Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anti-Communist or Anti-Capitalist

This interesting article from the Washington Post brings up the point that the US is now investing heavily in Vietnam and asks how that fits with the fact that many Americans lost their lives fighting against communism in Vietnam. Having recently lived in Vietnam I can honestly say that there are some advantages to communism. I almost always felt safe in Vietnam. I would walk around Saigon late at night and not think much of it. Doing the same in San Francisco can be worrisome. Doing the same in parts of Washington DC could be considered insane.

There are drawbacks to communism as it's practiced in Vietnam as well. While I don't have first hand knowledge of it, cronyism appears to be commonplace. While this is true in the US as well, I think it's less pervasive. In the US you don't need to bribe someone to get your phone installed. You might have to wait a while, but pretty much the queue is served fairly.

My guess is that corruption at high levels is pretty much about the same in both countries. The advantage of the free press is that we hear about Haliburton boondoggles and maybe that keeps them in check. Although that doesn't seem to be the case these days.