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

From Mr Tom Yates

Sir: David Howell's essay, while rightly drawing attention to the prodigious economic growth being enjoyed by much of Asia, seems to me wrongheaded in its pessimistic tone. "Energy starvation will dish them, we are reassured," he writes, as if the downfall of these powerful Eastern economies would somehow be in our interest.

Surely the fact that standards of living until recently only associated with the West are being brought to potentially billions of people is something we should celebrate rather than envy, especially given that there is no implied reduction in our own living standards, no matter how widely they are overtaken. An increasingly wealthy Asian continent, indeed, is a golden opportunity for out own exporters and service industries.

For this reason, Mr Howell is right to conclude how much we can learn from the people of India, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, to name only five, and how vital it is that we cherish and improve our relations with them. But we have no reason to resent their achievements.

Yours faithfully,

Tom Yates