Magazine

A Gusher Of Responses To A Mideast Awash In Profits


Re "the new Middle East oil bonanza" (Cover Story, Mar. 13): Rather than place a permanent tax on gasoline consumption, which would allow a greater portion of these revenues to remain at home to fund domestic programs, develop alternative energy sources, and reduce net money flows to our geopolitical enemies, America's political and business leadership allow a tax, in effect, to be imposed externally for the benefit of others!

David Tolwinski

Newport, R.I.

If just 1% of estimated 2006 gross oil revenues of $380 billion finds its way into radical Islamic schools, mosques, and in support of jihadi terrorists, it would be a most unfortunate payback for fueling hydrocarbon-driven Western and developing economies. It would be better for these ruler states to alleviate the poverty of their young people so these economies can be modernized, living standards raised, and women and children freed from suppression and incitement to hate.

Jerome B. Gordon

Fairfield, Conn.

In "don't underestimate the fear factor" (Cover Story, Mar. 13), Peter Coy cites experts who peg $15 to $30 of oil prices to "fear." Oil prices, over anything other than the very short term (days or weeks), are a function of supply and demand. Since oil is difficult to hoard and because no one drives their car more in anticipation of future supply interruptions, fear has marginal impact on demand. On the other hand, speculative short-term price bumps caused by supply fear are sustained only if supply interruptions materialize. It's the actual supply, not the fear of losing it, that drives oil prices higher.

Mark Porst

Terrace Park, Ohio

Is it my imagination or is that two-page spread of Dubai completely devoid of people? What does the "real" Dubai look like? Or am I looking at a scale model?

Vic Wan

Boca Raton, Fla.

Editor's note: It's the real Dubai.

I would like to clarify some inaccuracies in "Selling the promise of youth" (Cover Story, Mar. 20). When I introduce the field of anti-aging medicine to patients, I never "pitch" anything or tell them that they will feel younger or live longer. I ask patients what they would like to accomplish, what their concerns are, and provide information on anti-aging and preventive medicine approaches. If patients wish to pursue this route, I plan safe programs for them.

Your article does not reflect a statement I made to BusinessWeek that 80% of anti-aging medicine is lifestyle, virtually free of cost, and work that you have to do yourself: nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction, supplemented with vitamins, antioxidants, and neutraceuticals. If hormone replacement is medically indicated to treat a deficiency disease that happens in aging, bio-identical hormones are replaced scientifically and carefully based on diagnostic testing. Bio-identical hormone replacement is the "icing on the cake," not the foundation of anti-aging medicine.

Let me also clarify my statements on growth hormone replacement therapy to treat adult growth hormone deficiency. While you quote me as saying that "growth hormone is no worse than any drug that can be prescribed off-label," I emphatically stated in my interview and in my seminar that this hormone can only be used for an on-label indication.

Your comments regarding medicines produced by compounding pharmacies are also inaccurate. Compounding pharmacies produce medicines derived from Food & Drug Administration-approved drugs.

The goal of anti-aging medicine is simply to keep us as healthy and happy as possible for as long as possible. It is a work in progress.

Ron Rothenberg, M.D., Founder

California HealthSpan Institute

Encinitas, Calif.

"Welcome to superfund" (Special Report, Mar. 6) correctly alerted readers to to look at risk. Is some or all of the added return a result of added risk (and how much), and what is the "risk-adjusted" return compared with other investments?

BusinessWeek shows the performance for one of Christian Baha's funds for approximately 12 years. Such a period is often too small to confirm that above-average returns are not due to general luck or to the specific luck of using strategies that happened to work in the given 12 years but that may not work well in other periods.

Jacob Sacolick

Cornelius, N.C.

Let's see what we have here, a "new" concept: a virtual mutual fund for small, unsophisticated investors that allows them to play the way the big boys do -- in other words, with secretive, risky investments for people who don't understand them and can least afford the higher risks. It seems to me that the reason the Securities & Exchange Commission usually frowns on this is to protect the public, not to keep them from making money.

In your story, Baha says the "superrich are used to going long and short," which is not accurate. The super-sophisticated hedge by going short in addition to long, but most people with extensive assets are mainly concerned with holding on to their money by using simple, safe techniques -- like buy and hold.

Ronald E. Miller

Plaatsdale Investment Advisors Inc.

Branford, Conn.


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