Leading Article: Up, up and away

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The Independent Culture
THE MORE it grows, tiddly pom, the more it grows, tiddly pom, the more it goes, tiddly pom, on growing. There is a fantastical, Winnie- the-Pooh-ish quality to the new figures for the United States economy. The most important consequence is that the engine of American growth is pulling the world out of the "meltdown" that seemed poised to engulf us all only a few months ago. A minor consequence is that this Government's bet on Britain not going into recession in the first quarter of this year has paid off.

It all looks as implausible as a honey-loving bear borne into the air by a balloon, but the stock-markets here and in the US race ahead. The valuation of Internet stocks, in particular, seem to defy gravity and logic - although it could be argued that the logic of free markets is that huge speculative profits attract investment capital into new technologies. Meanwhile all we can do is watch with prudent awe. The long run of steady US growth has to stop some time, but clearly that time is not yet.