Monday, January 14, 2013

Vietnam Journal VI: Post-Marxism

General Staff in Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Marx and Freud proposed the two great analyses of economics and the mind, both of which are more interesting today for their theoretical insight than their practical applications. Post-Marxism is also a bit like post-modernism in art and literature to the extent that it provides a vast palette of ideologies one having less in common with the other than the next. Communism, where it still exists, has come a long way baby and the variety of Communism that functions in a country like Vietnam has little in common with that practiced by either of its neighbors to the north, China or North Korea, though it's plain that Vietnamese post-Marxism has more in common with that practiced by the Chinese where two very separate socio-economic systems operate at the same time, free enterprise and the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Vietnam, the disparity is even greater since a passing view gives the impression of a society in which the Communist Party functions like an employment agency filling political posts while a free market economy swaggers like an adolescent who's suddenly becoming aware of his own sexuality. Under the weight of classic Marxism, Vietnam in the post-war years was an impoverished society, but with the advent of free enterprise under the Doi Moi policy, which began in l986, the economy started to explode. Pyongyang’s subsistence economy might not be desirable, but materialism has its downside too. Nothing is ever enough.

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