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Say it isn't so, senor. But, alas, it is. The government of Spain is defying the trend of the civilized world and trying to promote more smoking, not less. The tobacco industry, you see, is a source of income for the government, and the profit motive has evidently overridden the public interest.

But now that Spain has democracy, couldn't citizens rise up and demand that their government get out of this particular business? As in the US states that run gambling games, officials assume the intolerable position of advertising a vice they should be protecting the public from.

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As Spain moves toward an increasing role in European and other international affairs, hooking more people on tobacco is one endeavor in which it should not take a lead.

The United States above all needs capital investment, you say? Not

according to Henry Kaufman:

''The issue is that we have to make greater investment in human capital. The retraining of people to make sure that people that are in the ghettos get the educational and vocational skills that make them productive.''

When one of Wall Street's most influential economists makes the point, US policymakers and industrial leaders ought to be listening.


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