International -- Readers Report
IN CHILE, PROSPERITY IS STILL A LONG WAY OFF (int'l edition)
It's about time BUSINESS WEEK published an article about Chile that doesn't focus just on the Chilean macroeconomic miracle. A look only at large cities such as Santiago and Valdivia--the background for "As Chile starts to think green..." (Spotlight on Chile, May 13)-- confirms the popularly held view of this nation as a free-market wonder with few problems.
While no one can deny the formidable strides made in the past 15 years, economic problems obvious to residents have been almost completely overlooked by the international press. Copper mining, fishing (salmon and fishmeal), and logging, which together make up some 70% of the economy, present serious long-term environmental concerns. Dependence on such non-value-adding natural resources and a suspect education system explain why fully one-third of Chileans live in poverty, earning a mere $100 a month. The open economy rightfully wins respect for putting the country on the right path, but the day when all Chileans are within prosperity's reach is still far off.
Akbar S. Sharfi
U.S. Peace Corps
Lota, ChileReturn to top
TO STAVE OFF STARVATION, INVESTMENT IS NEEDED (int'l edition)
"The new economics of food" (Cover Story, May 20) accurately described the world's dwindling food supplies and their skyrocketing costs. That these soaring prices are occurring in wheat and corn, two of the three leading world crops, should concern all those with a moral obligation to develop strategies to feed the world into the next century, protect the economies of the industrialized and developing world, and do both in ways that protect the environment.
The "Green Revolution" saved lives and staved off poverty in the '70s, but its magic wasn't to last forever. Now, we are faced with the same high prices and food scarcity that led to the heyday of agricultural research and the enormous payoff from investing in it. We have today the technology to overcome the food crisis we now face. It must be remembered that the world's population grows by 1 billion people a decade. We need an investment in agriculture now to keep well-founded technology coming through the pipeline to avoid crises in the future.
Norman Borlaug, Ex-Consultant Timothy Reeves, Director General
International Maize & Wheat
Mexico CityReturn to top