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Making Banks Approach the Bench

"Who Owns Your Loan?" (August/September 2008) raises an interesting question: When is some clever litigator going to go after the banks for bad faith? The banks have sold their customers' [loans] for a dime on the dollar, and those customers would have willingly paid the same or more for the loans. Yet now those same customers are dealing with aggressive third parties and facing foreclosure or a significant loss of equity. There may be a claim against the bank for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing—especially if personal guarantees are involved that could result in a customer's family losing its home. I know I wouldn't want to be defending the bank.

Mark Moburg, Seattle

The Bright Side of Unemployment

For most startups in my industry, the largest cost is labor. While smaller firms experience a disproportionate burden in the rising cost of materials ("The Price Pinch," August/September 2008), many of us have seen the availability of talented labor increase over recent months. That increases the ability of small companies like mine to do what we're supposed to do: provide jobs.

James Moran, Yipit.com, New York

Real Help Beyond the Real World

It's excellent to see how real-world companies, finding that other technology is falling short of expectations, can use the virtual world to drive sales ("First Stop: Second Life," August/September 2008). I had no idea that a company just 45 miles away from me had such presence [in Second Life]. I'll have to slide by and see what they have cooking in the oven over there.

David Cyra, Brookfield, Wis.

Quit Grousing About NAFTA

I've heard my fellow Canadians complain about manufacturing jobs moving to the U.S. and Mexico ("Why NAFTA is Good for Entrepreneurs," August/September 2008). But I've also read that our U.S.-Canada trade volume has swelled to an enormous $1 billion a day. It takes an hour or two to cross the border these days because of the huge number of trucks moving in both directions.

My suspicion is that there are many winners and some losers, and certainly consumers must be benefiting from lower prices. And I'm old enough to remember pre-NAFTA high unemployment numbers and high inflation in both the U.S. and Canada during the 1980s.

As painful as NAFTA has been to specific industries, and many Canadians have howled about easy American access to Canadian resources (oil and minerals), the main political parties here have reluctantly embraced free trade. And in the wake of global trade talks' failure, our Conservative Party is pursuing a bilateral deal with Europe.

To American anti-free-trade types: Be careful what you wish for. Some Canadians want to reopen NAFTA to restrict easy oil exports to the U.S. and restrict imports of U.S. steel, food, machinery, services and planes—all things the U.S. does particularly well.

I think both countries' economies are bigger and more competitive with NAFTA than without.

screen name: Petras Vilson

Olympian Entrepreneurs Back from Beijing

Congratulations to T.C. Dantzler, George Hincapie, Steffen Peters, Christie Rampone, Melanie Roach, and Austin Sperry, the entrepreneurial Olympians whose athletic—and business—prowess we featured in our August/September 2008 photo essay, "Golden Opportunities." Rampone, captain of the U.S. women's soccer team, returned from China with a gold medal, while Peters placed fourth in several individual and team equestrian events, and Roach snagged sixth place in her weightlifting competition. We wish the best to all of our inspiring Olympians.

Back to BWSmallBiz October/November 2008 Table of Contents


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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