(June 8, 5 p.m. EDT) — The two letters in the April 16 issue [Page 6] are a small study in contrasts. Roger F. Jones presents a very clear and well-grounded commentary on another one of those “U.S. is losing ground” stories you like to print [“America not losing ground on commerce”]. For my money, he gets the subject exactly right, including his closing thought that, “I don't think we really want the government to be picking economic winners and losers.”
On the other hand, Snehal Desai wrote one of those buzzword letters that sounds good but doesn't say much [“Key to success: Work with the stakeholders”]. I guess my problem with it is the multiple references to “stakeholders,” with a “sustainable” thrown in. I don't know what stakeholders are, beyond suppliers and customers. I presume they are interested parties to commercial transactions who don't buy or sell. But how does one become a stakeholder? Show interest? Are they self-selected then? How credible is their claim to be a stakeholder? And if they “have not been part of the commercial process,” why should they be involved or considered, beyond what's legal and moral?
Of course, I know the answers really, and the biggest stakeholder of them all is the government Mr. Jones warns us about. No we don't want that stakeholder, nor do we want anti-everything Luddites deciding who the winners and losers are. Let the commercial world function and keep the people who think they know what's best, but don't have an economic stake in the process, stay on the outside.
John P. Dellevigne
HPG International Inc.