Comparing Communism and Capitalism

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Communism vs. Capitalism


In Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, he describes the Communists as the party that "fights for the interests of the working class"(136), while in a Capitalist society, the "living person is dependent and has no individuality-----only capital is dependent and has individuality"(84). That is not the case of today's society once you take a closer view at the comparison and contrast of communist Vietnam versus the democratic United States of America through their economy systems, educational systems, judicial systems, and the life style of their citizens in general.


In a capitalist, democratic nation such as the U.S., freedom gives us just about everything and anything that the Vietnamese do not have under their communist government. Contrary to what Karl Marx has written in his manifesto, the living people of a capitalist nation (i.e. USA) of today are more independent and possess more individualities than ever. Economic-wise, Americans are the most progressive people in the world. The U.S. government is not directing the flow of its economy, but the individual businesses of its people are. These people have all the rights in the world to improve their businesses, as long as they are conducting them under the legal guidelines of the government. Such freedom in a capitalist society gives the Americans much greater advantages over the Vietnamese in improving economic conditions.


When we touch upon the subject of education, only eighty percent of Vietnam's population is educated. The government does not provide free public education to its people, and not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford it. Many children, especially those in the rural areas, are pulled out of schools as soon as they know how to read and write, for some parents also feel that learning Marxism-Leninism does not benefit their families' income, i.e., putting food in their mouth. Further education is really not an option, for these children also have to work in order to raise their families. Begging in the streets, polishing shoes, toiling on the farms are some of the many jobs that children at the age of five are actively doing, since finding food for themselves and their families is their sole occupation. Fortunately, children in many capitalist nations are provided with adequate tools and supplies in their public schools. Almost all of the American population has at least passed the elementary and middle school levels.

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College students who are in financial need do not have to worry much since the government is willing to give out grants and provide loans that can be paid back later on. Under Communism, education is really not as beneficial to an individual as it would be for someone living under a democratic society. In Vietnam for example, a job is still hard to find even if you possess a Masters degree in some sort of area. Again, you would either need some kind of connection with a higher authority, or you would have to work for the communist government.


In a communist nation, the judicial system can be very flexible at times. Crimes are rarely committed under such watchful eyes as the Communists, and the result of any crime would also be too harsh to bear. Safety is probably the best thing that the Communists can provide, but it can also be reversed anytime. By reversing, I mean that some people can also be convicted for not doing anything wrong. As long as someone (a local government cadre) possesses some sort of power, that person has all the right to convict you of anything that they want---yes, even without proof. On the other hand, the system also provides some safety to its people. Unlike in the U.S., crimes such as murdering, raping, robbing, and many others rarely or not even ever occur in communist Vietnam. People do not get away with them as easily as they do in America. There is no such thing as death row or parole in communist nations. Crimes are paid for immediately after they are convicted. Prisons do not have installed televisions nor nice beds for criminals. These prisoners have to earn the food that they eat by doing a certain amount of work for the time that they are sentenced to stay. Overall, the Communists1/4 judicial system works very well comparing to the one possessed by the Americans.


In a communist society, the citizens are a pretty much close-knit group. In countries such as Vietnam or China, most neighbors would know one another for many generations. Close friends treat each other as if they are their own family members. Families that are in the middle-upper to the upper classes can afford to live in brick houses, while the rest of the population (which consists of mostly middle-lower to lower classes) stay in wooden or even straw shelters (they are not really houses but more like shacks). Every corner you turn, poverty claims its existence. "Malnutrition and starvation are very common"(Editorial 2). Unlike a democratic society, freedom of speech does not take place in a communist society. Everything you do or say is being watched by government cadres or their spies (the Red Scare). In a capitalist society such as the Americans, family values do not exist in very many households; while in a communist nation such as Vietnam, "the family's sentimental veil"(Marx 24) remains despite the poor living condition in which many low-income families face.


Given these actual facts, Communism proves to not be particularly evil but can also be beneficial, too. On the same token, it limits the freedom and individuality that make someone who they really are. Even though Capitalism does satisfy individuality, yet, it tears away the ideal practices of family values and moral values, altogether. One cannot say that either Communism or Capitalism is healthy or unhealthy, because both of their existence place positive and negative effects on any present society.



Works Cited

Dam, Julie. "Release." The Gioi 16 Nov. 1995: 37-43.

Tran, Ha Nhu Ana. "Summer of Love.3/4 1997. (24 Jun. 1997).

Editorial. "The Vietnamese Generation X.3/4 Apr. 1995. (25 Jun. 1997).

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. "The Communist Manifesto.3/4 (25 Jun. 1997).


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