Readers write: Positive views of China and Puerto Rico, and portrayal of socialism

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 10, 2018 weekly magazine.

Alvin Baez/Reuters
A woman walks among hundreds of pairs of shoes displayed at the Capitol to pay tribute to Hurricane Maria's victims, in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 1, 2018.

Positive views of China, Puerto Rico

Many thanks for The Monitor’s View articles “In China, a great leap in corporate governance” and “Puerto Rico says ‘Come on down!’ ” in the Sept. 24 Weekly Print Edition. To read two really positive articles relating to areas that in most news reports tend to be negative was so refreshing. Jack Ma in China exhibits such a strong business ethic of freedom from family domination in his immense online shopping market, Alibaba. 

Then to discover the growing inner spirit of courage and determination in Puerto Rico, in what many see as a hapless area following the disastrous effects of hurricane Maria and the halfhearted assistance from prosperous America, warms the heart. 

Puerto Ricans deserve to develop a profitable tourist trade that can bring employment to many of its needy populace.

David Barker

Barnstaple, England

Portrayal of socialism

I am a subscriber and appreciate the enlightened perspective of the Monitor, but I couldn’t be more disappointed with Mark Sappenfield’s editorial commentary, “The triumph of gray,” in the Oct. 15 issue. 

Socialism is not “the other extreme” of capitalism. Socialism is exactly what the cover story by Mark Trumbull and Eoin O’Carroll is all about: placing some constraint on capitalism. Furthermore, the editorial cartoon about fish also foments an inaccurate illustration of socialism by suggesting it is “a bit too far” as though it is synonymous with communism. 

The problem I am addressing is that by describing socialism this way, the Monitor reinforces the ignorant understanding of the term. I believe that socialism is, simply put, constraining capitalism to some degree for the good of the community. Even Adam Smith, the godfather of capitalism, realized that government needed to constrain greed to ensure honesty in the market. Now that really doesn’t sound so scary, does it?

John T. Spence

Covington, Ky.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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