Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vietnamese Politics & the New Market Economy

I took this picture at the Reunification Palace earlier.  Ho Chi Minh's image is very prominent in Vietnam.  He is everywhere, and it is clear that there is a sort of cult of personality profile with this thing.  

There are only several things you are not allowed to talk about in Vietnam.  The number one thing is politics.  You can not be critical of the system.  This is what a few scholars have noted in terms of Vietnam's slow transition to a market driven economy.  Đổi Mới is the term for the change in the way they operate things.  Gradually new laws and regulations emerged in order to allow a market driven economy to function.  Essentially before 1986, there was no real tort courts.  Vietnam basically is rewriting itself on the fly.  

Vietnam wants to be the China of South East Asia.  You are allowed to be an entrepreneur, but you are also not allowed to say the government structure is wrong.  You can say things are corrupt.  Corruption, like in China, is a big problem, and they have to acknowledge this aspect.