Letters to the editor | The Economist
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Eradicating world hunger
Despite the ambitious global goal to end hunger by 2030, including malnutrition, estimates in 2021 showed that 23% of children under the age of five will have grown up with lack of food. Recent projections suggest that this number will only be reduced by a further 2% by 2030. We must and can do better, so I was pleased to see you focus on the potential for micro -rebalancing beams as a strategy to accelerate progress towards this goal (“Gut reactions”, October 1).
Increasing investments in research and development of new approaches is essential to unlock solutions that address the root causes of established issues, such as malnutrition or low agricultural productivity for smallholder farmers. The Gates Foundation has seen the role of innovation and creativity accelerate, such as in reducing the
death of children and HIV diseases. That is why we are encouraged by, and fund the work that icddr,b, a research institute in Dhaka, is leading
and the WHO there is a test.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Your own goals
The separation of FIFA and EA Sports after the last person’s long history of making “FIFA” is a strange decision in video games, and it will affect the balance sheets of both parties (“He’s not in the game anymore”, digital editions, September 30). At up to $60 per annual renewal, without change, FIFA games are a good example of price gouging.
A FIFA– a windfall tax encouraged on the re-release of an expensive video game could be introduced. If a flat 5% was imposed on the sale of all copies in the FIFA franchise over the past three decades would have brought in $970m, roughly the same as the cost of building two Emirates Stadiums in Holloway. And maybe give fans money to go watch real football in a real (and new) place.
Your article on rereading Russian wartime literature quoted Oksana Zabuzhko, a Ukrainian writer, as saying that literature is “in one flesh with the society it writes about and about.” he writes “(The useful fool”, 8 October). And Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher, is said to say that Russian literature is full of “imperial discourse”. It is not clear what literature is means to be “one flesh” with society. It suggests a kind of historical ethnicity to which all authors contribute. It ignores the fact that Leo Tolstoy was expelled from the Russian Orthodox Church and that Fyodor Dostoyevsky gave clear warnings about the evils of Soviet repression. And the question arises whether this is also true of Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Bulgakov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “Gulag Islands” is more than a shadow in the flesh of the Soviet society than as one with him.
The book challenged the reality and the society in which it was written and showed a way to a different future rather than confirming that it was imperial and brutal. I was happy that The Economist he did not fall into that trap and instead highlighted Mikhail Bakhtin’s idea of polyphony.
Professor of politics
St. Anselm’s College
Manchester, New Hampshire
I agree that dismissing Dostoevsky’s novels may be counterproductive. For example, when Dmitri Karamazov (hours after punching his childhood babysitter in the head) tries to get his paramour’s lawyer into toasting Russia, the Polish official offering a challenge “to Russia within her borders by 1772.” Reading that riposte today feels far more poignant than, say, ten years ago.
Salt Lake City
Exploring the brain
Your Technology Quarterly highlighted the research potential in neuroscience (September 24th). But he overlooked the gap between existing treatments and what is available to those who need them.
Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people worldwide. The most expensive anti-seizure medications cost less than $6 a year, for treatment that allows 70% of people with epilepsy to live seizure-free. But that figure drops to around 50% in middle-income countries and 20% in low-resource countries. Harmful myths about epilepsy, widespread discrimination often enshrined in law, and a lack of global attention have turned an easily treatable brain disorder into a condition that takes away the human rights and kills at a rate three times higher than the general population.
In May 2022 at the World Health Assembly, a ten-year global action plan on epilepsy and other neurological disorders was unanimously approved by member states. The high health, economic and psychosocial burden of epilepsy was recognized and targets were set for raising awareness, replacing discriminatory laws and expanding epilepsy services. Research and technology can deepen our understanding and increase future options for people with epilepsy. But now is the time to act and at least pass on what has been effective and is already there.
J. Helen Cross
International League Against Epilepsy
Flower Mound, Texas
International Bureau for Epilepsy
The educational margin in China
The briefing that analyzed the competition in innovation between America and China went into detail (“mother invention”, October 15) but did not mention the fact that PISA tests of 15-year-old high school students around the world in 2018 found that American students were about four years behind their Chinese peers in math, three years behind in science, and nearly two years behind in language skills. That is a very important factor.
You also pointed out that although 60% of the best researchers in artificial intelligence are in America, a quarter of them are Chinese. These rates may decrease as fewer Chinese now study in America and the proportion of Chinese “sea turtles” return home after studying in America has been rising. Not to mention China phobia in America. At the same time, universities in China are improving. It is reported that Tsinghua University is now a match for MIT.
Deputy chief deputy chief
Maricopa County School Superintendent’s Office
Reading The Economist it is the pleasure of every diplomat. And, as Italy’s ambassador to Britain, even more so since you pay constant attention to Italy, which the British people love. This is the case with your latest cover of “Britaly” (October 22nd), unfortunately inspired by the oldest of stereotypes. Although spaghetti and pizza are the most popular foods in the world, for your next cover we suggest you choose from our aerospace, biotech, automotive or pharmaceutical industries to feature my country . Whatever the choice, it would focus more on Italy, and it would take into account your not-so-secret admiration for our economic model.
Ambassador to Italy
In your directorial, “Welcome to Britaly”, you compare Liz Truss to Larry the cat: “living in Downing Street but without power”. This is an unfair and insulting comparison. Larry the cat has gone beyond his duties as a master mouse. He has complete control over who comes and goes into 10 Downing Street, be it cats, urban foxes, pigeons, or Donald Trump. It has created more positive pr for the office than any one of his four householders. He deserves your apology (and say tuna).