Timothy E. McKinney
Candia, N.H. How could you write a story about Motorola and omit any mention of the highly successful $15.4 billion merger between General Instrument and Motorola, the company's largest ever ("Motorola," Cover Story, July 16)? The merger was decided upon by CEO Chris Galvin, approved by the board, and finalized in less than two months' time.
Likewise, the comments on Iridium ignore the complexity of this project. It was essential to maintain the system in order to secure a responsible solution [regarding de-orbiting]. Within 90 days of addressing the U.S. bankruptcy court and U.S. government concerns, Galvin reached an agreement to transfer the system responsibility from Motorola to Boeing Co., and a new Iridium service company was formed.
Chris Galvin takes full responsibility for the results at Motorola, but at the same time he should be afforded full and proper credit for many parts of the job which have been well done.
Schaumburg, Ill. The shift from a small U.S. surplus with Mexico in 1994 to a $24.2 billion deficit last year makes a big contribution to the deterioration in the overall U.S. trade balance ("NAFTA's scorecard: So far, so good," Economics, July 9). This is especially true for trade in automotive products. The U.S. deficit with Mexico has steadily climbed from $3.6 billion in 1993 to $23.3 billion in 2000. That is nearly twice the increase in the U.S. auto trade deficit with Japan over the same period.
The United Auto Workers understand the importance of that higher trade deficit in the loss of jobs. Moreover, U.S. employers routinely use the NAFTA card--i.e., the threat of moving to Mexico--at the collective-bargaining table and in union-organizing drives.
Stephen P. Yokich
United Auto Workers
Detroit "No time for protectionism" (Editorials, July 23) made some good points. But with 37 years in the trucking industry and 50 years going in and out of Mexico, I disagree about Mexican trucks crossing the U.S. border. The rules for American trucks and truckers are very stringent and (after taxes) safety is foremost. Canadian truckers and trucks must adhere to U.S. rules to work across our border, or they stay home. Why should Mexico be safety-exempt?
Tex W. Harris
Scio, Ore. In a series of three short articles, "Brave new factory," "When machines chat," and "Even the supervisor is expendable," (Industrial Management, July 23 in some editions) the discussion centers on new technologies that will eventually reduce the need for factory workers down to an absolute bare minimum.
If this "efficiency" is taken to the limits, we will need perhaps 5% of the current manufacturing workforce to run our factories. Where will the other 95% go? Who will buy the output of these factories? What will eventually happen to the major "driver" of our economy...consumer spending? I certainly do not advocate returning to the dark ages of manufacturing, but we do need to think seriously about how far we should go in the name of efficiency.
Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany In "Getting a grip on consumer tastes" (Up Front, July 16), your average 6.44-ounce gulp means downing one quart in five gulps. I dare you!
Banks, Ore. "Ground wars" (Industries, May 21) might make readers think National Semiconductor Corp. no longer did business with FedEx Corp. In fact, National continues to have positive business relationships with Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and other leading logistics providers around the world.
Second, National Semiconductor's new warehouse in Singapore, operated by UPS, opened in August, 2000, not "two years" ago, as the article suggested.
Worldwide Public Relations
National Semiconductor Corp.
Sunnyvale, Calif. Your article on women's need for knowledge of investment, pensions, and financial planning was excellent ("A feast of financial seminars," BusinessWeek Investor, July 16). As your article implied, women need to catch up, so that girls can follow their lead.
M. Burch Tracy Ford
Head of School
Miss Porter's School
Farmington, Conn. Robert J. Barro contends that increasing the life expectancy of the population might actually worsen the AIDS epidemic ("Why would a rock star want to talk to me?" Economic Viewpoint, July 16). He forgets the economic impact of having people live longer. They continue to work and contribute to the economy. They will be consumers and purchase, further contributing and, lastly, pay taxes. Almost the entire middle class in some African countries is being wiped out, and the economic devastation will take generations to recover from. It need not happen.
There are other ways of counting passage of time than the hours Barro seems to believe the dustier masses can handle for medicinal purposes. People hang on to life not for the sheer pleasure of it all, but primarily for those one might leave behind--even if it is a life filled with "ignorance" and disease.
Takoma Park, Md.
In 1999, I had the privilege of working for several months at a mission hospital in rural Zambia. Focusing Western efforts on increased availability of antiretroviral agents would, by itself, benefit few HIV patients in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
Even if medications were affordable and distributed to health-care facilities, people in outlying villages are sometimes many days' walk, bicycle ride, or oxcart ride away, if they are well enough to make the journey.
Dean C. Cauley, M.D.
Chesapeake, Va. In an economy that is increasingly consumer-driven, how do we get the economy moving if more and more people are laid off ("The past won't be prologue in this recovery," Business Outlook, July 23)? Business must find another answer to its earnings problems if the economy is going to avoid sinking into a big black hole.
Lawrence R. Greenberg
West End, N.C.