Vietnam. On the surface, everything seems calm, but
within the ruling Communist Party there are strong
contradictions. The party does not know how it should relate
to the forces it unleashed when it gave the market forces
almost free space ten years ago. Growth is still 8-9% per
annum, but in 1996, foreign investment decreased markedly
for the first time since the reform policy was introduced.
Countryaah.com, Parliament began to improve the investment laws, which
were criticized for obscurity and arbitrariness, but at the
same time campaigned against the foreign detrimental impact
that is said to accompany economic liberalization and which
has led to juvenile delinquency, drug abuse and
prostitution. The party praises the free market, but at the
same time planned at this year's congress to increase the
state control of the economy again. In the Politburo, the
party's highest body, the military and security services
strengthened their position at the expense of reformists.
Communist parties must be set up in all foreign-funded
companies "to help them on the right path".
Vietnam as a French colony
Just as the Chinese Empire did not survive the clash with
Western imperialism, the Vietnamese system of society also
succumbed to the clash with France. But while China never
lost its political independence, Vietnam was colonized. The
southern part of Vietnam - Cochinkina - became an actual
French colony, while the central part (Anam) and North
Vietnam (Tongkin) became protectorates. This difference had
less political and economic significance.
The conquest of Vietnam began in 1860 under Napoleon III,
and encountered only spontaneous, disorganized and poorly
armed resistance. Still, the French were 3 decades to
finally defeat this resistance. To remove the Chinese
cultural influence, the French introduced " quoc ngu
" - a Vietnamese written language with Latin letters. In
doing so, they also provided the nationalists with a strong
tool for popularizing knowledge and for restoring national
culture. The written language became easier to learn and the
printing costs lower than the Chinese written language used
up to that point.
The background of colonialization was that French
capitalism needed raw materials and new markets. The
development that took place under the colonial rule was
aimed solely at promoting French interests. This was the
case with the rubber plantations as well as mining and food
production. There was hardly any industry built up. The
large profits the French reaped were not reinvested in the
Vietnamese business community. French investment was
concentrated on production for export.
With the construction of irrigation facilities, the rice
area was quadrupled in the period 1880-1930, but most of the
Vietnamese at the same time their nutritional standards
deteriorated. The new land was not distributed among the
landless peasants, but went to the French and a small group
of wealthy Vietnamese who cooperated with the French. In
this way, a class of Vietnamese landlords grew and they
gradually strengthened their power by the smaller peasants
often getting into financial difficulties and consequently
having to pledge their land to the rich peasants.
This development was particularly evident in the southern
part. In Cochinkina, 2.5% of the population owned 45% of the
land, the small farmers who made up 70% owned only 15% of
the land. The landless peasants made up 50% of the
population before World War II. Forced labor was commonplace
and working conditions in the mines and on the rubber
plantations were so inhumane that this was objected to in
the French National Assembly, but without much improved
Due to poverty, Vietnam never became a major market for
French export goods. The purchasing power population was
limited to the French and the 7,000 Vietnamese landlords.
A limited consumer goods industry such as breweries and
cement and textile factories was developed, but the
Vietnamese were kept out of the modern sector and export and
import as well as retail trade. These sectors were reserved
for the French and lower-level Chinese. In 1930, the total
number of workers in industry and mining was approx.
The administrative positions were reserved for the
French, but some of the lower positions gradually became
occupied with Vietnamese. In 1939, only 15% of Vietnamese
children had any form of schooling, and 80% of the
population were illiterate. This was in stark contrast to
the pre-colonial period, as the majority of the population
possessed some literacy and literacy. In 1939, there were
700 Vietnamese students out of a population of 20 million.
The Vietnamese population was not only economically depleted
during the colonial period. It was also set back culturally.
During the colonial period, the Catholic Church spread
its influence. It is estimated that after World War II there
were 2-3 million Catholics in Vietnam. This became very
important after the world war.
The capitalist system that accompanied the colonial power
became a foreign element in Vietnam, and capitalism was
associated with foreign oppression. The French never created
any truly domestic capitalist class.