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Culture to be promoted on par with economics, politics and society: scientific, humanistic and revolutionary thesis

(PTOJ) - Stemming from the correct and profound awareness of the role of culture during the leadership of the Vietnamese revolution, the Party has always attached great importance to culture with the steadfast view that “culture must be promoted on par with economics, politics and society”. Speaking at the National Cultural Conference on November 24, 2021, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong reiterated this thesis in the new development conditions of the country. This article analyzes the scientific, humanistic and revolutionary nature of this thesis.

Culture is the vitality and ground water circuit that nourishes the nation and peoples. Culture has become the standard, way, fulcrum, belief, spiritual support, treasure of experience, foundation for people’s thinking and behavior in the present and for the future - Photo: tapchicongsan.org.vn

1. Inheritance, steadfastness and emphasis on the Party’s views in new conditions

Even when the Party had not yet seized the government, in the Vietnamese Cultural Outline (1943), the Party affirmed: “The Cultural Front is one of the three fronts (economics, politics, culture)(1). According to Ho Chi Minh, in the construction of the country, there were four issues that need to be promoted on par: politics, economics, society and culture. Ho Chi Minh affirmed: “politics in the broad sense is also culture, and culture in the deep sense is also politics; culture, art, like all other activities, cannot be left out, but must be in economics and politics”(2). This view has been continuously inherited, supplemented and developed by the Party in accordance with each period, reflected in documents of the Party congresses and conferences.

The Resolution of the 9th Plenum of the 11th Central Committee identified the following views: “Culture to be promoted on par with economics, politics and society”(3). The political report at the 13th Party Congress emphasized: “Associating economic growth with progress and social justice; promoting the human factor, taking the people as the center; promoting the role of culture - the spiritual foundation of society are the goal and driving force of development”(4); “Socio-economic development is the central task; Party building is the key task; cultural development is the spiritual foundation; ensuring national defense and security is a vital and regular task”(5).

Speaking at the National Cultural Conference (November 24, 2021), the General Secretary emphasized: Facing new opportunities and challenges, the objective requirement of the country’s revolutionary cause is to continue to build, preserve and develop an advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity for the longevity of the nation and the spiritual foundation and driving force for development; it is necessary to promote Vietnamese cultural values and human strength, arouse the aspiration for developing a prosperous and thriving country to create the synergy of the whole nation to take advantage of opportunities, overcome challenges, successfully implement the goal of turning our country into a developed, high-income, socialist-oriented country in the middle of the twenty-first century. The General Secretary summarized: “our Party’s awareness of cultural construction and development in the renovation period has been gradually supplemented, developed more and more fully, comprehensively and deeply”(6), in which the thesis “culture must be promoted on par with economics, politics and society” has been raised to a new height by the General Secretary with the connotations of adapting to the conditions of a socialist-oriented market economy, international integration and ensuring the country’s rapid and sustainable development.

2. The scientific basis of the thesis

Firstly, the thesis represents a right and appropriate perception of the role and position of culture in social development.

The General Secretary emphasized that “culture must be promoted on par with economics, politics and society” in development because first of all, our Party is well aware of the great role of cultural power: culture is the spiritual foundation of society, both a goal, a driving force and an endogenous resource for development; culture “lighting the way for the nation to go” is the characteristic and attribute element that makes up Vietnam’s socialism.

Culture plays the role of the spiritual foundation of society because culture is the living values created by human creativity, formed, solidly crystallized and accumulated over thousands of years of nation building and preservation, spreading in social life; culture is the vitality and ground water circuit that nourishes the nation and peoples. Culture has become the standard, way, fulcrum, belief, spiritual support, treasure of experience, foundation for people’s thinking and behavior in the present and for the future.

Culture is an internal force because it is the value of the community living on the S-shaped strip of land with geographical features, history, residents, etc., after thousands of years of country building and defending, creation and acquisition. Culture is transmitted, enriched, making Vietnam strong enough to defeat violent invaders and in turn, protect sovereignty, territorial integrity, and adapt to natural disasters. To this day, those cultural values are still hidden and present in all Vietnamese people and in every community, in the same vein as the subjects of national construction and defense. It is a huge source of internal resources for the country to draw from and integrate with the goals determined by the 13th Party Congress.

The culture of “lighting the way for the nation” is derived from the attributes of culture - knowledge, talent, intelligence, morality, lifestyle and soul of the people and of each national and ethnic community in relation to society and nature. With a vision of science and culture ahead, the Communist Party of Vietnam has linked national independence with socialism, and always uses culture as a tool to pave the way for the entire nation to lead the Vietnamese revolutionary from victory to victory.

The Party is well aware of the great role of cultural power due to its grasping the great social functions of culture: cognitive function (helping people to properly perceive the world to adapt, to improve the world, and to improve themselves); educational function (culture transmits human experience and knowledge to individuals and communities); aesthetic function (culture is a treasure to accumulate aesthetic values, impart aesthetic values satisfying aesthetic needs, develop people’s aesthetic capacity, and continue to evaluate, create new aesthetic values); entertainment function (culture can satisfy entertainment needs, make up for labor fatigue, develop artistic abilities, and create conditions for comprehensive human development); forecast function (on the basis of summarizing past and present experiences to draw future movement laws and trends, helping people create development); communication function (contact, cultural exchange through customs, practices, festivals, art, tourism, sports, diplomacy, cooperation, exchange, etc., create relationships between people and people, between countries, nations, regions, cultural sub-regions). Obviously, with creative values accumulated, developed into standards, recognized by the community, culture fosters right thoughts and noble feelings, raises people’s intellectual standards, fosters good qualities, healthy lifestyles, and directs people to truth, goodness and beauty. Cultural development is about perfecting human personality, building people to promote cultural development. People are the subject of creating, spreading and enjoying culture and the center of the development strategy.

Secondly, the Party is deeply aware of the impact of culture on the economy and other fields as a tremendous power to promote social development.

This is the principle of Marxism. Material production and economic development are the basis and the foundation that determines the existence and historical development of human society. Specifically, the economy ensures material life; society maintains and establishes relationships; politics creates trust, outlines the way ahead to the future, while culture carries out the mission of taking care of spiritual life, creating knowledge, motivation, belief and strength for people. With the established value system, culture contributes to building and adjusting thoughts and behaviors and directing people to truth, goodness and beauty. With such attributes, culture becomes a driving force for economic, political and social development when it contains values and knowledge, reflecting the movement laws of various fields. Thanks to culture (intelligence, knowledge, experience, etc.), human beings become the subject of the process of production and creation of material and spiritual values. The great values of spiritual culture (science, technology, management knowledge, etc.) create high-quality human resources - the most quintessential part of the productive force and promote the economy and other fields to develop in a faster and more sustainable way. Human resources, human cultural potential (intelligence, talent, morality, soul, personality, lifestyle, will, energy, etc., of each individual and community) are an endogenous strength and a tremendous resource. Just like that, cultural dynamics become a decisive factor affecting economic, political and social development, especially in the current context when science and technology is based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It can be seen that the most valuable resources are people, culture, high quality human resources, knowledge and wisdom in the knowledge economy that humanity is reaching. In the current context, culture is opening up the spirit of self-reliance, self-help, entrepreneurship, creating a new spirit, thinking of economic development with the intellectual strength and bravery to overcome difficulties and creativity of the Vietnamese. At the same time, the culture condemns unhealthy business practices, struggles with expressions of economic gain that destroy the living environment, and so on.

The cultural qualities of the Vietnamese Communists have made our country’s contemporary political field (the Party’s guidelines and policies, the State’s policies and laws, etc.) a crystallization of the wisdom of the whole political system and people as a framework for the country’s development. The current political culture of Vietnamese politics continues to aim at making the Party truly ethical, civilized and worthy to represent the supreme interests of the nation; constantly improves the political culture in each party organization, each party member in the whole society. Political culture must be strongly expressed in building and rectifying the Party, in the struggle to prevent and combat the deterioration of political ideology, morality, lifestyle, “self-evolution”, “self-transformation” in the process of building and revitalizing the national culture, shaping, adjusting and censoring human behaviors, regulating social relationships, purifying to absorb foreign cultures, enrich the national culture in the most sustainable way.

The reality of the world shows that many countries are rich in natural resources, but are still poor; on the contrary, some countries are poor in natural resources, but very rich in economy; some countries with a high happiness index are not economically strong because they attach great importance to raising people’s knowledge, developing education and training, training high-quality human resources and fostering talents, which means that culture is highly valued. After all, the most valuable resource or capital, the greatest motivation is people or culture. The advanced Vietnamese culture imbued with national identity that our Party and people have built is paving the way for the preeminent values of the socialist regime to be born and become a good way of life in the reality of our country’s society. That is the great to-and-fro impact of culture.

Vietnamese history proves: our ancestors defeated the most powerful and violent feudal empires with the intention to assimilate our nation through many invasions over thousands of years; under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, our people have defeated old colonialism, new colonialism and aggressive expansionism. All originated from the synergy - the strength of Vietnamese culture. Because, if compared in terms of material strength (economic, military, etc.), the invading forces were superior. On the contrary, as noted by the General Secretary: “sometimes, imitating foreign countries in a ridiculous, objectionable, non-selective manner (to put it bluntly “uncultured”, “counter-cultural”). These weak points and shortcomings have had consequences and negative impacts on socio-economic development, human construction and our cultural environment”(7).

The Party is well aware of the scientific nature of the great impact of culture on other fields because the Party clearly understands the essence of culture is creativity (culture is human creative and invention activities; people are the creators of culture, only humans can create culture; culture is the human level of the human being); humanity (culture is the human beauty that is only found in human beings to reach the peak of perfection; culture is the capabilities of human nature in all areas of individual and social activities); value (the creation of culture always originates from the need for human existence, so culture is a value - what society considers necessary, useful, noble and attainable). The universally accepted value system is the standard of truth - goodness - beauty. This is the basis to orient and link individuals and communities to activities in each economic, political, as well as social field, and at the same time to evaluate and adjust the behavior of individuals and communities in each field.

Thirdly, the Party is well aware of: culture shows the social power of human production and labor activities

It is known, production activities create the whole richness and diversity for human existence, forms man’s relationship with the natural world and man’s relationship with man in the social community - the source of culture. Over thousands of years, mankind has created very rich cultural, scientific and technological values, creating tremendous power, making human history progress from a low social system to a higher social system, from primitive to civilized. The content of culture is also reflected in the development and perfection of the human being both physically and mentally, both in terms of morality and intellectual capacity and aesthetic level. Therefore, the concept of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, culture - a specific mode of human life - is not only production activities to create material wealth for human life, but also spiritual, educational and enlightening activities to create spiritual products containing cultural values for people. As affirmed by the General Secretary, culture is what makes up the spiritual foundation of society, recognizes the height and depth of development of the social community, creates a system of humanitarian and human values for a community and crystallizes the best values in the relationship between people and people, with society and with nature. This is also the scientific nature of the thesis “culture to be promoted on par with economics, politics and society” stated by the General Secretary - the cultural creativity of the human subject in the relationship with creativity in other fields.

3. The humanity and revolution of the thesis

Culture actually belongs to human. Putting on equal terms with politics, economics and society is to attach importance to cultural and human factors in the development of such fields. It shows the humanistic nature of the socialist regime that the Party and people have oriented. It is a society of the people, by the people, for the people. If culture is not on par with other areas of development, it means that it either falls into an economic development path, in which economic growth is the only measure, or where there is no fairness, democracy, civilization in development opportunities, distribution and enjoyment of labor results (production relations). The General Secretary pointed out: “A basic feature, an important attribute of the socialist orientation in the market economy in Vietnam is to associate economy with society, unify economic policies with social policies, ensure economic growth is coupled with progress and social justice a every step, every policy and throughout the development process. It means, implement social progress and justice right from the beginning of economic development, absolutely do not “sacrifice” social progress and justice to pursue economic growth alone. On the contrary, each economic policy must aim for social development goals; each social policy must aim to create a driving force for economic development; The promotion of legal enrichment must go hand in hand with sustainable hunger eradication and poverty reduction, and take care of people with meritorious services and those in difficult circumstances”(8). “We consider culture as the spiritual foundation of society, the endogenous strength, the driving force for national development and defense; identify cultural development in harmony with economic growth and social progress and justice, as a fundamental orientation of the process of building socialism in Vietnam”(9). This is a principled and humanistic requirement in the thesis “culture to be promoted on par with economics, politics and society” emphasized by the General Secretary in the period of socialist-oriented market economic development and international integration today.

The thesis “Culture to be promoted on par with economics, politics and society” represents the revolution, because the country developed a socialist-oriented market economy which shows culture is part of of development. The General Secretary defined: “We need a society in which development is truly for the people without exploiting and trampling on human dignity for profit. We need economic development coupled with social progress and justice, not a widening gap between rich and poor and social inequality. We need a society of compassion, solidarity, mutual support, towards progressive and humanistic values, not unfair competition “big fish eat small fish” for the selfish benefit of a few individuals and groups. We need sustainable development in harmony with nature to ensure a healthy living environment for present and future generations, not to exploit, or appropriate resources, consume materials limitlessly and destroy the environment. And we need a political system where real power belongs to the people, built by the people and for the people, not just for a wealthy minority. Those good wishes are the true values of socialism”(10) that the Party and people are building and striving together. The socialist orientation as determined by the Party, the thesis that culture must be promoted on par with other fields in the development process must be expressed in every step of production and business; socio-economic development must be a step forward in cultural development towards the people and to develop for the people - the subject of the country as the basis for maintaining political stability, a peaceful environment, and the primacy of the socialist orientation in our country.


Received: 3rd April 2022; Revised: 18th April 2022; Accepted for Publication: 20th June 2022.



(1) CPV: Complete Party Documents, vol.7, National Political Publishing House, 2000, p.316.

(2) Ho Chi Minh: Complete Works, vol.7, National Political Publishing House, 2011, p.246.

(3) CPV: Documents of the 9th Plenum of the 11th Central Committee, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2014, p.48.

(4), (5) CPV: Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, vol.I, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, pp.99, 33-34.

(6), (7), (8), (9), (10) Nguyen Phu Trong: Some theoretical and practical issues on socialism and the path to socialism in Vietnam, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2022, pp.165, 167-168, 26- 27, 27, 21-22.


Institute of Culture and Development,

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics


Academy of Politics Region II

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