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Gentlemen from Hooker - and many other places - are quite literally pouring these and many other poisons into your coffee and your kids' juice. They just do it in a more indirect, anonymous, and apparently socially acceptable way.
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In a Direct Line - Photo by Ulli Diemer

Kyrgyzstan's dubious "success"

By Ulli Diemer

To the Editor:

No doubt things look pretty rosy from the salad bars of the "upscale restaurants" in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where foreign journalists like Geoffrey York rub shoulders with "swarms of Western advisers and consultants" (Obscure little country becomes big success, March 22).

Too bad it didn't occur to Mr. York to find out how the people of Kyrgyzstan are faring under the marvellous "market reforms" which have turned the country into "the darling of the world's economic reformers".
Had he troubled to do so, he might have discovered that while Kyrgyzstan is being "flooded with planeloads of foreign experts who have lavished praise on its reformist government and its liberalized economy", the income and living standards of the vast majority of the population have dropped, unemployment has risen dramatically, average life expectancy has fallen, and rural poverty has increased.

Mr. York's sole allusion to these unfortunate side-effects of the "model" free market miracle which has foreign investors drooling is to observe that "the reforms have been slow to bring benefits to the ordinary people of the country."

In plain language, most people are worse off than they were before. Some "model". Some "big success".



Ulli Diemer
23 March, 1995
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