I am also uneasy [re: Letters October 9] with the very explicit words of Kith Meng in an interview "From ATMs to fried chicken" (October 6). But I understand [interviewer] Roger Mitton's intention to maintain the original version articulated by Kith Meng.
In his speech, Kith Meng is understandable as a very aggressive capitalist. With his businesses ranging from financial marketing to KFC, Kith Meng might not forget the theory of economic efficiency that "it cannot make someone better off without making someone else worse off".
The questions which need to be answered by tycoons like Kith Meng are: Do they continue their extreme business monopoly? How much do they care about social externalities, including social inequity? How much of their business is used to alleviate poverty through social entrepreneurship schemes? Do they prefer property rights, regulations, fair bidding or do they prefer the current ongoing lack of good governance in order to boost their profit?
I do believe in Kith Meng's conscience to comply with business morals and advance himself as business role model in Cambodia. In order to achieve his likely high standard of business morals, he will play an important role in future Cambodian politics and economics. Policies instrumental for fair business that would help alleviate inequity mainly rest on property rights, government subsidies, and direct provision, taxation and regulation. If in the future, Cambodia doesn't enforce and comply with these principles there will be widening inequity that could jeopardise the whole nation.
PhD student in political science
University of Hawaii at Manoa