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The Border with Mexico



     An angry WAISer writes to express his opinion of The Economist's bland reassurances about what it called "the taco belt":
     "What are the idiots, like those who write for the "Economist", advocating? A kind of Balkanization of the US to please certain economic interests and the interests of those misfits who think the US ought to switch its culture to please them, rather then their conforming to the norms of the country which has graciously accepted them?"
     My comment: The Economist is the best news magazine in the world today, and the special millennial edition was splendid. However, it is, as its name indicates, written from a particular angle. When I founded Stanford's Latin American program, it was greeted with disdain by the economists, who had no idea of the cultural dimension of international affairs. That was when economists were convinced in their arrogance that they were at the levers and could fine-tune the economy. The discussions about the interest rate under Alan Greenspan reflect that. While that subject is of great importance, the economy, as Adam Smith recognized, is a much more complicated tangle. The Horatio to whom Hamlet addressed his famous remark ("There are more things...) may have been an economist. In general, the writers of The Economist follow the wisdom of Adam Smith, the Lord be praised.

Ronald Hilton - 1/15/00


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