Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Endorsement and all that

I've been intrigued and slightly mystified at the number of people from all around the world who have asked me about which presidential candidate The Economist will endorse this time round--as if our endorsement would makes the slightest bit of difference to the outcome.

Any endorsement we give involves a slightly different calculus to that of most Americans. We wonder what is best for the world overall.. rather than what is best for America. We place a far greater emphasis on foreign relations, and stances towards various foreign, diplomatic or intergovernmental issues than Americans.

The decision is always a difficult one. While we are naturally drawn to the Republicans for their right wing economics... with its emphasis on free and unencumbered trade, we are not drawn to the right-wing social views with regards to issues such as capital punishment, homosexual marriage, creationism and abortion. While the Democrats score highly here, they always lose points on the free trade issue--which is a large part of what we are about. So it can be hard to endorse a Democrat. Unless of course there is no alternative.

Last time, we gave a very grudging support for Kerry (not that it made any difference), and probably because the alternative option was so bad. Anyway, our 2008 endorsement is coming up this week. Watch out. I firmly predict that it will make absolutely no difference at all.

For light amusement, check out this round up of previous presidential endorsements from our archive.

Coming up this Thursday/Friday, even more on bluefin tuna. The story is moving on. I'm finding myself absolutely amazed at how poor the management of the bluefin tuna is in the Atlantic. It is an absolute disgrace. Yet the politicians seem to be able to get away with continuing business as usual because the world at large doesn't really get worked up about overfishing.

Also published today, my recent correspondent's diary from Istanbul.

Correspondent's diary: Science in Istanbul, day one

An odd crowd congregates in a stunning city