International -- Readers Report
FIRST, UNDERSTAND THE CULTURE, THEN MARKET (int'l edition)
Even though the title and cover illustration of your story "Investing in India" (Cover Story, Aug. 11) are sure to scare away any prospective investor in India, the report seems to have reasonably sized up the subcontinent. As one reads on, it becomes clear that the woes of leading companies like Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola Co. are not products of corrupt Indian bureaucracy nor bumpy politics but of a basic misunderstanding by marketers of the culture and its impact on consumer behavior. Indian consumers are, after all, no more finicky than their counterparts around the globe. You should be pointing your fingers at the marketers, not at Indian consumers.
Caracas, VenezuelaReturn to top
BOARDROOMS: WHERE WEALTH REALLY SURGED (int'l edition)
Re "Where wealth surged in the '90s" (Economic Trends, Aug. 18-25): Before our eyes, the boardrooms of the world are ripping off the productivity that managers, technicians, and ordinary workers are producing. Every improvement is hijacked by boards to pay themselves obscene salaries and bonuses, downsize the workforce, and shortchange shareholders. These robbers of modern industry give nothing to society. When they have impoverished society, there will be no one left to buy the goods they can't produce.
Schiller International University
Heidelberg, GermanyReturn to top
MORE ON CHILE'S TROUBLED HISTORY (int'l edition)
Let me add a footnote to the letters of Ronald G. Woodbury and Mario Marcel, both of whom have challenged your story "Welfare doesn't have to be habit-forming--just look at Chile" (Economic Viewpoint, July 28). On the political and social scene, the freely elected government of Salvador Allende was crushed by the forces of Augusto Pinochet, not necessarily disapproved by U.S. President Richard Nixon. Allende forces were dispatched, while Allende committed "suicide" in the presidential palace. Thousands of Chileans were tortured, killed, or "disappeared." Even today in the democracy of Chile, the retired dictator Pinochet has more than a semblance of control over the military, their predecessors having taken part in the massacre.
Bert J. Snelgrove
OntarioReturn to top
HOW GLOBAL DOLLAR DEMAND FUELS THE U.S. ECONOMY (int'l edition)
Re "Why this recovery won't fall off the track soon" (Economic Viewpoint, Aug. 11): Rudi Dornbusch says the U.S. economy is enjoying high employment and low inflation, which traditionally were considered mutually exclusive. But I think he omitted a major factor: the global demand for the U.S. dollar, which is too high because of the international market for U.S. multinationals. The dollar is pumped into North American Free Trade Agreement countries and the rest of the world, where it is in high demand to import U.S. products and services.
This demand is created because of regional and global economic groupings, which minimize tariff and nontariff barriers. Of course, one cannot ignore the contribution of export-oriented economic policies and the strategic advantage of multinationals such as size, technology, entrepreneurial skills, global investment and marketing, and company secrets.
Abebe K. Workneh
Nairobi, KenyaReturn to top