Globalization and issues in the formation of Vietnamese spiritual value system

Socialism construction reality Saturday, 23:16 29-10-2022
Abstract: In the context of globalization, the spiritual value system of Vietnam has undergone a dramatic transformation in the interweavement of old and new, domestic and foreign, universal and special, popular and unique, existing and thriving values. In addition to the opportunities, globalization poses challenges for selecting and constructing the system of spiritual values for Vietnam. The author discusses the solutions for these challenges such as positioning the value system of Vietnam in the current context; forecasting the changes in spiritual phenomena under the influence of globalization; promptly and actively construct the value system by inheriting and modernizing the traditional table of values, integrating international values, which are suitable for the development of the country.

Since the late 90s of the 20th century, globalization has become a widely used term, gradually going beyond its economic dimension and posing fundamental cultural problems that attract the interest of scholars around the world.

Awareness of the nature and movement of globalization, scientists have determined that globalization in essence is a process of increasing relationships, mutual influence, and interdependence of all regions and nations in the world. Globalization is a new and highly developed stage of the internationalization process that took place long time ago and will continue to happen in this century. In the context of globalization, the status and nature of relations among nations indispensably have certain fluctuations which are not only in width but also in depth. Communication, information exchange, and resource connection must be based on a common global culture. Globalization will inevitably lead to a shift in the form of thinking and the concept of values.

1. Concept of values and spiritual value system of the Vietnamese nation

The concept of value has been around since ancient times, associated with philosophy and within the structure of ethics. The term value is now used in various fields with different aspects. And in common understanding, values are meaningful things that satisfy human emotions, needs, wills, and purposes. In turn, values are standards and principles of people and society. Value refers to the evaluation, orientation, and adjustment of people and society in the process of reaching the true, the good, and the beautiful results of creative material and spiritual labor, promoting social progress. When it comes to social values, it is about the recognition of the members of the society as a good and positive thing for the development of the community. Value is inspected in two aspects: material value and spiritual value. Material values are mainly considered in terms of economy and material life. Meanwhile, spiritual values are expressed through aspects of ideology, science, ethics, and art… in the spiritual life of people and society. Spiritual value is the satisfaction of human needs, emotions, and purposes in social relationships, towards social development, initially the cultural life.

Spiritual values that are built within social relations and created by people determine the perception, attitude, and behavior of people in social life. The spiritual values of society regulate the complex relationships of people, creating unity and harmony in society. The spiritual value of society is surely based on basic economic relations in each historical period and inevitably depends on those basic economic relations. The spiritual value of a society always reflects the basic requirements of the society, orienting human behavior in accordance with the social circumstances and the developmental requirements of that society. The spiritual values do not necessarily need to be constant, but instead dynamic, according to the change of social circumstances.

The national spiritual value system is a collection of spiritual values structured in different hierarchies which are recognized by the community of the nation. The system dominates members of the community and has a positive impact on the development of the nation. The national spiritual value system not only expresses the spiritual values enumerated but also the organic and dialectical cohesion of values. The spiritual value system represents the position, meaning, and intrinsic and derivative relationships among the spiritual values of society. The value system is the core of each culture, fully expressing and focusing on the core spiritual life of the nation that created it.

Being born and developed from specific circumstances, natural conditions, and production methods, the spiritual value system of a nation always reflects its material life. However, once the value system is formed, it has its own life and is relatively stable. That stable “core” of the spiritual value system makes up the character and identity of each nation.

In the process of shaping and developing, the spiritual value system of a certain nation does not exist in isolation, but always moves and adapts the values of other nations aimed at enriching, and deepening its inherent core. At the same time, it is in the process of approaching and absorbing (passively or actively) the communities’ cultures that appropriate and positive values can be spread and replicated, and some (inherent) values can fade the influence and transform into its own contradiction when there are no longer positive impacts on its development. However, the process of forming and developing a spiritual value system should not be understood in a simple one-way manner. Under the influence of human consciousness, by means of the influence of the ruling class, the process of transforming, absorbing, eliminating, and arranging the value hierarchy becomes extremely complicated.

2. Opportunities and challenges of globalization in forming Vietnamese spiritual value system

Globalization is an objective trend that no country can deny. In that context, how do we contribute our uniqueness to the common cultural treasure? Which values of human culture do we adopt? How is the dialectic between “give” and “receive” shown in the international integration of spiritual culture? Moreover, in the context of globalization, the established spiritual value system is changing robustly. The mix of values between old and new; endogenous and exogenous; general and particular; common and specific; inherent and necessary, etc. created the value gaps of the times that have not been filled in the context of globalization.

Fully recognizing both opportunities and challenges that globalization is posing for the development of a spiritual value system is a necessary condition for us to choose and establish a spiritual value system that is suitable to the current scene. Since globalization is giving us golden opportunities for growth.

In terms of opportunities, globalization is the internationalization of cultural values of individual nations, forming universal values of humanity. The process of natural exchange, integration, and even struggle between cultures is a condition for exchange, propagation, diffusion, and mutual infiltration. When the individual values of each nation join the common human values, it will create the diversity of the cultural value system, building unified human values in diversity. Particular values join the common, universal, more open value system. The spiritual values of the nation in line with the requirements of the times still bear the responsibility of acting as a bridge to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and friendship among nations, as well as enhance the cultural exchange and international integration activities.

In the process of participating in the global value hierarchies, the inherent cultural strength of each country continues to be affirmed, sustained and enriched. The  attribute of  culture called  “cultural resistance”  has the  best opportunity to challenge each value to be developed and fostered sustainably in the process of integration. At the same time, along with the existing values, the new and strong spiritual values that have been widely recognized can find a place in the Vietnamese value system, helping to enhance or diversify the existing spiritual values.

In addition to giving all countries - including Vietnam - great opportunities, globalization also poses great challenges to the selection and formation of a national spiritual value system.

Globalization is a comprehensive internationalization process, including many aspects  such  as  economy,  politics,  culture,  science,  and  technology. It is difficult to separate into the specific aspects affected by globalization. Moreover, even if it is an objective process, the global spread of contents and values is influenced by human consciousness associated with national and class interests. The phenomenon of imposition culture and ideology of major countries in other countries on a global scale is a reality. Dealing with the impact of globalization deeply contains content of the national and class struggle.

On the other hand, the process of market economy development in the context of globalization and the disregard for moral and cultural education are leading to the forming a thought of attaching importance to material, changing the perception of people about values, especially the younger generation. The risks of assimilation of culture with signs like negative lifestyle changes and forgotten customs and traditional values are things to consider. Besides, the elimination and withdrawal from inherent spiritual values, lack of foundation, and no orientation towards the future are phenomena appearing in a part of people in Vietnamese society.

The above-mentioned positive and negative impacts created by the trend of globalization on nations exist side by side. Opportunities and challenges coexist organically. In that context, it is needed to grasp actively and creatively the advantages and disadvantages, opportunities and threats in order to transform it in the direction of ensuring the socio-spiritual foundation for development. This depends on our perception and method of action.

3. Direction to form Vietnamese value system in the context of globalization

First of all, it is necessary to identify the current Vietnamese value system.

Solving cultural and social problems of an era requires us to thoroughly understand what we have and what we need in the value hierarchies according to the requirements of history. In particular, the basic principle to build a value orientation is to derive from the development requirements of the country in each specific historical period.

The national spiritual value system is the product of the nation’s history. Cultural values can be considered an expression of the human qualities in the distinctiveness and characteristics of that nation. Vietnam’s cultural value is the crystallization of natural geographical conditions, resident characteristics, and production methods that have existed in the land of Vietnam for centuries. The spiritual value system of the nation is consolidated of all the quintessence that has been condensed during the formation, existence, and development of the nation, creating precious traditional values. These values represent the nature, characteristics, and core national culture, creating a potential and sustainable strength. Traditional values are created by generations of descendants. However, each nation cannot choose desired traditional values, but traditional values are formed on the basis of economic, historical, and social conditions of the nation itself throughout the development process. The spiritual value system of the nation is not eternal as well; it needs to be supplemented and renewed to get richer and more suitable with the characteristics and nature of time.

The national spiritual value system of Vietnam has been unanimously affirmed by researchers. These values are patriotism, solidarity, hard work and creativity, humanitarian spirit, compassion, and respect for people.

Positioning this system not only requires us to identify the values inherited from the traditional values but also requires analyzing the positions, meanings, roles, and impacts of these values (in different aspects and dimensions) in the context of current globalization.

Second, forecast the fluctuations of socio-psychological phenomena under the impact of globalization.

After over 30 years of practical implementation of the country’s renovation, we have firmly followed and step by step, sequentially, flexibly adjusted a direction of cultural development. We are well aware of the Vietnamese value system, inheriting it in the direction of development and integration. Basically, this value system has absorbed the quintessential values of the nation and the world, and also contains specific qualities that are shaping up in the new development phase of Vietnam.

Reality also shows that we are still confused and passive in dealing with the actual situations. The results of cultural studies have outlined the existing values but they have not really shown the forecast and prediction of the changing trend of the value system, the required content of the values as well as the scientific value ranking chart for Vietnamese people to cope with the change of reality.

Third, proactively and actively establish a value system on the basis of inheritance and modernization of the traditional value, integrate the values of the times, in line with the development orientation of the country in the current situation.

It is necessary to have the right and critical attitude of inheriting the traditional value system, in particular, to study to determine the criteria of traditional cultural values and the criteria for determining the quintessence of human culture to clarify what needs to be inherited, absorbed, and eliminated. Lack of criteria for evaluating values inevitably leads to two trends: either insisting that existing values are good and positive, or completely denying the old and welcoming the new without going through any set of filtering criteria. Inheriting and promoting traditional spiritual values cannot be separated from absorbing human cultural quintessence.

Keeping positive and proactive acts, we need to take advantage of opportunities, neutralize the challenges brought by globalization. At the same time, we also need to know how to impact the globalization process with our own roles and characteristics in the context of current globalization and integration. Forming a national spiritual value system needs to be associated with the process of building a new society, culture, and people that fit the times and requirements of the country in the current period. The value system must be constructed on the principle of knowledge and development, the principle of combining the endogenous and the exogenous, between the subjective idealistic desire and the performance conditions, and between the will of the leaders and community consensus. Value orientation must come from people’s expectations about their own conditions and performance. The value system needs to be general, easy to remember and understand, and easy to act on, test, and evaluate among the mass population. It is necessary to identify the responsibility for both developing the national value system and contributing to the construction of the global common cultural values.

It is necessary to actively bring Vietnamese values into the human value system, conveying the unique and distinctive characteristics of national values in line with global development criteria, step by step affi ming Vietnam’s position in culture. To achieve that, we must have an active, proactive, multilateral, and diversifi d diplomatic strategy; be friends with all countries in the world on the basis of respecting equal rights; and be making positive contributions to the peace and development of all mankind. Take advantage of every opportunity and activity to convey the valuable message that Vietnam chooses and protects.

Fourth, realize the spiritual value hierarchies effectively in social life.

To do so, it is essential to increase the effectiveness of the propaganda and education of values among the people. Deepen awareness of the role and meaning of the value system in the organization and development of society at all levels, departments, and among the masses.

Quickly and effectively renovate the method of education propaganda in all social groups, especially the young generation. Integrate and bring the task of moral and ideological training into all levels of education with an appropriate level and capacity.

Boost information and propaganda activities on the domestic and foreign mass media in various forms about the Party and State’s guidelines and cultural policies. Particularly, pay attention to communication on establishing values in the social community through diverse and creative forms of communication.

Continue reforming cultural institutions and creating an environment to effectively realize Vietnamese values. Create a social environment to nurture and promote the Vietnamese value system to permeate and spread robustly in social life. At the same time, create a mechanism to monitor, orient, and adjust cultural and social activities according to the good values established by official regulatory frameworks and minimize the factors that cause deviant and negative development in social life. Strictly handle cases of violations or negative impacts on cultural security. Gradually remove barriers preventing cultural connection and establish values so that each citizen is a subject of culture and can carry and spread virtuous spiritual values of the nation in other cultural communities. Strengthen policies to promote research and development combined with improving technology, especially communication technology on cultural and social values. In particular, it is necessary to create an appropriate mechanism for individuals, collectives, and organizations to participate deeply in the process of receiving global value chains; encourage activities that bring Vietnamese values to the world and establish new positive and suitable values to social life in Vietnam./.


  1. Tran Van Giau (1980), Traditional spiritual values of Vietnam, Social Sciences Publishing House, H.
  2. Nguyen Trong Chuan, Nguyen Van Huyen (co-editors) (2002), Traditional values to the challenges of globalization, National Political Publishing House, H.
  3. Nguyen Trong Chuan, Pham Van Duc, Ho Sy Quy (2001), Understanding traditional cultural values in the process of industrialization and modernization, National Political Publishing House, H.


Source: Journal of Political Theory and Communication (English), Issue 6-2021

Phan Thi Thanh Hai

PhD, Academy of Journalism and Communication

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