Archive for January 17th, 2014

Vietnam (scraps)

My Vietnam is like my China: accessed from the South, from the mega-urban, commercial culture, and from pre-communist traditions. It’s very much the view from Saigon (and that isn’t something I regret). Saigon would be a great place to live (in small part because the idea of calling it Ho Chi Minh City is a transparent joke).

Doi Moi looks like it should work a lot like Gaige Kaifeng (as a local version of generic ‘Reform and Opening’ in a ‘Market Leninist’ regime) — but it doesn’t seem to be quite working out. If rationalized corruptocracy is close to ideal limit of effective government among large states, Vietnam seems to have managed the corruptocracy far better than the rationalization. Infrastructure development — the magic sauce of recent Chinese hyper-growth — has not reached ignition. The country is too small to fund its own ambitions, and too chaotically kleptocratic to bring in foreign investment on the scale required. Despite many excellent things going for it, the country is floundering with a morose economic spirit that is almost Western.

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January 17, 2014admin 30 Comments »
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