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America the Beautiful… Is Everybody’s Job It’s the job of every family that spreads a picnic on a roadside table. It’s the job of every boatman who cruises the lakes and waterways. Every driver, every walker, every flier. That’s why our Association throws its wholehearted support each year into the Keep America Beautiful campaign. Lovely country we have here. Let’s keep it that way. LUNITED STATES BREWERS ASSOCIATION, INC. 905 International Life Bldg., Austin, Texas 78701 the boom-time to absorb their energies as hiring degenerated into a race involving corporate prestige. Many geologists newly hired at handsome salaries looked for things to do once they had joined their company, and the company often had to prohibit them from revealing their starting salaries to the older hands. The excess human energy, frustrated in its avowed professional and economic objectives, found other outlets. For those who stayed with the companies, this became the era of decentralization, semi-autonomous district offices in remote locations, and internal empire building of every imaginable kind. Some others waited for the day when they could quit with pirated information of an exceptionally good company oil prospect, and many did. For the relatively few who had taken up the geological sciences as professions rather than as mere jobs, professional standards and ethics fell alarmingly, and for them, the era grotesquely conformed to Parrington’s observation that in America the sciences are merely the drab and slattern of industry. In early 1956 the president of the A.A.P.G. proposed, at a meeting which I 10 The Texas Observer attended, that what the Association needed to do was to promote more research. This address stung me exceedingly, and in a letter to him I suggested he was wrong, that the A.A.P.G. needed most of all to face up to the problems of its members as individual, professional people. This and the next year my concern received a polite hearing from two successive regimes of the A.A.P.G. “My point of view,” I wrote the president of the A.A.P.G., “is that the Association is people and that its proper concern for the future is what it can do for its members. . . . It is without influence in aiding them to maintain their self-respect or the ethical standards which the Association itself infrequently preaches. . . . many managements in our industry feel no responsibility whatever for the professional people they hire once they are signed up. It is always: Will we be getting enough geologists to replace them in the future?’ . . . petroleum geologists are commonly re. garded as expendable . . . the philosophy of depletable capital has been carried over from the tax sheets to human beings . the remedy lies in a strong professional organization entirely outside the jurisdic tion or influence of employers.” This was a sanguine hope to address to the president of the Association, 80% of whose members worked for oil companies and who was himself an employee of the Standard Oil Company The initial reaction was to invite me to join some combut when I persisted, I received a more definitive response, which was that the A.A.P.G. executive committee had decided that “. . . it is not the place of the Association to even suggest to companies how they are to run their business or what their managers should or should not do.” That was clear enough. I dropped out of the A.A.P.G. and have remained outside ever since. But my naive efforts for reform also taught me another lesson of an unexpected kind. One of my closest friends, a fellow geologist in Standardoil, was well informed of my correspondencewhich, in fact, I made no effort to hide from anyone and to an executive to whom he looked for promotion, privately denounced me as a union organizer. The executive made the most of it. BY THE TIME I became a consultant in 1959, conditions had altered drastically. Following the Suez crisis of late 1956, which had cut off the supply of _Near East oil to Europe, the U.S. domestic oil industry had stepped up production vastly to meet the need. When conditions in the eastern Mediterranean quickly became normal, our domestic oil industry found itself very long in production. Drastic curtailments swiftly followed in every category of expenditurefor oil company managements, strangely enough, seem never to learn enough from all the political and economic crises which are part of their special history. A steep decline in domestic oil activity commenced in 1957 and has continued ever since, more recently under the additional pressure of huge new fields found in Algeria, Libya, and Nigeria. Then the multiple centers of empire within each company collapsed; offices once again were centralized, professional staffs slashed wholesale, and merger followed merger. In Midland, which has the second largest concentration of geologists after Houston, an estimated 300 professional people were turned out into the streets, as compared with retained staffs aggregating 1,000. In 1961 Gulf Oil fired 90 geologists in one swoop in the Denver area alone. These people, who had nowhere else to go, became “consultants” in spite of themselves at the very time when their opportunities were shrinking most rapidly, for the independent producers to whom consultants look for opportunity primarily dwindled from 47,-411 in 1956 to 11,700 in 1964a decline of more than 75%. In effect the major oil companies compensated for their own error of overstaffing by ruthlessly dumping the human surplus upon the dwindling independent segment of the industry. Throughout this alteration, Parrington remained an accurate observer and prophet on the relationship between American science and industry. Student enrollment fell off sharply in the earth science de