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Professors' Study of Capitalist, Socialist Quality of Life

June 15, 1986

Hold on just a minute, Profs. Howard Waitzkin and Shirely Cereseto ("Quality of Life Higher in Socialist Nations, Study Says," June 7)! What is your definition of a capitalist country? Are Haiti, India, Iraq, and the Philippines really capitalist?

While countries such as these have varying degrees of private ownership of land and industry, none really has a free market, the other essential ingredient in capitalism. In most of these countries, there are considerable constraints on private enterprise and personal economic freedom due to factors such as corruption, political oppression, chaos, and often even official policy. The nightmare of Ferdinand Marcos was hardly a fair test of capitalism in the Philippines.

You list China as the only "low-income" socialist country and Prof. Cereseto states that "they don't have starvation" in socialist countries. What about Ethiopia? How many more years of Marxist dictatorship must that ravaged country endure before it is no longer classified as "capitalist"?

Professors, I don't want to accuse you of an ideological bias, but to take a lot of bumbling, Third World dictatorships, call them "capitalist" and use that to argue the superiority of socialism is really stacking the deck.

FRED SINGER

Fountain Valley

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