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Handicapping India's Chances In The Global Sweepstakes

Oh, come on! It is time for Cricket World Cup, and the only thing on my mind and the minds of the other 1 billion-plus Indians is to see India win, or at least beat Pakistan. Nonetheless, "The trouble with India" (Cover Story, Mar. 19) points out some of the harsh realities of India among many other good things that India and Indians possess.

Being an Indian myself, I can say that if there is one word that best describes the Indian way of living it is "improvisation." It is through this process that we circumvent all the pains caused by the corruption at the highest level of Indian bureaucracy. I was in India last year, and can attest that the future of India lies in the hands of young Indians who are willing to stand up for themselves and freedom, shun corruption and other maladies, and rise up to create and assimilate opportunities on the basis of their strong intellectual capital.

Making comparisons to China is a fair game. But here is my point: Despite the fancy roads, skyscrapers, and wealth, if a citizen does not have the right to stand up for his views and rights without the intervention of the People's Republic of China, what kind of life is that?

Srinivas Balla

Arlington, Va.

"The trouble with India" featured a chart showing how India stacks up against the U.S. and China. One factor you could have compared is the number of years each has spent as a free country.

When India gained freedom from British rule 60 years ago, it used to import even the smallest things, like nails. Now it makes its own supercomputers and satellite launch vehicles. I am confident that India will soon overcome the issues of transportation, poverty, and hunger that it is facing. I would like to see a cover story comparing India's achievements vs. those of other major powers just 60 years after earning their freedom.

Lakhbir Singh

Herndon, Va.

Capitalism works well in societies where there is the possibility of upward mobility and individuals at every station of life have hope for a better tomorrow. China faces many of the same problems as India, but China, unlike India, can draw from and build on cultural traditions that include egalitarian ideals and merit-based opportunity. I'm confident that I'll see cars manufactured in Beijing tooling around San Francisco years before I see one from Delhi.

Mark S. Miller

Richmond, Calif.

When I returned to India after a 10-year absence, it was truly a revelation. Cell phones, pagers, computers, and all manner of electronic gadgets seemed to be everywhere. Despite a sea of abject poverty surrounding islands of tremendous wealth, a newfound confidence and a sense of hope were palpable among young people everywhere.

However, until the system is transformed into one of a strict meritocracy, and until the culture within the government changes from one where obstructionist policies translate into larger bribes, India's infrastructure will continue to decay and the country will be relegated to playing second fiddle to China. Then, after 60 years of independence, India could not blame the British for all her misfortunes, only herself.

Arun K. Gadre


As a young, middle-class Indian, I am confident in my abilities, as well as those of my fellow young Indians, to change the current situation. India is in a position where the entire world may love us or hate us, but cannot ignore us.

I am not being ambitious when I say that although we may not be on top of our game at present, we will be in the next five to six years.

Manu Sharma

Manager, IBM India Ltd.


The criticisms of Jack and Suzy Welch's perspective on global warming ("The Welches need to face facts about global warming," Readers Report, Mar. 19) are, in my opinion, unjustified. Welch's "Pascal's Wager" analogy, coming from a top business guru, is clearly a green light for American industry to "get moving." Similarly, we should, for our children's sake, "err on the side of caution." The Welches simply add: "There's no reason you can't profit from it at the same time."

I hope the naysayers of the world can now join hands with others of like mind to discover innovative solutions to the great challenge that lies ahead.

James Eggert

Professor Emeritus

University of Wisconsin at Stout

Colfax, Wis.

It's important to base public policy on reason and not on "sky is falling" hype. To the extent that sides are chosen and issues are politicized, where are the losers? What we know to date about the results of the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change is fragmentary and not the opinion of "hundreds of scientists." Rather, it is the work of a few individuals: scientists, bureaucrats, and politicians publishing the equivalent of an executive summary.

Let's recognize the multidimensional nature of the issues in this sector and resist the temptation to embrace simplistic solutions to complicated problems.

Richard Fellenberg

Mashpee, Mass.

For every subprime loan in foreclosure, there was a lawyer at the table evidently not explaining the terms to the client ("Who will get shredded?" and "Under the fed's hammer," News & Insights, Mar. 19).

Mortgage brokers and banks make more money on subprime loans than with prime mortgages; transaction fees are higher, points are higher, application fees, processing fees, and underwriting fees are all higher. Everyone in the deal makes extra money on the transaction but the lawyer. There is more money to go around, paid for by the poorest among us—those who are excited about buying a house but with no experience and knowledge of what the fees should look like.

For every interview I read with a borrower whose loan has been reset and is having a hard time making the payments or is in foreclosure, I say, where was your lawyer? As an independent adviser with no skin in the deal except a modest fee, I ask, what was his advice? Did he explain the loan's terms and the risks? Did he review the pre-approval, the good faith estimate, and the commitment? Did he explain all of the closing costs, fees, and charges, and advise his client about the mortgage market, not just rates but terms and costs? If so, then, let the buyer (and bank) beware.

Martin Novar

New York

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