Industrialization in Vietnam

Zachary Hanoyan

Controversial, Corrupt, Oppressive, Rapid, Damaging

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Similarity Between British and Vietnamese Industrialization

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Hanoi Before and After the Effects of Urbanization

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Images' Explanation

The current state of industrialization in Vietnam has resulted in severe pollution, horrific working conditions, and child labor. As shown in picture 1, air pollution from the factories is poisoning the country of Vietnam. In addition to the factories, the picture helps show a massive consequential increase of motor vehicles in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh after the effect of urbanization; adding to the root of the pollution problem that is dirty fuel. According to Pham Duy Hien, a pollution expert and adviser to the Swiss-Vietnamese Clean Air Program, the two cities "have PM10 levels of about 80 micrograms per cubic meter, double the current level in Bangkok and well above the guideline of 20 set by the World Health Organization." The photograph depicts how this is just a part of the modern Vietnamese lifestyle, as packs of people ride by the pollutant smoke on their fuel-powered bikes without a care. Picture 2 displays the terrible working conditions in which these factory workers are forced to live. It shows the crowded, hectic, laborious conditions that the workers eat, breathe, and sleep. The working men and boys without there shirt on intensively sew in a windowless room, while the supervising woman watches over it all. In picture 3, a very clearly young girl is photographed in a Vietnamese textile factory. The close-up on the innocent child's face shows that these individual workers are young and naïve; not suitable to work 18-hour days with little benefits and a pay equivalent to $47 per month.

Controversial, Corrupt, Oppressive, Rapid, Damaging

The age of Industrialization in Vietnam has proven to be controversial, corrupt, oppressive, rapid, and damaging. As China starts to utilize Vietnam's land for its own profit, Vietnam's newfound competitive spirit shines light on the controversy and damage this phase in Vietnamese history has brought. Anti-China riots have occurred in which factories have been lit on fire in result of Vietnam's recently sparked nationalism. Evidently, the Vietnamese people feel as though they need the business that industrialization has given them. The damaging effects are also shown in the severe air and water pollution brought along with industrialization. The corruption and oppression is undeniable as the country has now began to conduct forced labor on many of its own citizens. To produce internationally-sold goods like clothes from Columbia Sportswear, drug abusers have been illegally forced into what is virtually intense two-to-four year long factory detainment as a pathetic excuse for "drug treatment". Contrary to what it is called, over 90% of those who are let go from the factories promptly return to drug abuse following release from their "treatment". Other than the numerous laws this breaks such as the ILO Convention 29, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these unpaid workers have reported "being beaten with wooden truncheons, shocked with electrical batons, or placed in solitary confinement" as punishment for even of the most negligible errors, according to laborrights.org. Not only is this era awful for the aforementioned reasons, it is also rapid. The outcome of this amoral period is that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City respectively now top the chart of economic growth rate for global cities. The Vietnamese cities' power is growing exponentially due to the industrialization.

Predictions

They say history repeats itself, and Vietnam should be no exception. Following the Industrial Revolution in England, labor laws were made, workers' unions were formed, and social reformers found their voice. All of these contributed to more civil national working and living conditions for the people. Although labor laws in Vietnam were already in existence, just not enforced, they are now starting to become important. As of 2008, IFC and the International Labour Organization are working on the "Better Work Vietnam" program. This is intended to "strengthen relationships between international buyers, local enterprises, governments, and worker organizations to improve working conditions and competitiveness," according to ill.org. All this sounds great, but it will take time to become effective, just as the laws on labor in England were not all placed overnight; instead they took action over the course of years. In an oppressive country like Vietnam, many social reformers likely struggle to voice their opinion. Just as in England, though, it is only a matter of time before they start to find their voice and make the change they need. Whether workers' unions will suddenly form or a revolutionary social reformer will soon surface, drastic change is definitely in the cards for Vietnam. Eventually the massive growth rate of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh will start to plateau, and the Vietnamese people will learn how to handle their newfound industrial "success".