Magazine

Easing the Plight of the Poor


"Global poverty" (Cover Story, Oct. 14) suggested ways to combat the growing number of people in poverty. From our view in Belgrade, Serbia, one of the best tools is trade. Trade not only promotes wealth but is also a vehicle for peace, embracing the tools outlined in your report: education, health, technology, and credit.

The people of Serbia suffered much during the years of repression under the old regime. Once the yoke of bondage was removed, we reached out through a network of World Trade Centers in 91 countries and 200 cities, all part of the World Trade Centers Assn. (iserve.wtca.org), to promote economic prosperity and "stability through trade." People who recently saw each other through the sights of a rifle joined together at the Zagreb Fair with representatives from around the world. The seeds of trade and trust were planted.

We have a long road ahead. But we have begun to see the jobs created through trade as we seek to "leapfrog" into the 21st century. We are working hard to enter the global marketplace and expand its benefits to our region.

Olga Milicevic

General Secretary

World Trade Center

Belgrade, Serbia

A program like the Peace Corps, but supported by the U.N., would not only help the receiving nations but would be of great educational value to our own participants (mostly young people).

Robert H. van Ligten

Minusio, Switzerland

Thank you for the articles on global poverty. I appreciate the approach you suggest. There must be some motivation in the world besides economic performance. Maybe its "brand" is humanity. What I missed was a reference to the bleak expectations facing much of Africa: Harvests this year will be only 20% what they were. Do you think your articles will alarm the world enough to give help to the areas concerned?

Jens Doll

Ahrensburg, Germany

Your story says that "the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank, whose prescriptions often work better in theory than in real life, still wield too much power." In fact, the loan conditions set by these lenders often call on poor countries to implement the exact opposite of the policies used successfully by the world's industrialized countries, including those in East Asia.

Rick Rowden

Alexandria, Va.

The remedies you suggest--education, health care, and ownership of property--are all obviously right. However, without health care that includes voluntary family planning, these other things are futile.

Jean H. Stuart

Edina, Minn.

Your splendid account would have been more bird's-eye, rather than worm's-eye, if it had included the overall numbers of those classified as being in poverty worldwide--defined by the World Bank as earning less than $1 per day. Those numbers peak at 1.4 billion in the late 1980s and declined to 1.15 billion in 1999. A broad regional breakdown would also have shown how variable poverty is in the world, with openness to trade an additional factor.

Herman I. Liebling

Bethesda, Md. The poor prostitute in "A new approach to the oldest profession" (European Business, Oct. 7) claims to work in a shop, because society can never be comfortable when God's gift of sexual expression is bought or sold. Neither humans nor their sexuality can be treated as commodities. And the arguments about health, insurance, and work conditions could also be applied to slavery.

David d'Lima

Sturt, South Australia


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