Vietnam: Navigating a Rapidly Changing Economy, Society, and Political Order

About the Book

In the late 1980s, most of the world still associated Vietnam with resistance and war, hardship, large flows of refugees, and a mismanaged planned economy. During the 1990s, by contrast, major countries began to see Vietnam as both a potential economic partner and a strategically significant actor, particularly in the competition between the United States and an emerging China, and international investors began to see Vietnam as a land of opportunity.

Still, Vietnam remains a Leninist party-state ruled by the Communist Party of Vietnam, which has managed to reconcile the supposedly irreconcilable: a one-party system and a market-based economy linked to global value chains. For the Party stability is crucial, and over the last few years increasing economic openness has been combined with growing political control and repression.

This book, a joint undertaking by scholars from Vietnam, North America, and Europe, focuses on how Vietnam’s governance shapes the country’s politics, its economy, its social development, and its relations with the outside world, and on the reforms required if Vietnam is to become a sustainable modern high-income country in the coming decades.

Despite the many challenges, some of which clearly are systemic, the authors remain optimistic about Vietnam’s future, noting the evident vitality of a society determined to shape an ever better future.

About the Editors

Borje Ljunggren is an Associate at Harvard University’s Asia Center and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

Dwight H. Perkins is the Harold Hitchings Burbank Research Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, at Harvard University.

Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources