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The Effects Of Globalization On Vietnam History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

The nation of Vietnam can be traced back all the way to about 939 C.E. when it was no longer property of ancient China. Since that time it has had a very rocky history of being occupied by many different nations including the United States and France (Osbourne 2004). Unlike most heavily occupied areas such as Vietnam they did not really start to become more developed until the 1980’s, about a decade after the Vietnam War (Brauw & Harigaya 2004). It was at this point in time that Vietnam really started to develop quickly and become more modern in order to catch up with the rest of the more developed nations of the world. But, even though some good things did come out of Vietnam becoming a more globalized nation, there are still many more reasons as to why many awful things have occurred. Overall, globalization has not been necessarily good for the people of Vietnam.

History since Colonialism

Many would have to look farther back in time in order to examine the accounts as to what happened to a nation under colonial rule. For Vietnam one must only look back about 60 years. After French colonialism had ended one could already see the changes that had begun to occur in the nation. For example, before French colonialism Vietnam had been a nation based on family and community working together (Clark & Schirokauer 2008). But now after French occupation, the Vietnamese people began to shift slightly towards a more nationalistic society. This occurred through taxation, realignment of property, and patterns of labor recruitment which shifted them more towards nationalism and farther from a society based on the family and community (Clark & Schirokauer 2008).

This is what happened in South Vietnam. In North Vietnam something different occurred. In the mid 1950’s after the French had left Vietnam, Ho chi Minh came to power and was completely set on changing Northern Vietnam into a socialist state (Clark & Schirokauer 2008). One of the steps involved in this revolutionary step forward was the removal of what were known as class enemies. In response to this announcement, over 800,000 northerners fled to southern Vietnam. When all was said and done the northern Worker’s Party had killed over 50,000 people (Clark & Schirokauer 2008). The lives of many middle class people were spared because of their knowledge and expertise in various fields, but were stripped of their wealth. Many of the upper class people were not as fortunate. Many of these people were brutally killed and their land was then redistributed amongst the landless (Clark & Schirokauer 2008).

When the “Purge” was finished the remaining amount of the northern Vietnamese gave into Ho Chi Minh’s socialist government. It was at this point that Ho Chi Minh turned his attention to reuniting the north with the south, especially now that new colonial powers were beginning to take interest in the south (Clark & Schirokauer 2008). This was a terrible decision that was made by Ho Chi Minh because the north was already suffering from rather extreme poverty and a very basic agricultural economy. Combine this with this grand economic modernization that Ho Chi Minh was planning for and already Vietnam was off to a bad start at this point. So instead of addressing poverty or the primitive agricultural economy, Ho Chi Minh turned his attention to unification (Clark & Schirokauer 2008). This major decision was probably one of the first of many that ended up playing a part in the eventual Vietnam War.

Now the Vietnam War itself is wealth of information that cannot be summarized all too easy but it is important to briefly go over none the less. When the war was over it was the communist party or North Vietnam who were the Victor’s. The country as a whole was left in ruins, but South Vietnam was in shambles. With millions left homeless, areas stripped of life through napalm, and 3.5 million landmines causing roughly 2,000 deaths a year it is safe to say that the south was worse off (Clark & Schirokauer 2008). Now though the country was to be united under one rule, the communist party rule and it is safe to say that tensions were high between the two.

Population and Consumption

Moving much forward in time now is the Vietnam of today that has went through massive development and has come as far as to become the 150th nation to become a member of the World Trade Organization (Brauw & Harigaya 2004). But this massive development is not all that good. This massive development has led Vietnam to create major differences between the urban and rural areas of Vietnam. For example, although poverty as a whole has been lowered in the past few years, there are still many rural areas in Vietnam, such as the Northwest and the Central Highlands, where poverty is over 70 percent (Brauw & Harigaya 2004). Also people in rural areas make about half as much as those people who are working in cities. There is also a clean water problem with many rural areas. Of the Vietnamese population 23 percent of people don’t have access to a clean water supply, most of these people live in small rural towns (Brauw & Harigaya 2004). The main reason that this is happening is because of massive migration of rural workers to the more profitable urban areas which in turn was caused by the massive development of various cities in Vietnam. With the increase of globalization and development in Vietnam, various cities and urban areas led to more profit from working there. This in turn led to the migration crisis that is now the main cause of the divide between the rural and urban people of Vietnam. The bulk of money being made in Vietnam is in the urban areas while those in the more rural areas do not have as wide access to more people and therefore more products are being consumed in urban areas than rural (Brauw & Harigaya 2004).

Hunger and Poverty

As previously mentioned there is an ever increasing difference in the standard of living for those in rural and urban areas. Another fact that should be mentioned in that four fifths of the Vietnamese population lives in rural areas (Haugton & Haughton 1997). And because of the massive wage difference and how most of Vietnam’s wealth is generated from their cities, most of the population of Vietnam is rather poor. In fact malnutrition is one the biggest problems in some areas in Vietnam today (Haugton & Haughton 1997). In fact in 1993 22 percent of Vietnamese children were about 3 to 4 inches under the average height that they should have been (Haugton & Haughton 1997).


The environment has also not really benefitted from this modernized Vietnam either. There are various places within Vietnam that factories are built that are horrendously polluting the surrounding areas (Claudio 2006). For example, in one traditional village in the Hue province, there is a brick making factory that runs seemingly nonstop. It is located in a beautiful part of the countryside and due to its construction has destroyed many of the surrounding forest in order for it to be built (Claudio 2006). This was only one example too; there are many others examples such as this that could also easily be used. In fact, Vietnam has been on such a bad streak of polluting that it was home to the Sixth Annual Scientific Occupational and Health conference to see if that would help changes their ways (Claudio 2006).

Disease and Healthcare

The main forms of disease within this country are caused by various factories releasing pollutants into the surrounding areas, malnutrition, or other poverty related illnesses. As mentioned before there was the brick factory in the poor rural Hue province, it just so happens that this factory is also right next to a small village that is getting those various pollutants pumped at them every day (Claudio 2006). Also as mentioned malnutrition is a major issue amongst the Vietnamese, especially the children with 22 percent of them being under the height they should be (Haugton & Haughton 1997). That combined with most of the population being poorer than the smaller urban minority, one can see how difficult it can be in order to provide themselves with health care.

Another awful thing that has to be dealt with by the people of Vietnam is their exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a product of the U.S. as part of the Vietnam War. Its purpose was strip bare the jungles of Vietnam and was one of the deadliest herbicides ever created (Shivakumar 1995). During the Vietnam War over one million hectares of land was destroyed and this land today is virtually unusable because it would need over 100 years for the soil to fully recover (Shivakumar 1995). Sadly people today still live in many of the areas that were affected. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to Agent Orange can cause great damage to the nervous system, drastically increase the risks of getting cancer, and also increase the risk of birth deformities (Shivakumar 1995).

Indigenous Peoples

All that can really be done here is the reiteration of what was said previously. Fourth fifths of the Vietnamese population lives in rural areas. It just so happens that the rural areas are the more poor parts of the country with some areas reaching as high as 70 percent poverty rates (Brauw & Harigaya 2004). There are also the factories that pump out various pollutants into the local villagers air supply to make for harder living (Claudio 2006).

Specifically these poor more rural northerners are indigenous people of Vietnam known as Highlanders who live in the northern highlands of Vietnam (Mcleod 1999). These people have primarily lived in poverty for most of their lives due to the Vietnamese revolution from 1930 to 1975. It was the highlands that were completely ravaged by battle as Northern Vietnam started to purify the area. Then when the Vietnam War came about the area became even more ravaged and the Highlanders were thrown further into poverty (Mcleod 1999)

Vietnam did achieve a lot. Within a matter of years they became one of the economic powers of the world and became the 150th member of the WTL (Brauw & Harigaya 2004). But, overall this massive amount of development and globalization did not help the people as a whole within the nation. Instead it seems as though these people were forgotten about in an attempt to be respected by the rest of the developed nations as a nation that deserves attention. Vietnam might indeed have great massive cities and a great market economy, but beyond the urban areas is a nation and its people that need a lot of help to become whole again.

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