VietNamNet Bridge – The number of “people’s servants” (civil servants) in Vietnam is perhaps highest in the world. Quang Vinh, a small commune in the central province of Thanh Hoa, has up to 500 civil servants, according to Vietnam Agriculture Newspaper.
In the feudal time, communes usually had only 3-5 civil servants. Under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong in the 15th century, the total number of civil servants from the district level upwards was only 5,370.
Today, besides civil servants at 11,112 communes, there are “servants” at central level, at provincial level (63 provinces) and at district level (698 districts). In addition, there is a lot of “servants” at village, hamlet and group levels.
However, the more civil servants we have, the more difficulty “masters” (people) have to suffer. Why? Because servants have the right of management and “masters” are the subject to servants” management.
The more number of servants there are the more things servants need to manage. As a result, there is less things that “masters” do not have to ask for license.
For example, “masters” did not have to ask for license for repairing houses until construction management “servants” appeared. Though certain management is needed, abuse of management right has raised difficulty for people.
The more servants there are, their efficient is less because of overlap of responsibility and duties. It sounds that all servants have power but when incidents occur, no servant bears responsibility. This is proved to be true for everything, from forest destruction to poisoned food. In addition, there are conflicts for interest among groups of “servants.”
The more servants are, the more “masters” have to pay to feed them. In Quang Vinh commune, local people have to pay up to 19 types of fees to feed 500 civil servants. On average, if one local produces 500kg of rice/year, he/she will have to pay 100kg to feed civil servants.
“Servants” tend to degenerate. We call officials “servants” to mean that they have to use their power to serve people. However, when they hold power, many servants have quickly become real masters. They abuse public power for their own interest, for their relatives” interest. This is a fact in any country but it seems to be a big problem in Vietnam, because we lack a strict and effective system to supervise power.
Why poor “masters” in Vietnam are so “wasteful” when they have so many “servants?” The answer is very simple: they have never been asked whether they need servants, how many and what kinds of servants.
Dr. Nguyen Si Dung
(Lao Dong Newspaper)