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This is a country which needs everyone who can have an influence on people's thinking to go out into the country and that is one thing I would end with and that he sees that I am not hopeless about America. America has a background as you well know in Puritan religiosity sometimes that makes you rather difficult to be together with because it is behind the self-righteousness which makes the whole world as a mad you know having a sort of self-righteousness I mean when Johnson speaks about Vietnam or from behind it is a very sad rap interview which makes me who I had met you know the voice you just heard was that of Dr. Gunnar Meyer Dall one of the world's most distinguished economists and sociologist. He is professor at the Institute for International Economics studies in Stockholm Sweden and he is our guest this week on the NBER Washington forum this week. Our special report on urban planning and development within the United States. Dr. Meyer don't consented to appear on our program and to question him will be you know Louise
Huxtable of the New York Times. Jean Arlo McCall's magazine and myself Bill Greenwood public affairs director of national educational radio and this program was produced for any are through the facilities at WMU FM the American University Radio in Washington D.C. The first question posed to Dr. Maya It all came from Ada Louise Huxtable who asked him to evaluate the problems of unrest in the nation's cities. Here was his answer. There are some additional things which also which influence the runabouts the relative stagnation as I call it in the American economy from the beginning of the piece. If you're nice in our era which I recollected it settled in high unemployment rate ferny growth particularly as niggers continue to stream to the north and it is and as you know in late in years and even accelerating me so and it could be foreseen that something good was going to happen
and it's starting to sound is you know a. And then it spread to the north. These could have been foreseen. It could also have been foreseen that when it came to the north. Well a civil rights legislation could mean very much because they have had them and sometimes in some areas here in the north always and then in the north it would have a deep and temperature is about and that could also be foreseen in in the South you know the civil rights what you got was a real game you see what I mean even when they are imperfectly implemented well it defines clearly what Nikken or is you have meaning in the south. Furthermore they have the media on their side a doctor the teacher the preacher the funeral director because he's not only socially but occupational professionally discriminated again. Together with all the niggers they had been at you lean it up in the north where your head moral implication in a
way this middle class you know as you have been used to. And the traditional leader among the niggers by the political machines by right society niggers the right to behave in other ways and have certain payments for air in the north. Not in the South but in the north to think that they are bribed me and because of that there was opportunity for a new type of nationalistic leaders here. The difference could be foreseen for your sake this is no mystery about this being Usenet Id written here you know this is there. Well I gave a lecture it will be printed. We were talking about it what would it be correct to say it was 20.
Using the thing which is not forgotten is this and then not into explicit because you didn't catch my imagination but I mean things happen and you know it should have been foreseen and a bad thing was that it was not foreseen. It was cry at the end you know in America and they study scholarly study of the new you got a low priority and low prestige value at American universities so there was very little done in the field and I was at a conference foundation with the people you know and and the professors I mean it was university New York some years ago but this was a unanimous exception of course you're going to have no pull it now it's political import and you're going to have much study is of course I believe that. One should foresee such a thing a little in advance. Yes everybody here was princes go
back only half a year and more and you find in every newspaper predictions that there are going to be riots in all the cities uniting and doing nothing about it. He let them in when it came very late in the year. Then it was placed in a foreseen but first scene without taking any practical conclusion about what to do about it. If you I mean you think that of course I think it is a lack of planning a fundamental lack of planning which I think is dangerous for society. Anyone that has weaned earlier the rebellious spirit. Well I suppose we are living in fool's paradise with biased opinions. It's easy to live on you know and not see dangerous things which are coming. It's very much like the colonization you know it came as a surprise. We had done nothing which we quibbled on the bed with people for self-government you know I mean sailing I mean we're living I mean from day to day you know I mean without Make It is really what this conference is about isn't it. I mean that we should try to have some foresight and try
to peeping out ideas in mind try to make something in order to turn the program from dangers is not right. We understand that we understand and we have very little of that very few people are on your wavelength here. You think that I don't like this country and about the nation and I think you're very realist and I don't even really think human that we three things and you know that we are in live in illusion because we need to secure housing in renewal and everybody said it was not a realist he was disappointing news. I hate to disagree with the New York Times reporters but are you this when you're talking about the people in attendance or the population when you say they don't understand what's being said. A good proportion in America whose grasp
he is dealing with are sanctuary and how do you react to that big I feel Of course that in American society as a whole there is very little foresight and sometimes there is very little of her as to the ideas you would let us live on that day. A Well A I think fundamentally wrong priorities. Wrong priorities they should be about a much higher priority to rebuilding the cities for instance. I mean if we understood reality if we're not blinded you know what I mean. And this whole idea that America experimentally which is of course it's a myth and it has that's something that you're not going to do anything about us talking about it because if you're prepared to do something then it's a question of traders and dollars and they do not give a profit in the short run in the long run they will get not the short run it's just not right. And in the
absence from realism which I see in America now is this characteristic of America. I mean it's a it's of course a characteristic you all over the place but it's particularly perhaps in America where I think you have bigger problems in many respects than in the rest of the world I mean you have the theater Janet you have the underclass which means that they have never been able to raise up as a POW you know which of course is not true is written where they are the same people and Swedish modern history has been a history of run riot rising well off there are no protests from those who are not privileges you know. And so the welfare state has been created here to mean in a in a Crossman and quiet way. And there you have one of the difficulties and there are other difficulties. I mean it hit the unity of the underclass I think is a fundamental right to marry. You mentioned just a moment ago in the middle of America's influence and you said in your paper that it's really a mortgage those limits.
Now do you think that you'll be told the Americans you know that I mean they should be told about it and they should be told about it this is not only something which is bad because if you pay that mortgage I mean it would have led a very great economic future even if it's you know it's economic but it's a long term investment which means that you have to sacrifice now for a long time without any you know I mean your word is the same for me. Is there any way as an economist that you can see this changing to release these people from the bonds of indebtedness. She wanted us to start rebuilding the city so somebody said here we can do it surely America can do it. You know surely you can rehabilitate this but then you must have a definite plan and agreed to have that plan and route the money for it and as I said you got to many things really just to have other administer in fiscal units. That's of course not in the interest of the people who live in the suburbs who have low
taxes and good schools you know that you know which would be destroyed here you know I mean it's a letter definitely a class a class question and they don't come very far with it. If you don't get the social first reached the moon there comes again the difficulty of it the unity of the underclass which means that they're fighting between themselves but to take it with niggers and you know and not joining together behind a progressive line I mean all of them have a future in having a progressive America you know I mean giving full employment doing all these great things. How do we change these inanities. Talk to the people and then I think my profession the professor said too little you know I mean they are scientists and they keep it right I can tell you a star I was at the university not one of the very famous university at luncheon with a lot of young bright people who had economists and one of them said how happy you are you are not that you
can publish a book like the challenge to actually as I was flabbergasted said well it took me 21 days and days. Can't you do that and then he said if I did it in my car it would be ruined. I recall the popularizing you know I mean something wrong something wrong in the in the whole in the whole attitude and it's not only in America we are getting the same situation in Sweden the scientists and scholars in Cali can talk to each other different economists the different branches you know I suppose I have to leave it to the statesmen in the field. Statement I think that they need the help of the thousands of the professors we have a question from the magazine. You know I'm extremely interested in what you said Doc. to me you know I'm also the author of a book called cities in a race with time and you know I've reported interpret many of these things you know if you're you're talking about and I'm very interested in the question of how to break through this. The lack of public understanding
of something you referred to in your speech the importance of investment in people. How do you get that concept across from the economists to the public so that we can start understanding this me my simple translation of it is if you don't make the people productive they'll be a burden on the people. Keeping back economic progress to a tremendous extent you know can you how can you as an economist interpret this in a way that it can become public policy. Well I don't wanna get my. Well I will have to preach it time and time again. You know there are going to be for the nigger rebellion. You had what I saw at the beginning of a modern intellectual capacities when it was recognized that the future of the American people live didn't meet me so you remember that. And a Kennedy was had very clear about that piece last year and had these people to go on it and it was reported to you on some two three days after his death you know. So you had to be further than a rebellion and a I see no other way than the
humble one that you will have to use your possibilities to speak and write. To the people across run difficult today that you cannot rely upon that you have a protest in United protest movement from the poorer you see to the Hitlerian generally the underclass is yes there is a great he internet and of course there is no way I mean that's the reason why the nigger rebellion is a blind gate in a blind alley because I mean they will Namor gap what they are outof the except if they can work together with other poor people in the same way they take a nickel impossible to solve the nigger problem is a nigger problem in a democratic country like America you know what I mean. It's impassive impossible to solve the need to make a nickel. Yes you should take a nickel I mean the housing is not a Negro house if you don't want to have an appetite like in Africa you must solve it for all the poor people the schools not the condition and if you can't get them to keep together it is very difficult to get there well-to-do Americans which obligate the majority
to do something about it I mean they have a private interest you know that they need a glass living in the suburbs. They know it's a fact that their houses are losing value if a nigga moves in. I mean you know when you don't pay the price is not true and you know it's been around and I thought that saw the field and day. I have sometimes said that if that's never going to happen that the dominant upper classes and it's monopolies and climb down from its privileges just because of ideas I mean ideas are tremendously important but they need any pressure from below. And how can you get this pressure below when you have a nice subdividing of course if you know Martin Luther has these ideas. I've talked to him and you know he's clear about this that we are only future is this part of the movement for progressive policies in America he knows that you know I mean it's so difficult to get these poor people to cooperate. Yeah and
then you know these black nationalists. They want us to to to be black and black together you know I mean that's of course an impossible thing because there are only a tenth of the people and they're very very much less than a tenth of all the things which give power and influence. You know we're all documented all you can be a good you know we would not be a good idea that I mean after all the American idea of a society is that you are integrated do something that everybody is equal you know and live together and if you're giving up that then I don't know where in hell these companies doing you know here where you use transit in New York toward the matter of educating people and I'm going to where you literally need educating through this university is the educational John the educator should not restrict himself to just work in a school in the university to the students in the years to really. Technology should go further and go out to the people. I mean I think adult education a broader sense is cut. But of course everything cation when it has been really important has been
something which their poorer classes have supported you realize that. And it's not something which is set up by foundations. You know I mean it's not so it happened in England in Sweden. It's happened because their working class you know have a have a friend organizations for adult education and you have a little of it in there ought to be able workers and you know that you have it's moms. When her low course and you talk about strong tade unity of the main fact about the unity in America is that there will be scarcely a quarter of the workers you know and he's your main fag. We have no idea which is very very seldom. I mean the ordinary middle class American believes that this is a tremendous force almost immune to political force and deadly force supporting it but it's often an epic laws and among the workers and sometimes with vested interest you know these building work is where you have to be relative and put in a lot amounted to get into but you have you know he's really not an underclass when you're in now that's making that right. No I mean it is a mistake I think you should have the courage or
desperation I mean this is a country which needs everyone who can have an influence on people's thinking to go out and turn the country and that is one thing I would end with and that he sees that I am not hopeless about America. America has a background as you well know in Puritan religiosity sometimes that makes you rather difficult to be together with because it's behind that self-righteousness which makes the Who a man you know I mean there's a sort of satisfaction in the Senate when Johnson speaks about the Vietnam War. I know it is a rap industry which makes you who admit you know but it's also a great thing about it and that is that America is prepared for conversions. You have had I mean let me just let me. Point around thing your isolation is up to the middle of the second row and then you go to the other extreme of being interventionists it to an extent which I think is very dangerous for a magazine reputation groupings in the world you know I mean any invention it took that as an example in the people's opinion can change you know what I mean
and I do hope that if there are enough strong enough a label put to it that you can change a mag and get them to understand the simple ideas I'm talking about. But then of course the professors should be prepared to do what all great scholars have done in our great tradition and that is that diluting life to study social problems you know I mean I reckon that should be the better step up from their working table and speak the language of the people you know. Fundamentally these are not difficult things to understand fundamentally it's not difficult to prove to an ordinary educated American that he bragged on his on the everything which you are in America including economic I mean this is not quite the beer the night why he or she said you know Congress and you represent them to vote for for instance a greatly enlarged. Job training right away and
I think you really mean a green person you know everything. Melodies are listings which I'm talking about. I would tell them about these under-employment underemployed and the unemployable in the nigger section the kid I'm in you know everything you are paying for the name in the exam of course this is the challenge to democracy because they will have to give up something of their own advantages you know you must have a sort of solidarity with your nation in order to understand these things. They have a vested interest. They moved to the suburbs. There are better schools and lower taxes. You know that and that is of course a thing which you must get America to accept a situation where the better off we'll have to make sacrifices for the future. Well we have done that in other countries I see no reason why it should not be possible to do a good everywhere. And why should it be possible to do in America is that many more will have to work on it.
Thank you very much Dr. Gounder Mirador one of the world's great economists and sociologists questioning Dr. Mira with me today was always Huxtable of the New York Times and Gina representing McCall's magazine must flow is also author of a book which has just been published by Random House. Cause in a race with time which of course correlates very well with the remarks that Mr. Meridor made how do you react as a fellow reporter to what we just heard from the scientist. Well Chris the problem that we have when we moved from the university or at the social scientist into the public policy area is how do you translate things these things into action and I have in the course of researching and reporting on urban affairs more specifically writing my book series on race with time I thought that eventually you have to get people to identify their own self interest with see what they're going to do.
This may require that a national leader or a local leader tell them why they are affected by the conditions that are either social physical decay. Yes I think that's what Dr. Murray meant when he said the scientists should talk to the people too. Well I think that this is important. I think that the scientists probably could make their greatest impact by talking with the politicians I would say. I would say don't treat them because they're the ones that I feel that the political leader is the one that sets the climate of opinion I would say this is a senator a congressman up to the president. The economists can put things into the realm of ideas and soften the public a little bit. But it's the person who is the elected official who really does the job it's like the whole tenor of this meeting you know the planners were again planners don't have the power to do things they have to persuade the people who do have the
right. So I mean I feel that you know we talk a great we generalize a great deal about educating people but we have to think about who are trying to educate. I must go back specifically to something that struck me very much in the story of New Haven which I thought very carefully that Mayor Lee who was the leader of efforts for urban renewal which was good for people not against people you know got is very apathetic city of New Haven behind him and a really tremendously comprehensive. Urban and human renewal program by initially studying professors at Yale he took with them that the economic effect of the city and he began to understand how this undermined the vitality of the city and he was able to translate his understanding to these very conservative business leaders who through their not having done the thing that the city had rundown because they didn't understand the underlying
forces applied indicated that were at work when he could understand this more abstract thing and put it into concrete human terms that he was able to bring in the business leadership it was necessary to get renewal going in even the power structure or to the citizenry. You know this is the point that he he went to New Haven whatever the so-called power structure was was a rather one but at least he picked those people who are leaders in community and it is a much more important powers those who if they oppose something would make it very difficult to get it through. You didn't necessarily have to have their support to put his ideas in the track and you have to persuade them that they had some stake or that they were adversely affected by the decay of the community and I think that they've been able to bring them along pretty well in their development program by pointing out some of the. The losses to the community in business if you have people who are not productive and unable to hold down jobs and so on so that this is
a long educational process but I think the governmental leaders of our country haven't taken seriously enough. They're leading the people in terms of opinion. Great hope that I see is that there is slowly emerging a metropolitan awareness very very slowly. For instance the areas of mass transportation economic development a few places here and there you get the feeling that people are beginning to understand that simplicity is not an isolated phenomenon from the suburbs when your industry moves into an area they don't look at the particular town or city they look at the total in terms of what facilities in opportunities it offers different housing ranges and so the federal government is insisting upon planning for mass transportation facilities on Metro and so on as these. Now you begin to move in on the social field through decisions about what you can do about transportation and who are you going to carry from where to where. And so
this begins to push the issue we are a very pragmatic kind of people. I don't think as Dr. Marable said we are persuaded by ideals to do so. We can see our common identity then we begin to and I think we learn by doing it. Doing only gets done when you really have effective leadership and of course this is one of the points that Dr. Murray made that we need to create this awareness in the people's language as to why it's important that we go in you know and I think that you know we can have much more creative techniques for education in many area bases such as I think you mentioned briefly or one of the speakers did to use television for instance you know television stations maybe even educational to get to people in their homes to have discussions about issues affecting the Metropole. This is done very effectively in St. Louis and I think much more can be done
along this line to create a common regional consensus about radios we're doing right now very much as a radio. This boom now radio plays and it's great to have flexibility that television doesn't have and a lot less expensive and I think that much can be done specially with a great flexibility of tape recording and I time's up and I'm sorry to say that. Thank you Miss And thank you very much. That was Gene Arlo of McCall's magazine. Mr. Lowe is also author of the book said he is in a race with time a study of the problems of the cities in our country. She joined me and Louise Huxtable at the New York Times in questioning Dr. Carl Gunnar a sociologist and professor at the Institute for International Economics studies in Stockholm Sweden. Dr. Meyer dollar is also world renowned as one of the leading sociologists and economists in the field of rural and urban development problems. He's
written a very searching work on the dilemma of negroes in the United States writing which he discussed on our program today. Dr. Maya Rudolph I was in Washington recently for an international conference on urban planning a conference which was designed to set the tone for city development within the United States and the remarks of Dr. Meyer dial have been the subject of this special edition of the NBER Washington forum a look at urban planning and development within the United States. This program was produced for a national educational radio through the facilities of W am you FM American University Radio in Washington D.C. I nanny our public affairs director Bill Greenwood inviting you to listen again next week for another edition of the NDE our Washington forum our weekly program concerned with the significant issues before us as a nation this is the national educational radio network.
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NER Washington forum
Dr. Gunnar Myrdahl
Producing Organization
WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Dr. Gunnar Myrdal, sociologist, on the fate of cities: urban problems, race relations, civil strife.
Series Description
Discussion series featuring a prominent figure affecting federal government policy.
Public Affairs
Media type
Host: Greenwood, Bill
Producing Organization: WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters, WAMU-FM (Radio station : Washington, D.C.)
Speaker: Myrdal, Gunnar, 1898-1987
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-24-38 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
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Chicago: “NER Washington forum; Dr. Gunnar Myrdahl,” 1967-12-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 29, 2024,
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APA: NER Washington forum; Dr. Gunnar Myrdahl. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from