Letters

Reassess globalization as 'outsourcing' trend grows

Regarding your March 5 article "In age of outsourcing, do the old rules apply?": The opinions of economists who say that the age-old benefits of unfettered global commerce still apply are dangerously myopic.

The old theory assumed that capital was mobile, but not the factors of production or labor. Today all three are mobile. We missed the signal when Japan opened factories in the United States to manufacture cars for American consumers.

Today we move capital to produce goods in China - not for the Chinese market, but for export to the US. We do the same in India by outsourcing software jobs for US clients. US labor is high value and not mobile. Much of China's and India's labor forces are mobile and cheap.

High-end jobs are clearly going to India and China and will not come back. Ladders of upward mobility for US workers are collapsing and the US is undergoing a redistribution of wealth to India and China.

The global economy is out in front of nation states, crossing borders, and changing political systems. It forecasts the potential end of national sovereignty. We need a fresh assessment of globalization. A failure to find answers poses a threat to the US economy.
Jack B. Lindsey
Boston

Fresh ideas to prevent plagiarism

Regarding your March 2 article "Teachers Fight Against Internet Plagiarism": I was surprised that the article did not mention a very effective way to address this problem. Rather than attempting to detect student plagiarism after the fact, teachers can make it impractical or even impossible by using creativity when assigning homework.

Instead of requiring a term paper, teachers could ask students to compile a binder of relevant clips throughout the semester, using those to build research for a lengthier paper. For shorter assignments, teachers could ask that students incorporate elements of in-class discussion.

Such assignments are not only harder to purchase from a stranger who might be found on the Internet, but are more likely to engage the brain and interest of both the student and the teacher. After all, how many rote regurgitations of Topic X can anyone stand to produce - or read?
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock
Philadelphia

Understanding Parsi

Your March 4 article "In divided area, a drive to save vultures" referred to " 'sky burials' of the Parsi religion." While I appreciate that these traditions are not being sensationalized, I'd like to offer an important clarification: the name of the religion of the Parsi people is Zoroastrianism.

There is technically no such thing as "the Parsi religion," although some in South Asia may wrongly refer to Zoroastrianism as such. "Parsi" simply refers to the ethnic group of South Asian followers of Zoroastrianism - thought to be descended from a group of Zoroastrians seeking refuge from the rise of Islam in Persia. Zoroastrianism was once the state religion of millions of people in the ancient Persian empires, prior to the rise of Islam in the 6th century AD. Additionally, it is Tibetan culture that traditionally practices sky burials. The Parsi custom is to place bodies in consecrated "Towers of Silence," as a last act of charity to the earthly elements.
Tamina Davar
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Women in history

Regarding your March 2 article "Women's roles, now writ (too?) Large": I agree that our history books do not appropriately cover the achievements of women. But I don't think women should be included in our text books simply because the ratio compared to men is unbalanced. We should praise women only if they have earned the recognition.
Sara Burt
Rexburg, Idaho

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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