In a vibrant economy, still a need for PhDs

Regarding your article "Rise and ... rise of America Inc." (Jan. 28)": I'm glad the article repeatedly stressed that it is primarily high technology (such as the Internet) that is driving the current American economic boom. However, it should be evident that high technology requires a highly-educated, technically-skilled, and scientifically-literate work force if our nation is to remain competitive.

During economic "good" times, institutions of higher learning usually witness drops in their student enrollments (particularly in post-baccalaureate programs) as students would rather not invest the significant time required to complete specialized degrees that they could use instead to make money. Thus, the next generation of Americans who can continue to drive technology (and therefore the economy) forward via research and development dwindles.

National economic prosperity cannot remain long without a significant investment in the education of all Americans.

Michael Pravica, PhD Las Vegas, N.M.

"Rise and ... rise of America Inc." is timely, exciting, and exceedingly well done. Regarding the still-widening gap between rich and poor as being somehow unfortunate but still noteworthy: It's neither. That gap is irrelevant. Your article dramatically shows how the entrepreneurs get rich and how the poor get better off as a result. Of course the poor are not going to get as rich as fast as the rich.

So as a result the gap thereby widens - but the top and the bottom of the gap both rise to levels much higher than before.

Rick Gaber Orlando Fla.

Limits on flow of new immigrants

Your Jan. 21 article "In the America of 2100, less elbow room" was a welcome discussion of the United States population growth and immigration.

The article notes that the upside of our rising numbers forestalls worker shortages and eases crises surrounding Social Security and Medicare. The downside is that growth puts more pressure on the environment, continues urban sprawl, worsens traffic, overcrowds schools, and increases demand for limited food and natural resources. Which effect, then, should govern our population policy?

The article ascribed our continued population growth to a rise in fertility since 1970. But liberal immigration policy in the US is another factor behind population growth. Blame should not fall on immigrants already living in the US. But examining the level and makeup of future immigration is still needed.

One proposal calls for cutting the number of new immigrants to about one-third the present rate; and limiting visas to husbands, wives, and minor children of those already living in the US, genuine refugees, and those with critically needed skills.

John H. Blake Hollister Calif.

Progress in Chile, not lost time

The final sentence in Daniel Schorr's column "The irony of Chile's full circle" (Jan. 21): "But you might say it has taken a quarter century and countless lives to get Chile back where it was before the North American colossus decided to save it," is egregiously wrong.

It is now a reasonably prosperous, reasonably middle-class, democracy. It was not then. One will never know what Salvador Allende's socialist policies would have produced, but the results of such policies in other countries during the past 25 years gives one no basis to have expected Chile to have fared better.

There was a human cost in Chile to be decried, as in Bosnia, Sudan, and Guatemala - but little has changed in those countries.

Robert Blackburn Albuquerque, N.M.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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