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| One of the world's many|
|Systems and types|
|Not as dysfunctional as the Middle East|
Laos is a dirt poor country[note 1] in Southeast Asia. Laos is a one-party communist republic, effectively a dictatorship and an oligarchy, and 80% of the population consists of subsistence farmers. The country's primary sources of income are mining and hydroelectric power. As is typical of communist countries, the press is government-run. The economy has been growing rapidly since decentralization in 1986, enough that they opened a stock exchange in 2011.
Relations with other countries
In the early 1960s, the United States recruited Hmong people to battle communist non-Hmong peasants. Then, from 1964 to 1973, as part of the Vietnam War, bombed known and suspected locations of the notorious Ho Chi Minh Trail, a supply line from North Vietnam going through Western Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam. The communists won the civil war anyway in 1975 and extirpated the monarchy.