Magazine

Do Louis Vuitton Customers Care Where The Bags Came From?


"The Vuitton money machine" (Cover Story, Mar. 22) asks why Louis Vuitton is not producing its products somewhere cheaper. Don't you think it normal that Louis Vuitton buyers want to pay a premium for their bags only if the premium is justified, meaning that they are offered high-quality products that have a strict control on where they're sold, at what price, and keep local (thus high-wage) production?

Why should anyone want to pay the same price for a bag of Louis Vuitton's that is mass-produced in China? The premium on some brands is justifiable only if the brand presents class, quality, is high on style, and gets produced in countries renowned for all these elements.

Jean Luc Devisscher

Westerlo, Belgium China's recent surge in Web business is largely due to its mighty economic growth ("China.net," Asian Business, Mar. 15). The Communist Party's growth strategy created a wealthy and dynamic new generation. However, China.net still has a long way to go. The nation's No. 1 online game, Mir Series, is from South Korea. Its provider, Shanghai Shanda, delayed paying its license fee because it needs to pay for its initial public offering on NASDAQ. Pirates are abundant. Logistics is a nightmare. Online payment needs more work. Above all, the government is trying to regulate the Internet.

With such hurdles, it will take some time to develop a truly China.net.

Sung Hyun Kim

Seoul The article "Productivity: Who wins, who loses" by Michael J. Mandel (Special Report, Mar. 22) stated that a few blockbuster drugs that could cure various types of cancer "could mean a tremendous explosion of jobs in research, sales, and production." This seems to be contradicted in the same issue by "New drugs cut costs, and Medicare can help" (Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 22). Gary S. Becker points out that cures for these conditions will generate huge savings in health expenditures, even if the drugs are expensive, by cutting the highly labor-intensive costs of caring for sufferers.

Drug production is highly automated, and the research jobs will be very few and very highly paid unless they are in China or India. Mind you, I devoutly hope it happens, regardless of its employment effects in the U.S. Growth in employment will have to depend on the other innovative industries mentioned.

Edward R. Crawford

London The fact that an Indian worker is employed by a U.S. company is irrelevant to the principles of comparative advantage (Paul Craig Roberts' "The harsh truth about outsourcing," Special Report, Mar. 22). If the U.S. is better at producing cars than game software, and if India is better at producing game software than cars, then the U.S. should specialize in cars and India in game software. You can't have a population 10 times the size of America's (China plus India) double its average wealth and America not benefit. America needs wealthy Chinese and Indians, and outsourcing is the best and most farsighted way to ensure those markets are available sooner rather than later.

Charlie Leach

London

A reader letter blames Turkey for an invasion of Cyprus by listing geographic and strategic motives. This creates a false impression. Before the invasion, members of my wife's family found the severed head of their grandfather on their doorstep as an item of intimidation to make them leave the island where they had lived for many generations. The reason for the Turkish invasion was to protect the ethnic Turks on Cyprus. Unfortunately, even in the political circles of the European Union, this move gets misinterpreted, willfully or not, and this misunderstanding serves as one of the emotional reasons to deny Turkey the promised access to the EU.

Karl H. Grabbe

Bremen, Germany

Editor's Note: The writer is honorary consul general in Bremen for the Republic of Turkey.


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