International -- Readers Report
CRACKING DOWN ON CHOP STOCKS (int'l edition)
I read "Investors beware: Chop stocks are on the rise" (Finance, Dec. 15) with close attention and fear. It is surprising that so many institutions participate in these schemes. A legal variation of this theme is carried out by brokers who constantly promote stocks of companies they are doing business with. More to the point, they may not even put a penny into these stocks themselves, or they may sell them at the earliest sign of trouble, pushing them on unsuspecting customers.
Your article about the chop-stock business was an impressive description of what is going on in this field. If you had written it two years earlier, I would have saved a lot of money.
StuttgartReturn to top
DETROIT MUST REV UP ITS OWN HYBRID CARS (int'l edition)
Your article on Toyota's launch of cars powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity shows how much better the Japanese auto makers' approach is than Detroit's ("Steering the hybrid through a teeming Tokyo," Asian Business, Dec. 15). I am sure that, in five years' time, Detroit will complain of sneaky Japanese companies and unfair oversight.
American producers are complacent because of the low price of oil and the booming economy. They forget that there are economic and technology-advancement cycles. American carmakers should act now. Meanwhile, kudos to the Japanese once again for a tremendous leap ahead.
Chennai, IndiaReturn to top
WHY EUROPE NEEDS PRIVATE PENSIONS (int'l edition)
The basic tenets of the European Community ensure that private pensions will continue to spread in the member countries of the European Union ("The pension boom," European Business, Dec. 15). As the system stands now, the country in which a worker ends his employment career is left to foot the bill for the person's retirement benefits. The retirement state in turn charges the other member states a portion of the total expenses based on the number of years the worker paid into each system as he moved freely among member states following employment opportunities.
The public-pension system of reimbursements is unfair to the member states because it fails to capture the true value, in today's funds, of contributions made by workers over time to various member states. Moreover, it is unfair to the individual, because it cannot guarantee that the level of benefits is equivalent in each member state. The only true guarantee of a worker's right to freedom of movement within the EU is a portable, private pension.
Jason Michael Pashko
MadridReturn to top