International -- Readers Report
CLINTON, THE PRESIDENCY, AND AMERICAN OPINION (int'l edition)
I know why the American public doesn't seem to care about Bill Clinton's latest "scandal" ("How do we explain this to our children?" Editorials, Feb. 9). Clinton's jump in the polls is not an approval of Clinton. It is disgust with his enemies.
If asked to judge who committed the greater moral crime, Martin Luther King Jr. for having had sex outside marriage or J. Edgar Hoover for trying to destroy King by taping it, what would your answer be?
Did Dwight Eisenhower's affair with Kaye Sommersby render him unfit to lead the allies against Nazi Germany? Did we require him to pass the test of moral leadership? Or did we just want him to get the job done?
Americans are quite proud of their country's separation between church and state. They elect one kind of leader to sort out the business of government, and choose a different animal to deal with morality. The last thing I need as an American is a President who feels he has the right, by virtue of his own moral superiority, to tell me how to conduct my private life.
I find it disgraceful that a quality publication has made its own moral judgment about whether President Clinton is fit to govern. The American people have overwhelmingly decided that their President has done an O.K. job in managing the country. The people have decided that this is more important than any so-called moral leadership.
President Clinton is not the first President to have an affair. Have you condemned the Kennedy Administration in the past as well? I know Americans want government to butt out of most areas of the economy--so should BUSINESS WEEK when it comes to people's private lives.
AustraliaReturn to top
WHY SWALLOWING DEC WON'T SLOW COMPAQ DOWN (int'l edition)
In your article "Power Play" (Cover Story, Feb. 9) on the proposed merger between Compaq Computer Corp. and Digital Equipment Corp., you rightly concluded that it will reshape the world of computers. You also suggest that absorbing Digital will be the biggest challenge facing Compaq to date.
The point that you have missed is that Compaq has moved from a low-cost paradigm to a value-based management paradigm. This means that Compaq is focusing on improving through building a low-cost, quality-based operation, reducing the cycle time of innovation, and increasing the efficient use of invested capital.
In view of this, I believe Compaq will sell Digital's noncore businesses. It will then reengineer Digital along the same lines as Compaq. Finally, it will integrate Compaq with Digital, and all this will be done with the help of Digital employees. Thus, I disagree with you that absorbing Digital into Compaq will be a major issue for the company.
Birmingham, BritainReturn to top
INDIA: `AN ECONOMIC DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN' (int'l edition)
In reference to "Does this party really want to turn back the clock?" (Asian Business, Feb. 16), Bharatiya Janata Party's election promise of protection to Indian industry indicates that BJP intends to roll back the economic reforms. This can only mean an economic disaster waiting to happen for an economy that is already tottering, much like its aging and senile politicians with their feudal mindset, regressive ideas, and myopic vision.
Indian industry has long been dominated by conservative family business houses such as the Birlas, Walchands, Thapars, Singhanias, Goenkas, Chettiars, Modis, and others. With the exception of the Tatas, Bajajs, and TVS, none of the other business houses have produced products or created services that are internationally competitive or global in quality. Many of the textile mills owned by these conservative groups failed to modernize and innovate. Eventually, these mills had to be taken over by the government to protect a million jobs--with taxpayers' money. To this day, the mills are incurring losses.
Meanwhile, the business houses have thrived only in the protected business environment of the "License Raj." Given the huge size of the domestic market, where quality is alien, there is no compulsion for these businesses to compete in the international arena.
What India needs at this stage is to create millions of jobs and employment opportunities--the only way to solve the poverty problem. Once poverty is addressed, other social issues are likely to disappear. The Indian economy can't do this, so India must liberalize further and make the country an exciting investment destination. Critics of reforms may point to the crisis in Southeast Asia to discourage them. This is a cowardly attitude. Southeast Asia will recover in two or three years and emerge stronger, possibly with the exception of Indonesia. If India rolls back reforms, rest assured, its journey into the Dark Ages will be certain.
SingaporeReturn to top