Posted on October 22nd, 2011

In response to An Outsider’s View””‚6  (originally published in Lankaweb, 1 Oct. 2011),

In response to An Outsider’s View””‚6  (originally published in Lankaweb, 1 Oct. 2011), Mark Antonenko of Grand Forks, North Dakota, published the following letter to the editor in The Grand Forks Herald (“Marx’s siren song lures “ƒ”¹…”ship of state’ onto rocks,” 20 Oct. 2011):

GRAND FORKS “”‚ After reading Sheldon [sic] Gunaratne’s op-ed, I have to ask: Who do we want to be as a nation?

Gunaratne unabashedly quotes Karl Marx and tries to make the case that conservatives “”‚ or “troglodytes” as he calls them “”‚ have no interest in upholding the founding fathers’ intentions as expressed in the preamble to the Constitution.

That’s garbage. What Gunaratne doesn’t discuss are the results in countries that practice the ideals of Marx. Their standards of living have severely lagged those nations with free market systems such as the U.S., Canada and Britain.

Granted, communist nations have “free” education “”‚ but the central planning committees decide where people go to school and what for. Career choices are made for a person, not by him or her. Wages also are determined by central committees, as the government is the dominant employer.

Oh, and if you don’t like what you’re given and decide to speak up, you are sent away for “re-education” and may never be seen again.

“Great” leaders such as Stalin and Mao killed millions who didn’t agree with them.

As to who holds the power, influence and wealth in communist nations, that rests with the 1 percent of party elites. The remaining 99 percent have a Spartan existence and little or no chance to improve their lifestyles.

I travel for work and spend lots of time in Communist China. I’m always relieved to come home and always grateful for where I live.

So, do we want to be a “Marxist utopia,” or do we want to follow the intentions of our founders and pursue a system that, while flawed, gives us the world’s best chance to better ourselves and improve our standard of living?

I am not anywhere near the “1 percent” so many people like to vilify. But I happily would remain in my economic strata rather than be subject to the whims of an oppressive and controlling government that so many fans of Karl Marx in the media and elsewhere would impose on me and my fellow Americans.

Gunaratne, professor emeritus at Minnesota State University Moorhead, responded as follows:

In response to my commentary, Mark Antonenko says he would prefer to remain in his “economic strata rather than be subject to the will of an oppressive and controlling government” of a Marxist hue.

Antonenko jumps to the conclusion that I am a Marxist simply because I have cited Marx to critique the pitfalls of unbridled capitalism based on the “law of the fish.” Free-market capitalism is a fiction. So is full-fledged socialism/Marxism.

The current global economic turmoil will end when the world-system reaches a balance between the capitalism-socialism continuum””‚the yin and yang of the global economy. In a global economy, the rich one-third (or the so-called Center) cannot dominate the poor two-thirds (or the so-called Periphery) forever.  Nor can the rich capitalist class continue to own 90 percent of the wealth within the United States.

We must remember that Capitalism and Socialism are not absolutes. Varying degrees of each make up the economy of each country, as well as the global economy.  The ultimate solution will lie in the Middle Path.


  1. Dham Says:

    Antonenko falls into the category of Gon Silvas.
    United States, Australia, Canada are all controlling governments. They take 1/2 of your wealth as tax and pay to the non working goons. This makes top 5 % earners to find ways to cheat and eat until salaries rise up to millions per month by doing nothing. This is not going to be sustainable anyway.
    As Buddha said 2500 years ago, middle path is the way to Nibbana.
    Shelton is slimly saying what Banadaranayake said , middle path is the way to economic Nirvana.

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