International -- Readers Report
EDUCATED INVESTORS SHOULD GANG UP ON SWINDLERS (int'l edition)
It was a surprise to read your article about fraud ("The war on sleaze heats up," European Business, Apr. 21). Between 1993 and 1995, we had several incidents in India where fictitious initial public offerings were offered at exorbitant prices to swindle money out of gullible investors. All this was done hand in glove with government authorities, who boast of being so-called regulatory bodies but are actually corrupt moneymakers. Nearly $5 billion to $6 billion was taken by shady promoters.
I hope that a universal effort is made to stop this fleecing of investors and that such scandals will become impossible, not merely because of regulations but because we have educated investors.
Ajay M. Mehta
BombayReturn to top
FREE TRADE: JOB FREEDOM OFFSETS ANY INSTABILITY (int'l edition)
Initially, Robert Kuttner's essay reviewing Dani Rodrik's book impressed me enough to consider that he had scored a point ("Owning up to the costs of free trade," Economic Viewpoint, Apr. 28). But I quickly changed my mind. Kuttner apparently believes in the myth of America's "good old days" when jobs were infinitely stable, plentiful, and protected by some social compact between business and labor. It's a beautiful memory of a time that never existed, but it has been forced into the American psyche by being repeated in articles from writers like Kuttner.
The myth just didn't exist in America, and it never existed in the developing nations, where freer trade has meant prosperity--as in Japan, Malaysia, and Russia. What Kuttner chooses to ignore is telling: Even though American jobs are less stable these days, it is not at all certain that corporate downsizing is the reason.
White-collar workers, a majority of the labor force here in the States, are constantly moving on to newer, better opportunities. Is that instability or freedom? Even if jobs are less stable, at least they are plentiful.
The U.S. has very low unemployment following enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other free-trade initiatives. Wages have not been harmed by free trade, nor will they be. While acknowledging Kuttner's concerns, I hope we can put them in perspective. At least those "over-simplified" pro-trade arguments have a point that the complex welfare state arguments never did: They're correct.
Timothy J. Kane
San DiegoReturn to top
TIGER, BURNING BRIGHT THE WORLD OVER (int'l edition)
I just read your article describing Tiger Woods as a "beacon of possibility," provided he does not become corrupted by his extraordinary success ("Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright," Editorials, Apr. 28). I believe you have captured succinctly and beautifully the hope of millions of Americans. I, for one, could not agree with you more.
San Francisco, Calif.
I do not see Tiger Woods as an African-American, an Asian-American, or any other hyphenated person. I see him as an individual worthy of our admiration, not because of his race but because of his incredible talents as a golfer and as a person.
Instead of dwelling on his race, we should celebrate what is most important about this young man: his tremendous personal gifts, his maturity, and his dignity. That kind of attitude will go further toward breaking down the artificial barriers among us than any amount of hype regarding the color of his skin.
James G. Andersen
Wilton, Conn.Return to top