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The Hidden Victims of the Strong Dollar


In response to James Mehring's comments on how "A weak dollar hurts globally" (Economic Trends, Oct. 15): Perhaps a strong dollar is better for the global financial system, but allow me to illustrate another perspective--the effects of a strong dollar on small foreign companies.

These companies don't issue debt or even hold bonds. Perhaps they are insignificant in the global economy, with just 10, 50, or 300 employees. But they make their purchases in dollars, and a strong dollar can make the difference between profit and loss, between staying in business and closing up shop.

I don't pretend to be an economist, but as an American expat accountant in Europe, I have seen the effects of the dollar's climb during the past two years. And I am seeing my clients breathe a sigh of relief as the dollar comes down from the stratosphere.

Gabrielle de Lavigne

Sainte-Rose, France Robert Kuttner may be a fan of big government, but he went after the wrong scapegoat in "The economy needs more big government--now" (Economic Viewpoint, Oct 15). He states that "airport rent-a cops" failed America on September 11. Wrong! Airport screeners followed the rules set up by the government bureaucrats he wants to replace them with. Government procedures let us down, and government agencies that were supposed to protect us let us down. In short, his beloved big government let us down.

Mike Ruth

Miami America's economic pain is Osama bin Laden's gain ("Rethinking the economy," Special Report, Oct. 1). As the U.S. slips into recession, the rest of the world will surely follow. As bad as things may be now in the slums of Cairo, Baghdad, and Islamabad, they could still get worse. Bin Laden's appeal is to the desperately enraged and embittered. The more of them, the better for him.

How deep our economy sinks, and how fast it can recover, will be determined by the individual decisions that we, the American people, make every day. Every time one of us makes any decision which is motivated by fear or caution relating to September 11 (to sell a stock, postpone a retail purchase, cancel a travel booking, etc.), we are furthering bin Laden's agenda.

Every time we choose in defiance of that agenda (to get on an airplane, or buy that new dress, or work the extra half-hour to finish that report tonight), we give him a small defeat. The balance of these small victories and defeats will steer our economy, and will show us, and the rest of the world, what we are really made of.

Keith Sewell

Oxnard, Calif. "New, improved blood" (Science & Technology, Oct. 8) plays on readers' fears by invoking the specter of mad cow disease. Biopure Corp. manufactures its oxygen-carrying pharmaceuticals using a patented process that incorporates raw-material controls to prevent the introduction of pathogens. Biopure also uses patented purification techniques that have been validated to remove or inactivate potential infectious agents, if present, including bacteria, viruses, and the agents that cause mad cow disease and its human equivalent.

Biopure gets its raw material, bovine hemoglobin, from managed herds of U.S. beef cattle, with documentation assuring the origin, medical history, feed (no mammal protein), and young age of the cattle. In addition, Biopure intends to seek a product label in the U.S. and Europe for use of its product in general elective surgery, not just orthopedic surgery.

Carl W. Rausch

Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO

Biopure Corp.

Cambridge, Mass.

The term "blood substitutes" is actually a misnomer. A person's fresh, whole blood is irreplaceable: There is no substitute. However, oxygen therapeutics could someday be used as a treatment to deliver oxygen immediately to the body's tissues and organs in [conditions such as] acute anemias. These agents may one day be used in combination with whole blood in a number of surgical settings.

John Kennedy

President and CEO

Hemosol Inc.

Toronto I concur with "Desperately seeking search technology" (Information Technology, Sept. 24) on the subject of search engines. The same technology should be extended to brick-and-mortar retailers. Many times, I have walked into a store--and then walked out after failing to find what I was looking for. This is especially true of the mass discount retailers, where it is almost impossible to find knowledgeable staff. A simple computer at the entrance could simplify the search process and clinch sales as well as promote specials.

Edgar Stresino

Indianapolis


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