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Hello Mr.Evan Osnos, Asia correspondent extraordinaire and contributor to The New Yorker. I am writing to tell you that you have crossed a certain line.

Perhaps you're not terribly familiar with George Orwell's Animal Farm. I'm sure you've heard of it. It's all about the rise of the Bolsheviks and a satirical warning to the world against the insidious nature of ambitious authoritarian designs on achieving power. What you are advocating is something very similar--the care and feeding of the corporate oligarchy in this country.

Let me read back to you a few of your own words in what may or may not be a direct quote. On Public Radio International's "To the Point" with Warren Olney (12/18/09) you said, "The U.S. needs to look to innovation, with production going to the 'low cost' centers of the world." I've been hearing similar quotes as well. Allow me to fire off another ... this one coming from John Boehner, I believe--possibly Mitch McConnell, it really doesn't matter--who said, "Americans work in offices."

In his classic masterpiece, Orwell had the Farmer saying, "Four-legged creatures do not sleep in beds. Only two-legged creatures. From now on, four-legged creatures are forbidden to sleep in beds."

Orwell makes the point that elitism is at the root of racism and eventually of nationalism itself. Not everyone grasps the subtle connection--that being the nature of great satire--but the farm animals, of course, saw the problem immediately. We're talking about something very ugly here ... elitism giving way to racism, giving way to nationalism, giving way to Stalinist totalitarianism--all needing an underclass to hide behind. So now we have Bolshevism and Nazism appearing in their latest incarnation--American Neoconservatism. There's really little difference among them. All are paranoiac-ally reliant on some form of underclass for their survival, be it political or economic.

Neither will we be fooled by corporate claims of multinational idealism when indeed the corporate oligarchs are engaging in the fiercest type of purely nationalistic economic exploitation--thus making a mockery of your logic, which is ostensibly aimed at articulating an economic recovery plan for America. Sadly, implementation of your model would mean mass starvation right here at home.

Think about it. What would be the required number of elite innovators and designers (in offices) working to support a robustly consumerist population that could soon reach half a billion? Pray that we don't run out of office space, right? Perhaps--at the very least--it would not be too late to start thinking about improving our educational system. And wouldn't it be fair to say that we should also be thinking about whose children should be allowed to attend the most "select" of these institutions?

Perhaps we can just keep working on our roads and bridges (most of us can see how well that's been going) and maybe the vast majority of Americans would be well advised to obtain a plot of land and a couple of Oxen, no? I'd have little doubt that you've already formulated a few ideas along these lines.

Evan Osnos is Beijing Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune and a contributor to The New Yorker magazine.


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The following comments are for "Somewhere, There's a Pony"
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