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Martin Gainsborough


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Book Details


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.
Martin Gainsborough is a recognised international expert on Vietnam and its politics. He is a director of the Bristol-Mekong Project, and consults widely on aspects of Vietnam's politics and business, notably for the United Nations Development Programme, the UK's Department for International Development, and the World Bank. He teaches on development studies, Vietnamese and Asian politics, and state theory. He is author of Changing Political Economy of Vietnam (2003) and editor of On the Borders of State Power (2009).
'Clearly written and based upon extensive field work, his discussion of the value of theory amplifies a vivid focus upon the major issues Vietnam faces as the relatively easy development seen since the emergence of the market economy in 1989-91 morphs into her troubled transition to ‘middle income’ status and demands for higher quality economic growth.' Adam Fforde, University of Melbourne and Victoria University 'Vietnam: Rethinking the State is written in an engaging style and is wonderfully structured and organised. Stop, read and proceed!' Carlyle A. Thayer, author of War By Other Means: National Liberation and Revolution in Vietnam 'By challenging several concepts commonly used by observers of contemporary Vietnam - reform, the state, the centrality of national policy, and the rule of law - Martin Gainsborough has produced a lively, provocative analysis of political life in the country. His book is a must for specialists and non-specialists alike.' Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet, The Australian National University 'Vietnam: Rethinking the State provides a highly sophisticated yet always accessible and eminently readable discussion and analysis of key issues in the Vietnamese reform process that will be of keen interest to students, teachers, government officials, journalists, the business community and others.' Mark Sidel, International Society for Third Sector Research 'Gainsborough's Vietnam is a valuable source of conceptual and empirical information for Vietnam specialists, practitioners of governance reform, and comparative political theorists.' Thaveeporn Vasavakul, Southeast Asian Studies Specialist 'This book is an indispensable tool to make sense of the enormous transformations experienced by Vietnam over the last two decades.' Martin Rama, World Bank for Vietnam

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the author ii
Map of Vietnam vii
Preface ix
Introduction 1
An approach to studying politics 2
Continuity and change in politics 4
The inappropriateness of reform as an organizational motif 5
Structure of the book 7
1 Communist party rule 9
Box 1.1 Vietnam’s formal political system at a glance 10
Changing class interests under reform 12
State power 18
Transnational forces 19
From one-party rule to what? 21
Conclusion 23
2 New state business interests 25
Ho Chi Minh City’s depiction in the literature 26
Questioning the received wisdom 30
The rise of new state business interests 34
Box 2.1 New state business in Ho Chi Minh City in the 1990s 36
Existing state enterprises diversifying into new areas 36
The establishment of new state enterprises 37
The formation of private companies 38
The growth of the gatekeeping state 40
Table 2.1 Public-sector employment by local management in Ho Chi Minh City 41
Table 2.2 Public-sector employment in Ho Chi Minh City, 1990–98 42
Reformist or more parochial interests? 43
Conclusion: explaining Ho Chi Minh City’s evolution under ‘reform’ 45
3 Corruption 50
The literature on corruption 52
Decentralization 55
Recentralization 56
Tamexco’s rise 59
Tamexco’s fall 61
Why did Tamexco fall? 66
Conclusion 69
4 Hollowing out the state 71
Why did equitization initially proceed so slowly before speeding up? 72
The push factor: less hospitable conditions in the state sector 75
The pull factor: improving the private-sector climate 77
Assessing the performance of equitized enterprises 78
Box 4.1 Post-equitization performance in three provinces 79
The manner of equitization: future implications 80
Discipline and encouragement 81
The nature of ownership: insiders or outsiders? 82
The nature of ownership: concentrated or diffuse? 83
Box 4.2 Ownership breakdown of 336 equitized companies 84
Transparency 85
Valuing state enterprise assets 86
Continued state ownership: cash flow and property rights issues 86
Conclusion 87
5 Uncertainty as aninstrument of rule 88
Privatization as state advance 90
The companies 93
Company attitude to equitization 93
State attitude to equitization 94
How long did equitization take? 95
Shareholding structure after equitization 97
Company directors after equitization 99
Firm decision-making after equitization 99
Equitization as ‘private indirect government’ 101
Conclusion 105
Box 5.1 Additional background on companies interviewed 109
6 Local politics 111
Globalization and the state 113
Conceptualizing the state 117
Box 6.1 Why the state matters: views from enterprises in Vietnam’s Lao Cai and Tay Ninh provinces 119
Cross-border flows 121
Table 6.1 Expanded trade flows in the Greater Mekong Subregion 122
Private and transnational actors 123
Table 6.2 Private-sector growth in Lao Cai and Tay Ninh 123
Box 6.2 Transnational organizations in Lao Cai and Tay Ninh 125
A stronger state in the era of globalization explained 126
Box 6.3 Origins of private-sector actors in Vietnam’s Lao Cai and Tay Ninh provinces 129
Conclusion 133
7 Sharing the spoils 135
Box 7.1 What is the Political Report? 136
How have past congresses been analysed? 139
Past congress analysis critiqued 142
The circulation of patronage and political protection 146
Box 7.2 Changes to the Politburo at the Tenth Congress 148
How outcomes emerge 151
Conclusion 154
8 Elite resilience 156
Neoliberalism unpacked 158
Vietnam and ‘reform’ 160
Conceptualizing change 162
The pre-‘reform’ Vietnamese state 163
The post-‘reform’ Vietnamese state 166
Vietnam and the regulatory state 170
Explaining outcomes 172
Conclusion 175
Conclusion 177
How do people act politically in Vietnam? 178
Rethinking the state 180
Towards a new research agenda 184
What might a universal theory of the state look like? 186
Variation within the universal 188
Notes 191
chapter 1 191
chapter 2 192
chapter 3 193
chapter 4 195
chapter 5 196
chapter 6 197
chapter 7 198
chapter 8 199
conclusion 200
References 201
Index 221