I was elated to pick up the July 30 BusinessWeek with "Birth of a cancer drug" on the cover. Alas, while there was great promise there, the light and hope this article brought was darkened by an ugly and disheartening article on "Racism in the workplace" (American News). I spent a number of years working in the U.S. during the '90s and came to love and admire American culture, which to my mind was potently black if you consider jazz and rock 'n' roll. To read that after so many generations of black Americans have grown up side by side with their white brethren, there is still the hatred, ignorance, and ugliness of racism is unconscionable. What is it going to take to make people realize that so long as they foster hatred and incite persecution, their lives will be just as blighted as the ones they seek to torment?
Double Bay, Australia Robert Kuttner would have us believe that the free market is equivalent to anarchy, and that there is no difference between a "regulated" economy and one in which property rights are properly defined and protected ("America needs new regulations for the New Economy," Economic Viewpoint, July 30). His attack on patent protection in the pharmaceutical industry is ironic, given the cover story in the same issue ("Birth of a cancer drug") that reveals that Dr. John Mendelsohn's drug was considered so radical he couldn't get U.S. government funding. In Kuttner's brave new world, bureaucrats would ensure that the greatest minds among us are enslaved to the goal of delivering "broad social benefits" while having no rights to the property they create.
Johannesburg, South Africa In a series of three short articles, "Brave new factory," "When machines chat," and "Even the supervisor is expendable" (Industrial Management, July 23 North American edition and www.businessweek.com) the discussion centers on new technologies that will eventually reduce the need for factory workers to an absolute bare minimum.
If this "efficiency" is taken to its limits, we will need perhaps 5% of the current manufacturing workforce to run our factories. Where will the rest go? Who will buy these factories' output? What will eventually happen to our economy's major "driver," consumer spending? I don't advocate returning to the dark ages of manufacturing, but we do need to think seriously about how far we should go in the name of efficiency.
Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany The International Olympic Committee has provided Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji with an international justification for what they are doing under a completely undemocratic system ("For China's economic reformers, the 2008 Olympics are gold," International Outlook, July 30). One consolation: Jiang, Zhu & Co. will not cause serious international trouble until at least 2008, unless Taiwan overplays its hand in its push for independence. What about after 2008? I rather prefer not to see.