Letters

An Oil Glut Wouldn't Stop Terrorism

The juxtaposition of the editorial "Goldilocks Global Climate" and the opinion essay "Slow Terrorism With an Oil Glut" (Oct. 22) brings out the problem of conflicting policies trying to resolve related issues.

Assuming that terrorism could be countered by flooding the global market with oil to reduce its price - and reduce income to Iran and other oil-producing nations - then this could undermine the budding, promising technology to reduce emissions.

The United States is now more dependent on foreign oil imports than during the nearly forgotten oil crisis of the Carter administration. Reducing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would make us even more vulnerable. It would increase oil consumption, offset global emissions reduction, and decrease the cost incentive to expand that technology.

Oil taxes could underwrite this technology, reducing the amount of oil sold and thereby reducing profits. Heating the globe seems a very ineffective method to rid it of terrorism. Global economic equalization might work a lot better.

Jurgen Pape

Granville, Ohio

The author recommends using the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to create a glut in the oil market as a way of crippling the Iranian government. There is no way the negative impact of such a glut could be restricted to Iran.

Would we shore up the Venezuelan economy to prevent a revolution when its economy collapsed? Would we send aid to Nigeria when bloody civil war erupted after its economy imploded? Would we triple or quadruple our military budget in a crash program aimed to meet the new enemies, who would take over the presently friendly governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and others? How many billions of dollars would we be willing to send to Russia, formerly and soon again to be one of the world's top producers of oil? How would we react to the impact on Indonesia, Norway, and Great Britain as oil producers?

The worldwide impact of the Great Depression of the 1930s brought us Hitler and strengthened Mussolini and Franco. That was mild compared with the chaos that would result from the author's suggestion. Where would the US find export markets among countries without purchasing power? Who would take care of the millions - yes millions - of unemployed Americans as factories that produce exports are closed? Neither Iran nor the US is an island unto itself in our modern world.

In time, new inventions will bring about a declining demand for oil. If that decline is gradual, oil-producing states around the world will have an opportunity to shift the emphasis of investment and production to other endeavors.

Warren L. Hickman

Trumansburg, N.Y.

What golden economy?

I am truly tired of daily stories of the "golden US economy" ("Golden US Economy Heading for Record Books" Oct. 24).

The reality is in the 15th paragraph of the story: " poverty failed to decline in 1996 the average incomes of the bottom three-fifths of the US population remained below 1989 incomes prior to the previous recession." The bottom 60 percent - 60 percent! - of the US population struggles, having to hold two or three jobs to pay the rent. Where is the "gold"? Obviously, in the pockets of Wall Street and the country's $10-million chief executive officers.

I thought the Monitor had more of a social conscience than to repeat the "golden economy" line like the rest of the news media. How about a headline such as, "Golden Economy Misses 60 Percent of the Population"?

Richard Harnar

Indianapolis

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed to oped@csps.com

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