Thursday, August 13, 2009

Phu Quoc

After my initial amazement of a private villa about 10 feet away from
the ocean for next to nothing, I've now had about 24 hours to get to
know this island. While the hotel and beach leave nothing to be
desired, except maybe the large volume of trash floating in the ocean,
it seems that this island is proof communism is alive and kicking.
Walking a few hundred yards down the miles of beach, hotels which have
been abandoned become a common sight - in some cases they are more
upscale, apparently too expensive for this venue, in others they look
the same as the rest, only they are falling in on themselves.
I say this shows communism is alive, even under "flexible communism,"
because land is owned by the government and therefore no one seems
keen on improving a site which could then be taken away again. Were
this a capatalist environment, I can not see a situation (short of
natural desaster) under which a beach front property would be let to
fall into ruin.
While there have been plenty of other small reminders of just how
different this place is from home, I think this is the one that has
made it clearest to me. If the standard of living is ever to rise,
certain frameworks would need to be established to create the right
incentives for small / medium non-farming businesses.

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