There’s a famous scene in the movie A Fish Called Wanda (back at a time not so long ago when Hollywood was actually capable of making funny movies) when the Brit John Cleese says to the ugly American Kevin Klein: “You lost Vietnam.” And Klein angrily stammers: “Oh no, we did not lose in Vietnam. Vietnam was a tie.”
Well, maybe as we look at things fifty years later, we actually ended up WINNING that war after all. A forthcoming book by Rainer Zeitelmann called “How Nations Escape Poverty,” examined which nations have had the most per capita economic growth over the last several decades. You’re not going to believe the two countries at the top of this surprising list:
Vietnam and Poland.
What do those two countries have in common? They threw away the shackles of communism and moved aggressively in a cold turkey fashion to free-market capitalism. These two countries climbed up the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom faster than nearly any other countries. Now Vietnam is becoming the jewel of Southeast Asia and Poland one of the success stories of post-Cold War Eastern Europe.
Amazing, in roughly the last 40 years, the per capita real GDP in Vietnam has roughly quadrupled. In recent years Vietnam has continued to experience China-levels of growth. It’s all due to freedom and capitalism and no one in the streets of Saigon is marching for a return to socialism/communism.
Alas, the fawning for socialism these days only happens in rich countries.