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Cutting Oil Subsidies: A Tale Of Two Countries

It's about time Thailand and other Asian nations learned to use oil more efficiently, considering that the asset is essential to economic growth and not produced locally ("Energy costs are draining Asia," Asian Business, Sept. 19). This time, Thailand deserves kudos. Its willingness to eliminate subsidies, in contrast with Indonesia's reluctance, makes a big difference in its competitiveness. In Indonesian President Yudhoyono's defense, he cannot do so even if he realizes that it is the right thing because his countrymen are so prone to "solving" problems with violence.

The price of oil, if I may quote investment guru Jim Rogers, is a function of demand, supply, and terrorism, but companies and nations don't have to be victims.

Athaporn Arayasantiparb


Re "China & India" (Cover Story, Aug. 22/29): The issue in my mind has a predictable outcome: the decline of the dollar and a fall in American incomes to bring the income and trade imbalance into equilibrium. I cannot imagine a situation where a large number of capable Americans are idle while jobs go to China and India -- people still have the option to retrain for higher-tech jobs.

Just as U.S. and Western European incomes and standards of living have come into equilibrium, the same would happen with China and India. The more people are involved in high-tech research, the smaller a payoff each of them is going to receive.

Olawale Ogundana

Lagos, Nigeria

In your Sept. 19 Readers Report regarding "China & India: What you need to know now" (Cover Story, Aug. 22/29), the letter from Satya Prakash posits that a "global dominating trio of Russia, China, and India" -- "Ruchindia" -- is a more likely scenario than one involving India, China, and the U.S. But this neglects the burgeoning economy of Brazil, a nation also characterized by huge land mass and population. This would create a quartet that I call "Braruchindia."

The European Union, with its diverse 300 million-plus population, large geographical area, and common currency, is not likely to sit on the sidelines in this new era of growth. "Eubraruchindia" will be a force to reckon with. Australia has been dubbed the perfect location for companies looking to establish operations in the Pacific Rim. No prognostication can be complete without a thorough understanding of "Eubraruchindiastralia."

Macroeconomists have forecast the comeback of Japan, finally emerging from years of recession and decline -- and now deeply intertwined in a global "Eubraruchindiastraliapan." The U.S., foreseeing the advantages of being a part of this megamarket, would likely join, creating "Eubraruchindiastraliapanusa."

Africa is "the next big thing." Reliable news sources report that people are on the move, from Accra to Cairo to Khartoum, from Johannesburg to Kampala and beyond. The economic power of a "Eubraruchindiastraliapanusafrica" will be unmatched. It is the economic model most likely to dominate the next century.

Yashdhar Vyas

Jersey City, N.J.

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