Free market vs. the environment?

The article "Are Americans Really Greedy?," Sept. 6, concentrates on the minor point that Americans are not miserly and ungiving after all, thus managing to sidestep the real issues. Why is there no mention of the fact that our use of world resources is light-years out of proportion to our numbers? And does the author think the S&L crisis flowed from a sense of charity?The fundamental problem is the assumption that the free market system is utterly beyond question, causing us to put the profit motive ahead of such trivialities as the quality of life and the survival of the planet. But it is increasingly obvious to those not blinded by dollar signs that if we must choose between free enterprise and the environment, it is the former that will have to go. Doubtless this explains why business-oriented conservatives - fondly clinging to the fiction that the East bloc's economic failure guarantees the success of our system - are so desperate to ignore the handwriting on the wall. Richard W. Rau, Hillsboro, N.H.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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