International -- Readers Report
AUTOMATION'S ASIAN CASUALTIES (int'l edition)
The silent killer driving tens of thousands of people into joblessness in Japan is automation technology ("Asia: Social backlash," Special Report, Aug. 17). When you walk into a local bank, you'll find ATMs that do everything from open a new account and transfer funds among banks to taking deposits in coins. Who needs a bank teller if we can do everything with the ATM?
For the first time in history, it looks like technology is finally making human workers redundant. As Japan is quickly transforming itself into an automated society, its people have to find the areas machines cannot move into.
BangkokReturn to top
DUTY-FREE: WELFARE FOR THE WELL-HEELED (int'l edition)
I was sorry to read your editorial in support of European Union duty-free shops ("A flimsy case against duty-free," Editorials, Aug. 10). These are basically subsidies for the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. In addition, the perk is only available to international travelers, generally an affluent sector that hardly needs discounted prices. Finally, I do not understand why you confuse the battle for lower taxes in Europe (a very worthy cause) with duty-frees. These are completely different issues.
LondonReturn to top
PLEASE EXPORT ALAN GREENSPAN (int'l edition)
The market will recover sharply if and when Alan Greenspan decides that the consolidation he desired and forecast has reached the level he feels is appropriate ("How worried should you be?" Cover Story, Aug. 17). By the way, isn't it time that Euroland has a guru of its own, who would be capable of commanding the same respect as Greenspan, so that the two biggest economies in the world can coordinate and make sure that they are on target for the golden era? Any nominations for the open post of Euro guru?
GenevaReturn to top
HOW ALCATEL PLAYED IT IN JAKARTA (int'l edition)
I am writing to express our concern about the misrepresentation of our company's comments in "Indonesia: From one gang of cronies to another" (International Outlook, July 6). Alcatel as a global company works with the government of the day in every country of our operations. We never take a political stand, nor do we comment on the politics of the country. Yet the article suggested we remain "ultracautious" toward the new government. This is not the case.
The report on the fiber-optic cable factory in Jakarta implied that the factory was closed as a result of the recent political situation. The fact is the factory was not ready for operations because of the prolonged economic crisis, a situation that started as far back as last July. In addition, Jean-Philippe Benoist is the president director of Alcatel Enkomindo, a subsidiary of Alcatel Indonesia.
We have successfully worked with the Indonesian people for more than 25 years. During the current economic situation, we are continuing to work closely with our Indonesian customers and believe in the long-term growth potential of the local telecommunications industry.
Corporate Communications Manager
JakartaReturn to top