Let’s work together for socialist alternatives
By Tran Dac Loi
Vice-Chairman of the Commission for External Relations
Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam
First of all, I would like to convey to all of you the warmest greetings and fraternal solidarity from Communist Party of Vietnam and sincerely thank our host-Ecuadorean comrades, for hospitality and outmost contributions in organizing this important meeting.
We have prepared a written speech in English for distribution. Due to limitted time, I shall focuse in briefing you on socialist construction in Vietnam.
After the liberation and reunfication of the country in 1975, Vietnam had to go through another nearly two decades of hardship due to US embargo and sabotage, the struggle against Khme Rough and conflict with China. We faced very severe socio-economic crisis in the middle of 80’s, people living condittions were in very bad shape. Apart due to the above mentioned objective factors and heavy legacy of wars, the crisis was caused also by our subjective mistake in the way of pursuing socialist objective in Vietnam at that time.
The major mistake was that we over socialied productive relations beyond the existing level of productive forces which was very low in Vietnam. We nationalized and collectivised almost all production and services, including those with no conditions and neccesity for socialized labor. For example, agriculture production was mainly manual, not mechanized, but we organized peasants into very big cooperatives. And as result, productivity was very low. For maintaining sosial wealth fares, we subsidised beyond our capacity of production and left no resource for development. As a result, we could not improve people living conditions.
The main features of the renewal policy iniatiated by our Party in 1986 is to bring the productive relations to conform the actual level of development of productive forces and the application of market mechanism with socialist orientation.
What are the main characteristics of sosialist orientation of market economy in Vietnam?
First of all it is the economy aiming at creating materialistic-economic infrastructure for building socialism and improving people’s living conditions, the economy targeting a set of integrated comprehensive development objectives, including economic, social and environmental, not simply or mainly for profit or economic growth;
Secondly, it is therefore the market operating under the regulation by the socialist state to minimized negative aspects and to direct market activities towards achiving set objectives; market functioning combined with macro planning for thiis purpose; resources are distributed not only through market but also through national and public and community’s programes for achieving comprehensive development objectives;
Thirdly, it is the market where the state sector plays a key role of in the national economy; state monopolises areas related to defense and security, state sector dominates in areas that are essential to macro economy such as energy, communication, finance, heavy industry, aviation, railways and public transportation, etc.; state sector plays an active role in areas that affects interects of large population such as agriculture, light industry, construction, pharmacy, etc. Land and natural resources belong to all-people’s ownership under state management. Productive relation is progressing in accordance with the level of development of productive forces.
Forthly, realization and promotion of social equality and progress on every step of economic development and every economic policy and project. Economic development should go along with poverty reduction and adequate improvement of people’s living conditions as prioritized objective.
I have explained about this in more details in the paper that we distributed here yesterday.
The implementation of the Renewal policies during the past 28 years has not only helped us to overcome the long-lasting stagnation in the 70s, 80s and the severe social-economic crisis in the middle of the 80s but also brought many important positive changes in Vietnam: per capita GDP increased by 13 times, Vietnam soon became food self-sufficient and then a leading world exporter of various agricultural products, industrialization has been accelerated, education and health care expanded, poverty has been reduced from 75% of population to 8%, average life expectancy of the population increased from 62 years in 1990 to 73 years in 2012.
Nevertheless, we understand that we do not have yet socialism in Vietnam, we are still in the process of building it. During this transitional period, socialist factors and capitalist ones, including productive relations, exist together in the society, competing and struggling with each other. Socialist oriented development means process of gradual and continuous strengthening and consolidation of socialist factors to become prevailing and at certain stage, irreversible in the society. The role of the Party and State is to use political power and mobilize people participation for consistent realisation of this objective.
We do believe that while key socialist objective can be common, the road to socialism can be various based on concrete conditions of each country as well as surrounding situation at each historical period. There is no ready-made formula for all. The tasks, form of struggle are to be chosen by each party based on the concrete historical circumstances. The most important thing is that we should not lose the ultimate objectives and we should promote them in a consistent way. And we can share experience among us and learn from each other in order to strengthen our joint struggle for socialism.
Despite there are still a lot of limitation and faced challenges, the achievements of the Renewal process in Vietnam has shown that socialist construction can be not only economically effective but, more importantly, promote social development much better comparing to all other socio-economic models with similar level of development. Together with achievements of Cuba, China, Laos, DPRK, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and other countries in Latin America, it is an additional proves that the history did not end, that socialism is not only possible but also very much viable, that socialism is a good and necessary society for the people and is the only real alternative to the capitalism which is in crisis today.
Long live socialism!
Long live communist and workers solidarity anf unity!
Thank you very much.