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Letters

Public responses

by Wolf Dagmar

Opinion

In our October edition, we published letters from our readers concerning the article "Male circumcision" by Rita Schäfer in our April edition, and the articles "The chancellor is with us" by Gerd Müller and "The inadequacy of comparing GDP" by Valentin Lang and Hildegard Lingnau in July.

No effective protection

D+C/E+Z 2014/04, p. 162: Rita Schäfer: “Male circumcision”

It is obvious that men primarily benefit from the relative “protection” of an infection risk reduced by a mere 60 % thanks to circumcision. The manuscript correctly quotes the Sonke Network’s recommendation of “less foreskin plus a condom”. The men’s female partners may get some indirect protection, but that is not proven by scientific means. Indeed, they may actually be at even more risk should men mistakenly feel safe.

It needs to be explained why such an unsafe method of “protection” is getting so much international attention and support even though it does not solve any problem. One reason might be that circumcision is widely practiced in the USA. In this context, it is commonly ignored today that the practice was not merely supposed to serve a claimed medical purpose in the USA when it was introduced. It also fitted the religiously motivated goal of making masturbation, which was considered sinful, more difficult.

Volker Weyel, Bonn

 

Meaningful goal

D+C/E+Z 2014/07, p. 280 f., Gerd Müller: “The chancellor is with us”, and p. 283, Valentin Lang and Hildegard Lingnau: “The inadequacy of comparing GDP”

Minister Müller wants to promote the global common good, shared responsibility and a fair system for world trade. He promises to involve the private sector and academia in the effort. I appreciate the intention, but reality is tougher. One cannot expect the private sector to behave ethically, because it is forced to meet the responsibility of making profits. Whoever wants more must establish clear rules, monitor compliance and sanction misbehaviour.

The article on GDP correctly points out that this statistical figure is not an appropriate measure of a nation’s prosperity. The GDP growth rates of some African countries are being celebrated as evidence of economic progress, but they really only reflect increasing exploitation by exclusively profit-driven corporations in the natural-resources business. The world needs sustainability standards that are enforced internationally as well as comprehensive transparency. This is what Germany should strive for.

Wilhelm Wilmers, Wetzlar