Vietnam: Rethinking the State

Martin Gainsborough

Zed Books, 2010

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Vietnam: Rethinking the State offers an exciting and up-to-date look at the politics of this fascinating country as it seeks to make the transition from war-torn economic backwater to a dynamic and modern society. The book argues for a move away from the commonly associated idea of “reform,” arguing for a deeper understanding of the concept and questioning the idea of state-retreat. The result is a path-breaking book which gets beneath the surface of Vietnam’s politics in a way which few outsiders otherwise could.

Table of contents :
About the author……Page 3
Map of Vietnam……Page 8
Preface……Page 10
Introduction……Page 16
An approach to studying politics……Page 17
Continuity and change in politics……Page 19
The inappropriateness of reform as an organizational motif……Page 20
Structure of the book……Page 22
1 Communist party rule……Page 24
Box 1.1 Vietnam’s formal political system at a glance……Page 25
Changing class interests under reform……Page 27
State power……Page 33
Transnational forces……Page 34
From one-party rule to what?……Page 36
Conclusion……Page 38
2 New state business interests……Page 40
Ho Chi Minh City’s depiction in the literature……Page 41
Questioning the received wisdom……Page 45
The rise of new state business interests……Page 49
Existing state enterprises diversifying into new areas……Page 51
The establishment of new state enterprises……Page 52
The formation of private companies……Page 53
The growth of the gatekeeping state……Page 55
Table 2.1 Public-sector employment by local management in Ho Chi Minh City……Page 56
Table 2.2 Public-sector employment in Ho Chi Minh City, 1990–98……Page 57
Reformist or more parochial interests?……Page 58
Conclusion: explaining Ho Chi Minh City’s evolution under ‘reform’……Page 60
3 Corruption……Page 65
The literature on corruption……Page 67
Decentralization……Page 70
Recentralization……Page 71
Tamexco’s rise……Page 74
Tamexco’s fall……Page 76
Why did Tamexco fall?……Page 81
Conclusion……Page 84
4 Hollowing out the state……Page 86
Why did equitization initially proceed so slowly before speeding up?……Page 87
The push factor: less hospitable conditions in the state sector……Page 90
The pull factor: improving the private-sector climate……Page 92
Assessing the performance of equitized enterprises……Page 93
Box 4.1 Post-equitization performance in three provinces……Page 94
The manner of equitization: future implications……Page 95
Discipline and encouragement……Page 96
The nature of ownership: insiders or outsiders?……Page 97
The nature of ownership: concentrated or diffuse?……Page 98
Box 4.2 Ownership breakdown of 336 equitized companies……Page 99
Transparency……Page 100
Continued state ownership: cash flow and property rights issues……Page 101
Conclusion……Page 102
5 Uncertainty as aninstrument of rule……Page 103
Privatization as state advance……Page 105
Company attitude to equitization……Page 108
State attitude to equitization……Page 109
How long did equitization take?……Page 110
Shareholding structure after equitization……Page 112
Firm decision-making after equitization……Page 114
Equitization as ‘private indirect government’……Page 116
Conclusion……Page 120
Box 5.1 Additional background on companies interviewed……Page 124
6 Local politics……Page 126
Globalization and the state……Page 128
Conceptualizing the state……Page 132
Box 6.1 Why the state matters: views from enterprises in Vietnam’s Lao Cai and Tay Ninh provinces……Page 134
Cross-border flows……Page 136
Table 6.1 Expanded trade flows in the Greater Mekong Subregion……Page 137
Table 6.2 Private-sector growth in Lao Cai and Tay Ninh……Page 138
Box 6.2 Transnational organizations in Lao Cai and Tay Ninh……Page 140
A stronger state in the era of globalization explained……Page 141
Box 6.3 Origins of private-sector actors in Vietnam’s Lao Cai and Tay Ninh provinces……Page 144
Conclusion……Page 148
7 Sharing the spoils……Page 150
Box 7.1 What is the Political Report?……Page 151
How have past congresses been analysed?……Page 154
Past congress analysis critiqued……Page 157
The circulation of patronage and political protection……Page 161
Box 7.2 Changes to the Politburo at the Tenth Congress……Page 163
How outcomes emerge……Page 166
Conclusion……Page 169
8 Elite resilience……Page 171
Neoliberalism unpacked……Page 173
Vietnam and ‘reform’……Page 175
Conceptualizing change……Page 177
The pre-‘reform’ Vietnamese state……Page 178
The post-‘reform’ Vietnamese state……Page 181
Vietnam and the regulatory state……Page 185
Explaining outcomes……Page 187
Conclusion……Page 190
Conclusion……Page 192
How do people act politically in Vietnam?……Page 193
Rethinking the state……Page 195
Towards a new research agenda……Page 199
What might a universal theory of the state look like?……Page 201
Variation within the universal……Page 203
chapter 1……Page 206
chapter 2……Page 207
chapter 3……Page 208
chapter 4……Page 210
chapter 5……Page 211
chapter 6……Page 212
chapter 7……Page 213
chapter 8……Page 214
conclusion……Page 215
References……Page 216
Index……Page 236

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