Analysts often observe the increasing economic growth of Vietnam, pointing out the country’s expansion in the workforce and international trade. It seems good on the surface, right? To most liberal democracies, a growing economy and increased productivity usually means a better quality of life for the citizens and the country as a whole. However, the situation in Vietnam is not so simple.
There is a major problem arising in attempting to measure economic growth in Communist Vietnam: corruption. According to the New York Times, Vietnam ranks 116th on the Transparency International Corruption Index (TICI). This poor rating on the TICI means that the country is still too shady a place for foreign investor to conduct big business deals. Therefore, even though Vietnam is starting to become a more attractive place for business people, many still question the country’s ability to protect investors.
Statistics and investors aside, let’s examine how the corruption impacts the people. Even though the economy of Vietnam may be on the rise, the majority of the country’s profits tend to flow into the pockets of the VCP. The top leaders in the Political Bureau of the Communist Party are insanely wealthy. Nguyen Tan Dung, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, is a very rich man with a hefty bank account holding more than a billion dollars. He’s not a business man, he’s not an entrepreneur, where does his wealth come from?
It appears Vietnam has become a commodity in recent years that many foreign countries are considering doing business with. The population is currently 87 million people, foreign investment is on the rise, and many consider Vietnam a good alternate to markets in China. However, the country is still riddled with problems. Vinashin, a major state-owned shipping company worth billions of dollars, went bankrupt just several months ago, Bauxite mining still exists, and let’s not forget about Paracel and Spratly and the fishermen in the Southeast Asia Sea.
Vietnam has some very real opportunities for major economic growth and development, I acknowledge that. However, they can only be utilized if the leaders wake up and fix the detrimental problems that plague the country today. The only way for Vietnam to achieve true economic stability and growth is if the old problems were properly handled. Purge the government of corruption, end the Bauxite projects, judge workers based on talent and skill rather than elegance to the Party, and take back Paracel and Spratly. Only when the VCP gain the courage to address these issues can real progress be achieved.
*FYI: This is Freedom For Vietnam’s 100th post! Best wishes to all you readers as 2010 comes to a close. We will continue to fight in the name of freedom and democracy on behalf of everyone oppressed by dictatorships all around the world. Thanks for visiting! See you in 2011!