Let's stop talking ourselves into a recession that's not there--and that will never occur if we keep away from spiraling panic. I'm appalled by so much pessimism being thrown at the entire business community.
Reading your editorial about the terrorist attack, I get an image of the U.S. being an island ("What must be done," Sept. 24). There is a very big gap between the richer countries and the poorest ones. These terrorists come from the poorest countries of our world, and they see no hope for improvement. The U.S., as world's richest nation, must work with those underdeveloped nations to improve their quality of life. Spending lots of money on security won't be effective as the gap gets wider: New groups of angry people will only replace the ones killed in last week's attack. This is the big opportunity for the U.S. to be the great leader our planet needs.
Lima, Peru Here's hoping that CEO Dieter Zetsche and his crew succeed with their demanding task by keeping Chrysler Corp. a company with a real American touch ("Can this man save Chrysler?" European Edition Cover Story, Sept. 17). Whatever happens, DaimlerChrysler should not forget about quality, sales support, and those who pay money for its products.
This should be true for all Chrysler cars, including its low-volume but high-identity models such as the Viper. However, engine failures due to powderized connecting rod bushings on about 2.5% of the Vipers in Switzerland suggest different conclusions.
I grew up in Detroit and worked in automobile factories to pay my way through the University of Detroit and graduate school. The economic free-fall of my hometown has been deeply discouraging. That a man with such energy and wit is going to be turning the least of the Big Three around is very positive news. Germany, in my opinion, is the only European country to have faced its troubled past honorably and intelligently. Zetsche is evidence that such courage pays off over the long haul.
Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar "Asia's worst deal" (Asian Business, Aug. 13) states that securities of Asia Pulp & Paper Co. (APUUY
) "passed muster with regulators in Singapore and Washington," and that "lax regulators" contributed to the disaster. Although APP was incorporated in Singapore with limited liability, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It was not listed on the Singapore Exchange and is therefore not subject to Singapore listing rules.
Neither APP nor it subsidiaries registered prospectuses for its securities issues with Singapore's authorities, because the securities were either not offered in Singapore or were not targeted at retail investors. This is the practice internationally, e.g., in the U.S., Britain, and Australia.
Chua Hak Bin
Monetary Authority of Singapore
Singapore All this "the sky is falling" hysteria about a declining German birthrate is nonsense ("Help wanted," European Business, Sept. 17). The present German workforce-to-population ratio is 0.50. The 2050 projection points to a ratio of 0.43. So what? By 2050, automation, robotics, and high tech should reduce the required workforce ratio to 0.4 or lower. And all the angst about a collapsing pension system? With a population drop from 80 million to 60 million, there will be more than enough to go around.
Frederic A.C. Lister
Nauheim, Germany The long overdue commentary calling for greater management accountability to shareholders in Taiwan extends throughout the region ("Taiwan Inc.: Shareholders need a break," Asian Business, Sept. 17). Bruce Einhorn treads very carefully over the central problem of business in Greater China region: management hubris that stultifies action, reinforces bad decisions, and rewards people based on their connections, not on their talents or how much they contribute to the bottom line.
But is there any mechanism by which shareholders can hold these companies responsible? Until there is, I and probably thousands of other investors will keep our money in more stable regulated markets of the Americas, Europe, and Japan.