International -- Readers Report
MORE ON THOSE PLATINUM PARACHUTES (Int'l Edition)
Discounting the absence of physical violence, today's executive-suite gang exhibits morals no different from those of Colombia's drug lords or Italy's Mafia dons ("Where parting is such a sweet deal," American News, Mar. 31). Compared with this crew, Astra's Lars Bildman is an amateur. Don't these guys realize, or care, that they're selling capitalist democracy down the river, that they're planting the seeds for the resurrection of communism? Why do they think they deserve all that money? If the answer is because they've done well for their shareholders, I say: Yes, but for the wrong ones, the speculators. For the survival of capitalist democracy, only the long-range investor counts.
Hanns J. Maier
Ubatuba, BrazilReturn to top
IS THERE A CATCH IN WEB TV? (Int'l Edition)
When I read "Hello, couch potatoes" (Information Processing, Mar. 24), I was curious, as a would-be buyer of a WebTV device, whether I had the same reason for not buying the device that your article described--namely, that once you buy it, you can use only WebTV as your Internet access provider. I have to pay money to WebTV to be its captive customer. The Net is about choice. If [founder] Steve Perlman refuses to recognize this, then he is every bit as hard-headed as he has been described, and WebTV is doomed to die.
Chia Yi, TaiwanReturn to top
A DIFFERENT LIGHT ON SOUTH AFRICA (Int'l Edition)
In your article "`Nobody wants to stay in a world of promises"' (Africa, Mar. 17), your reporter failed to describe what investors need to know: that tax collection is steadily improving, that the African National Congress government is rapidly bringing down government debt, and that it brought inflation down to single digits after more than 20 years of double-digit increases. Also, in spite of fiscal conservatism, the government is delivering 3%-plus growth, compulsory schooling for all, and free health services for the poor.
Moreover, private-sector investment in South Africa is at its highest level in decades. Housing delivery is higher than ever before. Private investment is skyrocketing. And Asian investors have recognized the potential of southern Africa, especially Mozambique.
It is heartening that none of your reporter's gloomy predictions were accurate, but it is a reflection of a lack of depth of understanding.
PretoriaReturn to top
ENRON'S INDIAN REINCARNATION (Int'l Edition)
The interview with Rebecca P. Mark of Enron Corp. was interesting ("`You have to be pushy and aggressive,"' Asian Business, Feb. 24). One should appreciate the "reincarnation deal" and "negotiation skills" of Rebecca Mark when dealing with Hindu nationalists on Enron's power project in India. She proved that women can conduct very effective negotiations in a global market, especially in a bureaucratic country. She is definitely a role model for many U.S. companies that are trying to penetrate the global markets.
As she pointed out, the customs inspectors are the first ones we meet once we land in an Indian airport. They not only interfere with business travelers and business customers, they also suck the blood of ordinary citizens. Is it ethical to bias the customs inspectors with some sort of bribe?
I understand that the Indian government has accepted free-market theory, but why can't it impose severe restrictions on customs inspectors? Is it really encouraging them to take unofficial and undocumented payments, as most of the politicians are doing? I am sure we will hear more about s0uch events with other global company executives.
BostonReturn to top