International -- Readers Report
WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS DEMAND (int'l edition)
You could not be more right in your editorial ("Needed: A new deal on global debt," Sept. 7). The global liquidity squeeze is strangling growth and economies alike. The International Monetary Fund policy of fiscal and monetary contraction is sending the world into a deflationary spiral.
Demand should be restored, and in order to do that we need expansionary measures right now. Of course, the world must work toward free trade, globalization, and macroeconomic stability, but that does not mean choking nations to death.
We ought to continue on the road toward world growth, global trade, and finance, but this is where a regulatory entity with real authority comes in. Such an organization would work with central banks, the IMF, and the World Bank, providing financial help when needed in the form of loans. The world needs to act without delay. Global stability is at stake.
Anzoategui, VenezuelaReturn to top
HOW INDIA'S CITIES CAN STAVE OFF DISASTER (int'l edition)
The decay and decline of Bombay is symptomatic of life in India in general ("Bombay has spun out of control," Asian Business, Oct. 5). The political process since independence has systematically eroded the quality of political leadership at both the state and national level. Given the current political milieu, there is very little hope for quality leadership for years to come.
The conditions in Bombay represent the extent of rot that the political process in India has created for its people. While such cities as Bangalore and Hyderabad are being held out as rays of hope, this is nothing but media hype. The conditions of civic amenities and infrastructure in these cities are as bad as, or even worse than, Bombay. In fact, it is only a matter of time before these cities, too, go the way of Bombay.
Unless the quality of the political process and leadership change, there is little hope for Indian cities. For this to happen, the political process in India must ruthlessly remove criminal elements from the political system.
SingaporeReturn to top
WHY THE TUNE-OUT IN TOYLAND? (int'l edition)
Manufacturers, retailers, and advertisers bombard children with products and messages that encourage them to be grown-up, then "fear that kids are junking their toys sooner these days..." ("The pall over toyland," American News, Oct. 5). You can't have it both ways. Maybe it's time for a shakeout.
Cardington, OhioReturn to top
THE DOWNSIDE OF ONE GREAT BIG ECONOMY (int'l edition)
In my opinion, the cardinal lesson "from the brink" ("Lessons from the brink," Editorials, Sept. 21) should be that it is time to reverse the process of globalization, which is supplanting diverse national economies with a single global economy. That would be the economic equivalent of eliminating "genetic diversity" in the environment. In the end, we would be left with a global economic "monoculture." Unfortunately, a monoculture can be just as inferior and harmful economically as it can be environmentally.
The booming U.S. economy amid a global recession illustrates the point. Despite all its free-trade braggadocio, the U.S. imports only 12% of gross domestic product. We in Canada import 29%, mostly manufactured goods we could easily make ourselves. Not surprisingly, our unemployment rate is significantly higher and the GDP per capita is significantly lower than in the U.S.
National governments are, of course, still responsible for the economic well-being of their countries. In the past, the national governments of developed countries could use import tariffs to ensure that enough private capital stayed home to maintain employment and living standards. Global free trade is stripping those governments of the tools with which they could induce capital to behave in the national interest.
Ironically, global free trade is an idea whose time is passing. Science and technology have been increasing productivity exponentially. The resulting steady decline in production breakeven points should keep even smaller national economies viable.
Joseph Z. Bako
VancouverReturn to top