Key to Success
Posted by Paul Hargreaves on
I am nearing the end of my annual two week holiday - the only rule being each year we go somewhere I haven’t been before!
This year it was the turn of Vietnam, where we travelled for a couple of weeks - well actually slightly under this year as I need to be back early this week for last minute preparations for the innaugural "Cotswold Fayre Charity Ball" this Friday 13th - a few tickets still available if you aren't coming yet!!
Despite being a communist country (still!) Vietnam shows more signs of entrepreneurship and enterprise than many so-called developed countries, very similar to China in that respect, although they would not want to be compared to their large next-door neighbour. True a lot of the agriculture still seems to be organised by the People's Party - the land parcelled up and apportioned in same-size chunks to each family, but in the cities there is no end to the ballooning of small and large enterprises. Some of these are partly funded by western governments e,g, USA and France (maybe out of guilt for the atrocities that have been committed here by their former governments?) but much of this is just individuals and families desperate to make a living.
That determination (some might say desperation) in poor countries without a social welfare system breeds enterprise. I am not suggesting that we adopt this policy in the UK, but the backstop of a social welfare system does mean that enterprise is inhibited rather than encouraged. How many of the young people currently unemployed in the UK, Ireland or Spain for example could start their own businesses by getting off their backsides and doing something. They might cry out that they need money from the banks and the banks aren't lending, but many businesses can be started without a lot of capital. I started Cotswold Fayre by buying a few boxes of product, sticking them in the back of the car, which was a very battered, old one in those days, and flogging them to local shops. It really isn't rocket science! That's what they do in Vietnam and some of the young people I have seen selling stuff on the streets will turn into major enterprises, I am sure.
There is a downside to the enterprise culture and this was echoed in the UK by Maggie Thatcher who created a culture of enterprise but also said that communities were not important. In the "each man for himself" culture community can disappear as everyone is fighting against each other, and I have seen some examples of that here, but as the society develops hopefully this will disappear. Let's face it they are only 1.5 generations away from the worst war in one country the world has ever seen. Did you know that more bombs were dropped on Vietnam by the USA in the war here, than during the 2nd world war in all theatres of operation. Qutie astonishing!
By the way the food here is absolutely fantastic. The freshness, quality and flavours brilliant - we need more Vietnamese restaurants in the UK! Maybe that's my next project. Meanwhile in the UK, trading has been terrible for the last few weeks, after a brilliant May, more weather induced than anything, but I am hoping that I return to better trading conditions for now through the Olympic season - I am sure we will.
Have a good week.