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Shem Lawler Writes

Dear Will,

I have a lot of things to say, but I'll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible, because let's face it, if I ramble on too long, you're not going to want to read what I have to say.

A bit about myself: my name is Shem Lawlor and I'm a 27-year-old high school English teacher in Japan. I studied poli-sci and geography in college and I'm currently working on my first book entitled, 'Building a 21st Century World Worth Living In'. I, like Marx before me, also hope to get rich from my book. Unlike Marx, however, I have had the benefit of seeing the failure of communism in practice everywhere it's been attempted, so hopefully my theories we be work better than his did.

I enjoyed reading your synopsis of The Communist Manifesto almost as much as I enjoyed reading some of the emails you've received and your responses to them. I congratulate you on your correct analysis of why communism has failed and would like to add my own scrutiny as well.

I believe communism has and will always fail for three reasons:

It removes from people the desire to work hard because there isn't necessarily going to be an immediate or even ultimate benefit to themselves.

In order to establish a socialist society, a very strong and violent uprising needs to take place. Once a strong, violent force has taken over control of a society, the great amount of power they have at their disposal corrupts them, and opens the way for extreme abuses of power. (See Pol Pot and Stalin for references.) Once these groups see for themselves that communism spells economic ruin, survival of their regime then takes precedent over all else. (See Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.)

If you think about the amount of effort and work it takes to run a single company, and then you imagine a single small governing body trying to control and run everything within a nation, then you begin to realize just how impossibly inefficient such an enterprise would be.

Now, a word about Marx: KM, was certainly on top of things when he said that there where injustices in the world of capitalism. What he failed to realize was that the thing which made the living conditions in Europe so poor was unethical people in business and government.

I believe that the best economic system for a nation and the world needs to be based primarily on capitalistic ideals. However, in order to keep capitalism in check, governments need to have a broad separation of power and the people need to be always on the look out for unethical practices in business and exploitation of workers and resources.

One very popular capitalist ideal that I do not adhere to is the theory of comparative advantage. For years the IMF and the World Bank have been pressuring the developing (not the best term) nations of the world to follow this theory. The problem that I have with this is that to me it seems a lot like putting all of your money into a single stock on Wall Street. You may hit it rich, but you could just as easily go completely bankrupt. For example, if you're Rwanda in the late 1980's and you decide under the guidance of the IMF and World Bank to only grow coffee and then you have a famine (as actually happened in Rwanda); then your economy will be destroyed, your people will starve, and maybe decide to hack 800,000 of their neighbors to death in 100 days.

I believe that we need to encourage the poor nations of the earth to become as economically diverse and independent as they can. Furthermore, if we really want to create world peace, rather than spending $600 billion a year on military, (primarily for extremely expensive toys), we should be spending the same billions of dollars helping those poor countries of the world to establish sustainable agricultural bases, train doctors and engineers, and build up their infrastructures.

Thanks for your time.

Shem Lawlor

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