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Imagine There's No Opec (Int'l Edition)

International -- Readers Report

IMAGINE THERE'S NO OPEC (int'l edition)

Your article "A princely power struggle could shake the House of Saud" (International Outlook, Dec. 25) states that Saudi Arabia "holds sway over more than 25% of the planet's oil reserves." Another BUSINESS WEEK article, "Congratulations--You struck sand" (Science & Technology, Dec. 18) states that "Alberta's oil sands contain up to a third of the world's known petroleum resources, far more than in Venezuela and elsewhere." This new math just does not add up.

Kidding aside, just imagine the repercussions for the U.S. when Alberta, a close neighbor, and Venezuela, a stable, longtime friend of the U.S., control the oil industry through their huge reserves. Saudi Arabia will be relegated to becoming a bit player--so it won't be too important if the Islamic fundamentalists take it over. OPEC will be powerless as an oil cartel. One of your futurologists should write about this.

Denny Schlesinger


Editor's note: The estimate of Saudi Arabia's share of world oil reserves did not include such synthetic fuels as oil sands and oil shale.Return to top


I think [Scott Paper Co. CEO Albert J.] Dunlap and his gang--along with those who hired them to implement what I describe as an uncourageous strategy--are the unacceptable face of capitalism ("The Shredder," Cover Story, Jan. 15).

Stephen Fox

Aylesford, EnglandReturn to top


Gary Becker's column "Religions thrive in a free market, too" (Economic Viewpoint, Jan. 15) has taken marketing precepts--that Christianity is just another product competing for customer loyalty--and imposed them where they do not fit. As marketing manager for an Australian mining company, I buy into a number of fundamental concepts highlighted by Becker--but for the sale of commodities and consumer goods, not a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. This comparison between the marketing of commodities and true religion is unhelpful and demonstrates an ignorance of Christianity's claims.

Western culture assumes that success equates to truth and virtue. But Christianity is in the business of truth, not profit. Turning Christianity into yet another marketer's product is to create a God for our satisfaction, not because He is but because marketing has told us that He is.

But the the gospel does not promise customer satisfaction. On the contrary, it offers the prospect of being scorned, beaten, and misunderstood--but all the time with a God who walks through the dark valleys of life with us. Such a God will only disappoint the person who has been taught that he is a sovereign consumer entitled to satisfaction.

Ian Buchanan

Guildford, EnglandReturn to top

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