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Is Democracy the Loser in the Economic Race?

Regarding the article "Regulatory Tide Ebbs and Flows," Sept. 19: Nobody likes regulation, nor is it the solution to every problem. But regulation doesn't occur unless the need arises; nor does it happen without an active constituency behind it. The president's Council on Competitiveness has an active constituency behind it, too - industry, whose self-interest hardly qualifies it to be an arbiter of one of the major societal dilemmas of our age: how to balance the desire for economic growth with the desire for safety, health, and environmental protection. The Council on Competitiveness is an unelected body operating behind closed doors - and wreaking havoc with the regulatory mechanisms that have been developed through years of political debate, compromise, and democratic input. If the only way the US can compete is through bypassing the proper democratic political channels and eroding the standards of health and safety that have kept this country a good place to live, then winning the economic race doesn't mean much. Katherine Griffith, Madison, Wis.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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