International -- Readers Report
MORE COVERAGE OF AFRICA, PLEASE (int'l edition)
I am a regular reader of BUSINESS WEEK, and I appreciate your treatment of business news and company strategies. Your country coverage of the Americas, Europe, and Asia is very good. I would like to say the same for your coverage of Africa, but I cannot.
Your Africa is South Africa, and only bad news seems to come from there. Take "Cry, the crime-ridden country" (Letter from South Africa, Oct. 20). It tells only of grief. In my considered opinion, your correspondents may not be capable of developing a positive view of Africa. News organizations have so conditioned the majority of Westerners about the great magnitude of the problems of Africa that Westerners lose in the process. Recently, when I was negotiating for some merchandise from the U.S., the seller pointedly asked me how I was going to get the goods to Bungoma, Kenya, without roads. This really annoyed me, because in fact the 925 km from Mombasa to Bungoma is spanned by a good road.
I would like to see better coverage of African companies, their performance, their leaders, their failures, and their successes.
David Fredrick Amakobe
Amakobe Investment Co.
Bungoma, KenyaReturn to top
LUKEWARM ALLIES IN THE GLOBAL-WARMING CRUSADE (int'l edition)
It's amusing to see BUSINESS WEEK calling for government-mandated mileage hurdles rather than letting the market regulate itself. It is wrong to beat up the Big Three car makers for offering the gas-guzzlers that the market wants. Even if vehicles were to use less fuel, the human mind has a limitless capacity to devise machines to convert fossil fuels into noise and pollute the atmosphere--leaf blowers, jet skis, etc.
The current U.S. price of gasoline does not begin to cover the real costs when one includes acid rain, smog, and respiratory illness, among other consequences of gasoline use. Industry and the press should admit they have a responsibility to make the earth livable for future generations and start to do something now.
Exciting, small, fuel-efficient cars--as Ford's Ka and Mercedes' A-Class have demonstrated--can be built outside Asia and sold at a profit, as long as the price at the pump makes fuel efficiency a concern. Paul Craig Roberts' crocodile tears about the poor ("Clinton's energy tax: Now that's a scorched-earth policy," Economic Viewpoint, Oct. 27) may fool some people into thinking that cheap gasoline is somehow socially friendly. But cheap gas will really make the poor big losers: They will lose when changes in climate destroy their crops and their homes. And America's urban poor lose every day, when the middle class drives back to the suburbs so as not to be bothered with the problems of the inner cities.
Edward B. Robertson
Rosrath, GermanyReturn to top
WHY THE FRENCH CLING TO MINITEL (int'l edition)
Your article on France's attitude toward the Internet provided an unfair comparison of the Internet and the Minitel ("Aux armes, netoyens," European Business, Sept. 29). Getting on the Internet will cost only as much as a local call. Thus, the state-owned telephone service will lose the huge revenues it has been earning from Minitel. That is one good reason for its reluctance to develop and install the Internet broadly. There is only one phone company in France, and it sets the standards.
In any case, Minitel is not competitive with the Web. A click on the Web can send you light-years away to other Web servers. Hyperlinks don't exist in Minitel land.
Central, S.C.Return to top