November 21, 2018

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Vietnam: a Speculative Bet on the Future

Vietnam: a Speculative Bet on the Future

Vietnam Speculative Future

Vietnam Speculative Future

I have just returned from my first visit to Vietnam – which some analysts regard as the most promising of all “frontier” markets – with mixed feelings about the country.

When I was taken to view the embalmed corpse of Ho Chi Minh, worshipped like a saint as the liberator of the nation, whose tomb in Hanoi is like a secular cathedral, it started me thinking what Vietnam would be like today if he had not started, driven and won the so-called “liberation” war.

Instead the French would have departed anyway, as they abandoned the rest of their empire, and as other European nations voluntarily liberated their imperial possessions after minimal conflict.

There would have been no three million dead, no horrible legacy of Agent Orange, and no lost decade (from 1975) of crippling economic failure largely caused by Stalinist centralized planning. There would be a similar ruling class focused on advancing its own interests, as everywhere else in Asia — but it would be a ruling class understanding the efficiency and wisdom of widely-based private enterprise.

Instead of still being very poor (annual economic output of just $1,240), Vietnam would today be more like Indonesia ($3,280), Thailand ($4,920) or Malaysia ($8,780).

Although its economy has been growing at an average rate of a scorching 7 per cent a year, much of the growth has been unsound, so Vietnam has now run into some serious problems.

article continued – The problem of bloated giants

and was followed by

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CopyRight – OnTarget January 2011 by Martin Spring

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