x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Gold fever does not build anything or help the world

Gold-bugs are smug but why tie up capital in something so unproductive, a reader asks. Other letters today cover UBS, a short story, lady detectives, car plate collectors, cancer, and Gujarati politics.

Gold, which has risen in price during recent years of economic anxiety, may be a store of value but it isn't really good for anything, a reader says, unlike productive assets. Mike Segar / Reuters
Gold, which has risen in price during recent years of economic anxiety, may be a store of value but it isn't really good for anything, a reader says, unlike productive assets. Mike Segar / Reuters

For years now, almost every day seems to have brought a new headline about the rising price of gold. My "goldbug" friends alternate between looking smug and warning of impending worldwide financial disaster.

So it was a pleasure to read a good piece about the downside of gold investing, Craze for gold takes the shine off GDP (September 18).

I agree with the argument that "investing" in a lump of metal is no good for anyone; the same money could be loaned instead to someone building a hospital, be put into microfinance loans to the poor or otherwise be used productively.

There are problems in the world economy, but I still think the gold price is a bubble. Frankly I'm hoping for the price of gold to crash, and teach a lot of people a lesson.

Bill Jennings, Dubai

Story should not have appeared

I have just finished reading the short story A Day in Court which you published in M magazine (September 17).

I have never read such a revolting piece of literature as this one, about the trial of a serial-killing suspect. I would not have expected to see this in a family magazine. Why advertise the grotesque imagination of this author?

I felt sick reading it, disappointed, horrified and speechless.

Natalie Law, Abu Dhabi

How could a bank let this happen?

When you put money in a bank, you expect prudent protection of your capital and reliable returns on your money.

So what can one say about UBS, supposedly one of the world's big, sophisticated banks.

This company let one young man make unauthorised trades that cost the company $2 billion (Dh7.34bn) before they caught up with him (UK and Swiss authorities target $2bn trading loss, September 18).

In most medium-sized businesses, it takes three signatures and a meeting before anyone can buy a box of paper clips. How can a big bank allow one man to get away with something like this? And as your story notes, UBS was fined, just two years ago, for allowing unauthorised trading.

Jock McDaniels, Abu Dhabi

Lady detectives have an edge

Thank you for the entertaining article The real lady detectives of India (September 17).

I have long enjoyed the Alexander McCall Smith novels about Precious Ramotswe in Botswana. The lady detectives in your story seem to have some of the fictional character's common sense and empathy, an advantage in this work.

Just one more field in which women can excel!

Jane Raynor, Abu Dhabi

Cancer stories often end badly

The report about the mother with the misdiagnosed son (Mother's plea for son with cancer turns the spotlight on health care, September 16) had a happy ending, or at least we will be able to say the ending is happy if the young man's treatment is effective.

But not every cancer story gets onto the radio, not every one wins the intervention of a beneficent sheikh, and even if they all did, so many cancer stories have tragic endings all the same.

VK Chand, Dubai

Foibles on display at plate auction

I was impressed, in a way, by Auction provides thrill for car plate fans (September 18). What a strange world it is in which people will pay a lot of money for a number plate.

On the other hand I suppose everyone who has a little money to spare puts some of it into hobbies or enthusiasms that are basically meaningless to other people.

The world is full of choices, and we don't all make the same ones. This is just as well, or the bidding for "lucky" number plates would be really fierce.

Renate Wilkinson, Dubai

India can do better than Modi

The fast by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is a farce.

The first duty of leader is to protect the lives and property of the people. He has not only failed in carrying out his duty but is also widely suspected of complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots

No amount of development can be a substitute for justice.

In a country of 1.2 billion people, is there really such a shortage of capable leaders who can take the country on the path of progress and development that we must have Mr Modi?

If he becomes the PM, it will be one of the blackest days in India's history and a major blow to the secular fabric of the country.

Muneer Ahmad, Abu Dhabi