What became of communism in Vietnam?

by Greg Young at americanthinker.com

Rainer Zitelmann’s book, How Nations Escape Poverty, is particularly interesting for American veterans who served as G.I.s in Vietnam or for those who may have lost their fathers or family members in the conflict.  


The irony of history is that the communists initially won — however, upon establishing their socialist regime across Vietnam, they came to realize what a huge mistake they had made.  Today, young Vietnamese in particular admire the USA and capitalism, as Zitelmann’s book shows.  He asked the Vietnamese which economic systems they admire and which they reject.  According to the survey data, people in Vietnam have a strong preference for the economic systems in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, while hardly anyone approves of North Korea.  And among the younger generation in Vietnam, the USA is in second place.

What made America the most successful and greatest country in history?  Two things: first, capitalism (the belief in the superiority of the market economy and entrepreneurship) and second, the American spirit — i.e., the belief that you are responsible for your own life and can achieve anything through good ideas and hard work.

In recent years, these two convictions have weakened.  A growing number of young Americans, in particular, have come to doubt the superiority of capitalism.  This is a failure of our school system and our universities.  Many young Americans simply do not know enough about the history of socialism and capitalism.

Rainer Zitelmann is a world-renowned German historian and sociologist whose books have been published in over 30 languages.  In his book, he delves into the topic in a particularly captivating and insightful way.  Don’t worry — you don’t need to know anything about economics, and the book is not full of technical jargon.

Zitelmann describes how Vietnam, the poorest country in the world in 1990, overcame poverty and became a prosperous country by abolishing the planned economy and introducing private property rights.  By examining the case of Poland, which was among the poorest countries in Europe in the 1980s but has since emerged as Europe’s growth champion for the past three decades, Zitelmann shows how capitalism makes people’s lives better.