Classic tensions between farmers and real estate developers in Vietnam are highlighted in a New York Times article this week that focuses on rice fields that are being converted into golf resorts. It points out the playgrounds being developed for wealthy foreigners consume valuable resources needed for Vietnamese natives — like water and farmland.
The clash over capitalism in a communist country may not go away soon, but the cold reality is that if Vietnam wants to compete economically with further developed neighbors such as Thailand, Korea, and ultimately Japan, it probably will need to deal with this tension because people with development capital tend to play golf.
One analysis shows Japan, a country almost exactly the same size geographically as Vietnam, has 150 times as many golf courses; and for Vietnam to catch up with Thailand, it would need to add about 200 courses to its current 20. To push the comparison further, if Vietnam were Myrtle Beach, SC, it would have 35,000 golf courses.
Click here for the New York Times article on golf in Vietnam