Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Vietnamese Social Security
I'm always startled by the contrasts in Saigon. As we sit drinking our $3.00 lattes at Gloria Jean's we look out on the early morning street life. This woman passes our window every morning on the way to deliver her load. The load is always like the one in the picture - two baskets filled with potatoes, yams, cassava, taro, bananas, avocados, etc. It has to weigh 50 or 60 pounds and she manages it with a serious limp. I don't know where she starts her journey, but she always pauses, puts down her load, and rests as she turns the corner into this little street. This is the Vietnamese Social Security system. There is no free ride or retirement age in Vietnam. You work until you can't work any longer and then your family provides. Families are large and close and very supportive. We have a Vietnamese friend who lives with his wife and 21 children and grandchildren in a 5 room house. Social Security is not perfect, but it is a safety net of sorts. That's what the family is in Vietnam. I don't know which system is better. I think it might be a combination. We warehouse our old and infirm. The Vietnamese work them until there isn't anything left in the tank.