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Overblown rhetoric has frightened everybody and pushed the world economy into recession ("Rethinking the economy," Special Report, Oct. 1).
The danger from international terrorism has not increased. It has been there for years. The destruction of the World Trade Center was but a repeat of an earlier attempt. This time, it succeeded because of lax security and failures of the intelligence service.
We must try to increase security worldwide, seek out and destroy the terrorist networks, and do what we can to bring the participants to justice. But we should also try to understand the Muslim world and the discontent that motivates terrorism.
Our world will be secure only if we can get together with Muslims and do what we can to remove the causes of their anger. All this should have been done 10 years ago.
London The U.S. cataclysm has prompted coordinated efforts between governments and central banks in reviving the world economy--which is good because this is exactly what we have needed during the past year of global slowdown ("After a bruising, the case for optimism," Business Outlook, Oct. 1).
However, the U.S. may be stepping too hard on the accelerator without noticing, or simply ignoring that the yield curve's long end is tilting up and that the yield spread is widening rapidly, suggesting an upsurge in inflationary expectations. If the U.S. enters recession and inflation kicks in, the U.S. will have pushed itself into "stagflation"--a situation that is extremely complicated and difficult to fix.
Hong Kong Dell Computer Corp. and other direct sellers such as Gateway Inc. are not as flexible as they make out ("Dell, the conqueror," Information Technology, Sept. 24). The last time I wanted to upgrade my system, there were things I didn't want. When calling to discuss my needs, I found my basic specification was translated to the nearest base model. I was free to add items--just pay the selling price of that component. Subtractions were more difficult. The allowances offered must have been cost prices, as if the supplier hoped to make a profit on items they would not supply. I ended up going to a small assembler where flexibility was real.
Dell's competitors blame it for slowing the pace of innovation in the PC market by competing on prices. This view is fundamentally flawed. PCs have reached performance levels that are sufficient to deal with the great majority of user needs.
Producers would love to create new super-PCs, but few people will buy them. As long as bandwidth speeds remain limited, there are few reasons to demand higher performance, especially considering the premium to be paid.
London It would be wiser to treat drugs as "prescription drugs" that should be prescribed by doctors and to treat drug addicts as patients, as they really are sick people ("It's time to give up the war on drugs," Economic Viewpoint, Sept. 17). Drug sales would be in pharmacies and hospitals, regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. People in the U.S. sometimes forget the human cost that their "war on drugs" has on Third World countries and the dire consequences of drug trafficking in producing and transit countries. Congratulations for raising the issue.