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Con Artist Come Ons Are A Dime A Dozen

Readers Report


Your article "Stinging Small Business" (Special Report, Feb. 12) is frighteningly accurate. My company is at the end of a two-year startup phase and seeks financing to introduce environmentally friendly disposable products. Our technology is unique and holds great promise, yet finding satisfactory investors is our greatest hurdle. In six months of seeking next-phase funding, we have come across each of the tricks of the con artists that are described in the story. Fortunately, we have resisted the temptations.

Larry C. Shattles

Envirofilm Technology Inc.

AtlantaReturn to top


Your editorial "Asia: Closed markets hurt growth" (Feb. 12) contains the following remark: "Actually, the Mexican crisis was caused by secret government printing of pesos...." Unfortunately, your assertion is both untrue and slanderous. During 1994, figures on money supply were published every month, as they had been for many years. It can also be pointed out that the decline in inflation in 1994, to 7.1%--the lowest rate since 1972--and the very high level of real interest rates that prevailed throughout the year, starting in late March, hardly attest to a lax monetary policy.

Eduardo Turrent

Press Officer

Banco de Mexico

Mexico CityReturn to top


In your ill-informed and superficial cheap shot "Nielsen Schmielsen" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Feb. 12), you trod a tiresome old rut: that Nielsen is a monopolist and bully. More often, it's the high-ticket client who is the bully. As a former employee of a competitor (Arbitron), I know firsthand that the TV survey business is enormous in scope and complexity; occasionally, something will go wrong. That is no indictment. Few market researchers are called upon by their clientele to produce daily, massive amounts of data at the levels of accuracy that the TV industry demands--and get it right almost all the time, as Nielsen does.

Nielsen--whose data I have used on a daily basis the past 15 years--may be big and slow, but it is well-meaning and honest. They certainly did not run Arbitron out of the TV measurement business with predatory practices, as your article implies. Arbitron struggled for years to make their television division profitable. A key reason they closed it down relates to the merger excesses of the '80s: Driven to slash costs, many station clients cut back to one rating service instead of two, and not enough chose Arbitron. Finally, Arbitron did not "quit the TV market after three years." I have a copy of their first rating book--dated May 11-18, 1949.

John Fuller

Alexandria, Va.Return to top


Regarding your item "Does welfare act as a magnet?" (Economic Trends, Feb. 12), there appears to be a major flaw in at least one premise in the research of Messrs. Levine and Zimmerman of the National Bureau of Economic Research: that "single men, childless women, and married couples" are ineligible for welfare. While this may certainly be true with Aid to Families with Dependent Children, that is by no means the only form of largesse foolishly extended by state governments and shamelessly abused by interstate indolents and itinerants. California, whose General Assistance program is one of the most profligate providers of such gratuitous relief, pays anyone who shows up in the Golden State to claim his, her, or their unjust reward. In San Francisco, the monthly benefits are about $450 per person--tax-free and precious few questions asked, except for the now ubiquitous "Spare change?"

G. Michael German

San FranciscoReturn to top

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