The most urgent reform, though they all are, is political. Our presidential system has been violently contested. It's impossible for a President to govern with such a divided Congress, and that will continue. Political reform should include, instead of a President, a figure more like a Prime Minister insuring for the executive branch a majority in Congress that would let him or her govern and give coherence to the economic and social systems.
I was ecstatic while reading "How China opened my eyes" on a break during my MBA classes at a top-ranked business school in Barcelona. As a Mexican, I often think about the way things are done back home. As the author stated, most of the physical infrastructure Mexico needs to support further growth has not been built yet. Yet some critical things have been done to build a long-term country and that is democracy -- which China lacks. Mexicans voted to overthrow a political party that ruled the country for 70 years, and that speaks of our spirit.
I agree that opportunities knock once, and every day more people are acting in different places to influence the positive changes needed to continue the country's transformation.
I have been to China twice in the last two years, and my observations parallel Geri Smith's. I predict that we will see the day when the gross domestic product of China will surpass that of the U.S. Sure, it's a Communist country, but capitalism is everywhere.
On the other hand, I live in south Texas, within 10 miles of the Mexican border, and since the mid-1980s I have traveled extensively in Mexico. In the past month, my friend and I were stopped for allegedly running a stop sign, then four officers detained us for more than a half-hour, insisting that we pay a "fine" on the spot. We asked to follow them to the police station to speak with their superiors. They informed us that the office was closed. Finally, they got tired of dealing with us, and let us go.
The officers we met were essentially nice guys caught up in a system that is out of control. I wish their public officials and community leaders could see the economics in this, but they are missing the big picture. With a failed attempt at a $30 bribe, they lost thousands of dollars in revenue that I might have spent in Mexico. I will be limiting my travels there.
John H. Wilson
Mission, Tex. When the Central Bank of Brazil hiked the base interest rate by 0.5%, to 16.75%, it was following the best capitalist orthodoxy ("Stepping harder on the brakes," Business Outlook, Nov. 8). Inflation must be controlled in a time of uncertainties and when oil prices are soaring. Evidently such a measure has a high price in terms of growth and job creation. Certainly, not all of Bras?lia's top officers agreed with that decision. Today the government is an ideological melting pot. Funny -- when the former government used the same tactics to control inflation, it was severely and unanimously criticized by the opposing Workers' Party.
Jos? Thomaz Gama da Silva
Belo Horizonte, Brazil