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Binh P. Le. 2005. Doi Moi - A Selected Bibliography of Vietnam's Economic Transformation
1986-2000. Canberra: Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University.
a Selected Bibliography of Vietnam's Economic Transformation
Binh P. Le, The Pennsylvania State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Site established 1 Nov 2005. Last updated: 1 Nov 2005
This document is a part of a larger collection of the AnthroGlobe specialist bibliographies.
It forms a subsection of the
Asian Studies WWW VL and
Pacific Studies WWW VL.
For a Word version (with full diacritics) of the document see the Coombspapers FTP archive with two 750KB files doimoi-bibl-part-A.doc [material from "Acknowledgments" to "Foreign Trade"]
doimoi-bibl-part-B.doc [material from "Politics" to "Gender and Ethnicity"]
Do you have any corrections or addenda to this bibliography? If so, contact
the Editor at the email address listed above. Your input will be gratefully received and acknowledged.
I would like to thank the following institutions for supporting this project: The Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, the Abington College, the Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing at the University of Kent (UK), and the Australian National University. I would also like to thank especially the following individuals: Nancy Eaton, Dean of the Pennsylvania State University Libraries; Jack Sulzer, Associate Dean for the Commonwealth Campus Libraries of the Pennsylvania State University; Karen Wiley Sandler, Chancellor of the Abington College; Leonard Mustazza, Associate Dean of the Abington College; and T. Matthew Ciolek, Head of Internet Publications Bureau, Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies, The Australian National University for their support. Without the support of these institutions and individuals, this bibliography would not have been possible.
I would like to thank the following friends and colleagues at Penn State Abington: Pat Weaver, Glenn McGuigan, Lucy Wang, Kathleen Cinquino, Linda Kinter, Rachel Lang, Kathleen Pagano, Walter Cavalcanti, and especially Jeannette Ullrich. I would like to thank my wife Christine and our daughter Lida for their encouragement and support.
While relying heavily on the resources available at and through the Pennsylvania State University Libraries in preparing this bibliography, I had also benefited greatly from many institutions on the east coast of the United States, particularly the Library of Congress and Cornell University. In fact, nearly fifty percent of the resources included in this work were located "manually"- for there are neither electronic nor printed bibliographic utilities for Vietnamese periodicals - from the Kroch Library of Cornell University. The help of Allen J. Riedy, Curator of the Echols Collection on Southeast Asia of the Kroch Library of Cornell University, was also deeply appreciated.
Binh P. Le
At the early stages of the Vietnamese revolution, Vietnamese leaders disagreed over the issue of whether the Stalinist economic system, particularly with its strong focus on the development of heavy industry and total collectivization of agriculture, was appropriate under Vietnam's preexisting conditions. More importantly, they were not even confident that it was the right path for Vietnam's socio-economic development. Despite their misgivings about the Stalinist economic system, the government gradually implemented it in North Vietnam in the late 1950's. And following the unification of the country in 1975, the government also gradually imposed it in South Vietnam. And by the late 1970's, Vietnam completed the transformation of its semi-feudal, semi-capitalist, and semi-Stalinist economy into a Stalinist economic system or centrally planned economy.
Vietnam's Stalinist economic system, however, failed to deliver what Vietnamese leaders had hoped for. Broadly speaking, besides the inherent deficiencies of the Stalinist economic system, the lack of interest among peasants, especially the peasants in the South where most of Vietnam's agricultural land situated, toward collectivization; the primitive infrastructural and material conditions for industrialization; the wartime situation; and the economic embargo imposed on Vietnam by the United States were the decisive culprits for this failure.
By the middle of 1980's Vietnam's worsening economic situations were further aggravated when foreign aid, especially Chinese economic aid, was significantly reduced. This was perhaps the final blow that decimated Vietnam's Stalinist economy. It is because for decades Vietnam relied heavily, if not totally, on foreign aid for its survival. The economic situations were so desperate that many agricultural collectives and state enterprises simply ignored government regulations and conducted their own economic activities, e.g., refusing to work on collective farms, establishing "khoan chui" (secret contract) between collectives and families or between state enterprises and private merchants, and the like. These practices were commonly known as "pha rao" (fence breaking). Vietnamese leaders now began to recognize that they had failed to even meet the very basic economic needs of the Vietnamese, as they had truly hoped for. In fact, by the early of 1980's, Vietnam became one of the impoverished countries in the world.
In response to these crises, the Vietnamese Communist Party, at the Sixth Party Congress held in December 1986, decided to carry out a far-reaching political and economic reform program, commonly known as Doi Moi or Renovation. The main policies of Doi Moi were on decollectivization of agriculture, trade liberalization especially opening up the country for foreign direct investment, and marketization of state-owned enterprises. Interestingly, many of the fence breaking practices such as "khoan chui" (now the quotas contract system) became legal as well as important policies under Doi Moi. As it turned out, these policies not only helped restore the Vietnamese economy but also turn it into a vibrant economy. In fact, by the early 1990's Vietnam's economy became one of the fastest growing economies in the world. For example, Vietnam ranked third in rice export. And in 1996 Vietnam became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, an economic integration that was unimaginable only a few years earlier. Although Vietnam had not officially abandoned its Stalinist economic system, the existing economic structure was radically altered. In fact, only a few years after the implementation of Doi Moi, many Western economists had already classified Vietnam's economy as a market economy.
Vietnamese leaders intended to make Doi Moi a comprehensive economic, political, and social transformation. However, little progress has been made besides the economic realm. While there is no doubt that between1986 - 2000, Vietnam was more open (e.g., limited religious tolerance, ease on travel) than all of the decades preceding it, it is still a closed society. Vietnam is still a one-party state; the Communist Party of Vietnam is the only force in the society. In recent years Vietnamese leaders have allowed other political entities, besides the Communist Party, to play a limited role in the political system. However, Vietnamese leaders are still unwilling to transform their political system into democratic political system.
Despite all this, the economic transformation in Vietnam is an important one, and yet only a small number of studies on this topic have been carried out outside Vietnam. This is unfortunate. The success of Doi Moi alone merits critical studies, especially under the conditions with which it was carried out. Furthermore, while it is true that Vietnam was a socialist state at the time of the transformation, many of its economic and political characteristics were similar to the characteristics of the economic and political systems of many developing countries, such as the nationalization of all natural resources, the large public sector, the predominant role of agriculture, and the one-party political system. Finally, the market economy with socialist orientation model - a new experimentation - is something worth studying. In other words, the economic transformation in Vietnam may offer valuable lessons not only to underdeveloped socialist but also non-socialist developing countries.
This bibliography is composed of Vietnamese and English sources, published between 1986 and 2000, on the Doi Moi. As noted, Doi Moi was supposedly to be a comprehensive transformation; thus far, the only area with greatest achievements has been the economy. Consequently, the literature on Doi Moi has centered mostly on economic-related issues.
On English language sources, the emphasis is on scholarly and primary sources, which include monographs, scholarly journal articles, working papers, government and non-governmental documents, and theses. On Vietnamese language sources, the emphasis is on government or government-related documents, monographs and journal articles. It is important to note that because of the very limited political openness in Vietnam, there are very few non-government sources. In fact, most of the entries, including monographs and journal articles, listed in this bibliography were published either by the government's publishing houses or under the government's sponsorship.
To make the bibliography easily accessible, the work is organized into 14 chapters. Each chapter covers one topic area, e.g., agriculture, finance, politics, and state sector. In each chapter, entries are arranged alphabetically. For authors of English language publications, the arrangement of each entry is as follows: family name, first name, middle name. For authors of Vietnamese publications, the arrangement of each entry is as follows: family name, middle name, and first name. For example, the entry for Vo Nguyen Giap is Vo Nguyen Giap. Additionally, translation of Vietnamese titles into English is provided, except for entries that have already been translated.
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