Is The Imf At Fault Or Its Clients?

Regarding the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings and accompanying protests ("Backlash: Behind the anxiety over globalization," Cover Story, Apr. 24): It seems to me that some of the protests are misdirected. While I agree that these organizations need reform in their approach to development issues, a real problem in achieving any progress is the unwillingness of leaders in most recipient countries to address fundamental reform in their own societies. These include high taxation levels, high government wages, the lack of fair business and marketing regulations, etc. No amount of benign donor assistance will change these basic social and economic issues.

Robert W. Resseguie

Arlington, Va.

The Apr. 24 cover story is immensely one-sided. Granted, the majority of your readers live in the U.S., but wouldn't they want to know about comparable workers in Mexico and other countries? Myself and several fellow divinity students visited the border region in Texas and northern Mexico over spring break. We toured the grounds of factories owned by Seagate, Converse, General Electric, and others. Yes, jobs have been created, but the plants employ people at wages that cannot sustain life as it would be defined by U.S. citizens.

Each family we visited lived in a hut with walls built from forklift pallets and sealed with sheets and garbage bags. The floors were mud and the one bed held the parents and their children. Children were scouring a nearby dump for food and items to sell on the street. NAFTA has passed the test of business interests but not human or environmental rights.

Peter Jones

Brite Divinity School

Fort Worth, Tex.

I read with dismay your editorial "What's behind the global backlash?" (Editorials, Apr. 24). You describe opponents of globalization as technophobes for whom "science and innovation are threats, not solutions." The misuse of technology is not a movement of reactionary Luddites--the concern exists for many such as myself with technical backgrounds who recognize technology's ability to improve our lives. Yet, 21st-century technologies such as genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics are so powerful that they can spawn whole new classes of abuses. We must approach technology with cautious critical judgment.

Rafael Reyes

San Francisco, Calif.

I am dismayed that while you report being "startled" by the figures revealed by the Business Week poll on globalization, you appear unable to acknowledge the breadth of such backlash sentiment. You point out that the environment is a high priority among the young, students, and high-tech workers. I think we can include nonstudents, workers in the Old Economy, and people of all ages. Environmental issues are here to stay as a top priority.

John Kershner

Merry Point, Va.

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