporters, and placing political contact men within top-echelon IRS ranks, millions of Americans received an unexpected consciousness-raising about the true nature of a system based on forced taxation.
January 1974

Public opinion polls taken over the last few months indicate that popular discontent with high taxes and government spending is more widespread than many people have realized.
March 1979

A study conducted by the Rand Corporation…reports that the tax revolt is not an isolated case of discontent but rather indicates a new era of scaled-down government.
February 1980

Much to the disquiet, no doubt, of the Internal Revenue Service, the results of the most recent attitude survey commissioned by the IRS strongly indicate that a large segment of the American population consists of tax evaders.
June 1981

A General Accounting Office report released in March estimates that this year Americans—private individuals and corporations—will "cheat" on their federal income-tax returns to the tune of about $80 billion.
June 1982

Three companies that compile computerized lists of the estimated incomes of most households—Donnelly Marketing, R.L. Polk Company, and Metromail—have refused to rent their lists to the IRS. The ever-popular agency wanted the data to track down tax evaders.
February 1984

Under the new tax law, the United States now has the lowest tax rates of any major industrialized nation, and it's got the rest of the world hopping aboard.
March 1987

—Compiled by Lucy Braun