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LETTER:Price of Far East's success too high for West

From Mr David Gordon

Sir: The depressing and superficial vision presented by David Howell becomes even more depressing when you remember that the author is an MP and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Selection Committee.

He still uses economic growth as the sole yardstick of progress. This is a measurement for accountants, not politicians. Or are the rocketing youth suicide rate, the moral vacuum, obsessive consumerism and environmental disaster that is Tokyo today of no account, so long as exports are up 40 per cent in five years?

He invokes the Confucian adage of uniting work and recreation as an excuse for lifelong training "to encourage still further economic vitality". A brighter vision and one which the Master might be more at ease with, is one where co-operation replaces competition, happiness is rated above wealth, and jobs are shunned if they are not sociable, productive and contributing towards excellence. But this is probably too sunny a picture for Mr Howell's tired old work-ethic puritanism, even dressed in its new Eastern clothes.

Yours sincerely,

David Gordon

Allowenshay, Somerset

21 August