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Being Self-Satisfied Means Falling Behind

The Viet Nam Communist Party is preparing for the 10th National Party Congress expected to be held in April 2006. One of the four dangers facing the country, as pointed out in the last congress, is that of lagging behind other countries in the field of economic development.

When commenting on the country’s economic achievements, many habitually compare Viet Nam in the past with present Viet Nam, rather than comparing it with other countries, and then conclude that the reached goals are satisfactory. They are even satisfied with Viet Nam's "glorious victories" and "great historic achievements". Former Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet once warned that such a subjective and self-satisfied attitude can make the country fall further behind other countries.

Vietnamese people are now familiar with the presence of such supermarket. (Photo: Van Hanh)

It cannot be denied that Viet Nam has made good progress after the Reform period (Doi Moi). In 1990, when the Communist Party was preparing for the 7th National Party Congress, GDP per capita was only US$200. The index has now increased three times, which is over US$600 per year.

However, it should be remembered that Viet Nam is still in the list of less-developed countries in the world. The Party’s target in the next five years (2006-2010) is to remove the country from the list.

Let’s have a look at Japan's benchmark. After the Second World War, Japan was severely devastated. Japanese people lived in poverty with a GDP per capita was only about US$160 in 1952. After 35 years, from 1970 to date, Japan emerged to be the world’s second biggest economy, after the US.

Singapore is another example. GDP per capita was only around US$400 in 1959; and 40 years later, the number increased 55 times, which was US$22,000 per year.

Meanwhile, Viet Nam’s GDP index increased slowly, and the country is still less-developed. Thus, there should be a change in Vietnamese mindset. They should be well aware that comparing Viet Nam with other countries is a way to seek advancement and avoid the danger of falling behind.

By Phan Trong Hien – Compiled by Thuy Hang

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