Vietnam: From National Liberation to Trans-Pacific Vassal (1975-2015) | Piazza della Carina: The Vietnamese revolutionary government, during the first decade of its existence, struggled to make the transition from a war to a peace economy.
Given the scarcity of resources, skilled manpower and revenues, and under stress to protect its borders, the Vietnamese government attempted to ‘socialize’ the economy with few personnel and limited external support from the Soviet Union and its allies.
Power was concentrated, political militants and loyalists took command, although many lacked experience or expertise in economic development. Economic recovery was understandably dictated by political and military priorities. Politics was in command – trained orthodox economists were in retreat. The choice was ‘red’ over ‘expert’.
After decades of deprivation and sacrifice, many cadres sought and obtained access to scarce resources. A privileged elite emerged, especially in South Vietnam, where the US military occupation had spawned a huge black-market economy, and a large stratum of wealthy ‘middlemen’ who acted as ‘brokers’ with wealthy overseas Chinese businesspeople, especially in Hong Kong and beyond.
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