International -- Readers Report
IBM'S HERITAGE OF PATERNALISM
Treating your employees right and lifetime employment are not new ideas ("Writing a new social contract," Cover Story, Mar. 11). Thomas Watson Sr. instituted those policies at IBM during the Great Depression, and they were in force until the last of the Watsons was replaced with "professional" but clueless CEOs. IBM was a great school--I graduated in 1965. Let's hope Lou Gerstner revives the spirit of Watson!
CaracasReturn to top
GETTING AHEAD IN AMERICA: IT'S RIGGED FOR THE RICH
Regarding Gary Becker's view in "Human capital: One investment where America is way ahead" (Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 11), the problem with the American educational system is that it favors the affluent and is disadvantageous to the intelligent son or daughter of Joe Six-pack. Other nations such as Germany prefer to help finance anyone intelligent enough to master a higher education, regardless of social or financial status. Intelligent human capital is too important to restrict its development to the rich.
Naila, GermanyReturn to top
JAPANESE TRADE IS TURNING AWAY FROM THE U.S.
Regarding the review of Lester Thurow's The Future of Capitalism, it may not be so difficult to limit Japanese imports these days--because Japan's economic center of gravity in foreign trade has for the first time shifted from the U.S. to Southeast Asia, including mainland China ("Is capitalism headed for a new dark age?" Books, Mar. 11). This tendency is likely to continue, which will slowly abate the trade friction.
TokyoReturn to top
HOW FAR DOES SALINAS FALL SHORT?
The article by Paul Craig Roberts contains personal value judgments tinted with a conservative ideology that, in the case of Mexico, cannot stand the proof of facts ("Mexico: Don't blame Salinas for Zedillo's mistakes," Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 4).
I agree that the political system of Mexico urgently needs reform, especially in its electoral process and in the proper planning, management, and auditing of public expenditures. But these shortcomings were not remedied by the Salinas regime. On the contrary, the presidential authoritarian regime was never before so arbitrary or so contrary to the public interest--as is shown in the privatization of public property, which created a handful of Mexican billionaires.
I think that very few Mexicans would agree with Mr. Roberts' analysis, even though there might be some foreigners who are still enticed by Salinas' fantasy world.
Ifigenia Martinez Hernandez
Mexico CityReturn to top