A Dream Undeterred

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Fareed Zakaria's recipe for restoring the American Dream is far too rational and requires too much sacrifice [Nov. 1]. Instead, this country will increasingly rely upon intimidation and military force to preserve its consumptive way of life.
Ray Finch, LAWRENCE, KANS., U.S.

I found it amazing that in his article suggesting a "radical rebalancing of American government so it can free up resources" to help re-create the American Dream, Zakaria failed to mention military costs, which account for over 50% of the federal government's discretionary spending. Until that changes, finding money for important domestic investments will be extremely difficult.
Dennis Harbaugh, WATERLOO, IOWA, U.S.

Zakaria's article on the American Dream shows how little the country has learned from the financial crisis. The U.S. should shed its preoccupation with wealth and instead design templates for self-restraint. Otherwise, America's dream will be a recurring nightmare for us all.
Colin V. Smith, RAINFORD, ENGLAND

The blind pursuit and aping of the American Dream has carried the world to where it is today. Zakaria is making a case for flogging a dead horse. Rather than focusing on how to restore the American Dream, TIME could have served readers better by focusing on how to create a global awakening.
Arun Wakhlu, PUNE, INDIA

Zakaria's article provided a much needed perspective during a fear-riddled campaign week. He illuminated the big picture, something that takes considerable insight at a time of global social change.
Monica Day, ONONDAGA, MICH., U.S.

Your article, with its U.S.-India comparison, contains not a word about race or racism. African Americans and Hispanics have a far more difficult time than whites do in moving up or even staying put. Until we recognize the institutional racism that characterizes our educational, housing and other systems and make necessary reforms, the American Dream will recede for more than a third of our population.
Chester Hartman, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, WASHINGTON

Zakaria omitted one very important factor holding back investment and industry motivation in America: litigiousness. Who would want to develop a new product, taking normal commercial risks, only to be exposed to ruin for one tiny mistake?
Ian H. Bane, SYDNEY

It was unbelievably refreshing to read a sober and thoughtful article about the challenges we face and some meaningful suggestions about what really needs to be done to fix them. Most folks still seem to expect a magic, easy solution, and they will vote for anyone who tells them what they want to hear. Thanks for saying what needs to be said.
John Wood, PORTLAND, ORE., U.S.

If more Americans seek redemption in the uncritical patriotism of the Tea Party movement, with its grotesque ignorance of future challenges (climate change, energy saving) instead of closely inspecting the American way of life, further U.S. decline will be inevitable and the American Dream will become just a myth from the past.
Mathias Pophanken, OLDENBURG, GERMANY

In the same issue, in the article "Foreclosing on the Recovery" [Nov. 1], Zachary Karabell correctly points out that the U.S. is still "affluent beyond the wildest dreams of most humans who have ever walked the earth." The problem is that most Americans still think that is not enough. They want more. They want to restore the American Dream.
Frederick Fourie, BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA

Sarkozy's Pension Problem
A fundamental reform of the French pension system is necessary, urgent and inevitable [Reform, Oui. Sarko, Non, Nov. 1]. It is a question of survival on a national level. President Nicolas Sarkozy has the courage to implement unpopular reforms without regard to his short-term popularity rating. Come 2012, the civic unrest will be forgotten and the reforms will stand Sarkozy in good stead for a second term.
Karl H. Pagac, VILLENEUVE-LOUBET, FRANCE

Pension protests have been growing and reforms have been pending, yet France's two main parties have never considered where they have fallen short. Now Sarkozy does the same. There are certainly more demonstrations to come.
Dan Chellumben, AMBOISE, FRANCE

China's Mining Tragedies
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has every reason to be proud of the arduous and audacious rescue of the 33 miners trapped for more than two months [The 34th Miner, Nov. 1]. His success prompted me to lament the pathetic situation in China, where thousands of hardworking miners perish in accidents every year. Despite the repeated tragedies, the Chinese authorities have yet to find workable ways to prevent the disasters, let alone save miners' lives like the Chileans did.
Mencius Ding, BEIJING