Doi Moi

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Đổi Mới (pronounced [ɗo᷉i mə̌ːi]; English: Renovation) is the name given to the economic reforms initiated in Vietnam in 1986 with the goal of creating a "socialist-oriented market economy". The term đổi mới itself is a general term with wide use in the Vietnamese language, however the Doi Moi Policy (Chính sách Đổi Mới) refers specifically to these reforms.


Doi Moi had been a long-standing process, starting with "exploratory changes" in agricultural production experiment in 1967 in North Vietnam, which turned out to be unsuccessful.


It was de facto a top-down reform program that required a handful of most influential high-ranking political figures of Vietnam in mid-1980s.[1] Facing economic problems such as hyper inflation, and worsening external and fiscal accounts, it was agreed at 6th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in December 1986 that the centrally management system dependent on state subsides was abolished and a focus was shifted to the creation of a market driven economy with different sectors where competitions between the private sector and the state in non-strategic sectors would exist.[2]

As a result of Doi Moi, privately owned enterprises were permitted in commodity production (and later encouraged) by the Communist Party of Vietnam; furthermore, the push to collectivize the industrial and agricultural sectors of Vietnam, previously the focus of intense efforts by the Communist authorities, was abandoned. Under Đổi Mới state subjects were defined for the first time by the Party as members of households.[3]

Doi Moi reforms led to the development of what is now referred to as the Socialist-oriented market economy,[4] where the state plays a decisive role in the economy, but private enterprise and cooperatives play a significant role in commodity production. On the one hand, the Communist Party of Vietnam has reaffirmed its commitment to the socialist economic orientation, and that Doi Moi renovations of the economy are intended to strengthen socialism.[5]

On the other hand, Doi Moi was inspired not only by socialist conceptions but also by the example of the newly industrialized countries in East and Southeast Asia. Indeed, in 1987-1989, the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia enabled Hanoi to improve its relations with the various ASEAN countries, and thanks to this rapprochement, the Vietnamese leadership gained substantial insight into the modernization process of these states.

For instance, in November 1987 a Vietnamese economic delegation headed by Deputy Premier Vo Van Kiet visited Indonesia with the aim of studying the recent development of the Indonesian economy. The delegation drew the following lessons from Indonesia's experiences. First, they concluded that priority should be given to the development of agriculture, particularly food production. Second, industry should serve and assist agriculture. Third, oil production would stimulate the development of chemical industry and other branches of manufacturing. Fourth, favorable conditions should be provided for foreign direct investment.[6]

Before 1988, there were no private enterprises operating in Vietnam, apart from family firms that did not employ wage labor.[7] As of 01/01/2007, the number of private companies registered reached Fourty thousands.

The economic reforms that introduced market forces in Vietnam are likened to modern Chinese economic reform.

Almost overnight the "big bang" economic liberalization transformed a stagnant peasant economy into a vibrant, market-driven, capitalist system.[8] The apparent and sudden swelling of ranks of petty entrepreneurs produced a boom in local markets and the emergence of 'street front capitalism' in urban areas.

Some sources claim that there was already a shadow market of unregulated enterprises operating in Vietnam before Doi Moi. They were often family oriented commercial and peasant enterprises, financiers, currency traders and smugglers. The informal market provided vital goods and services that sustained Vietnam during its bleak years between 1975 to 1986. Doi Moi, then, was not the beginning, but the turning point in the evolution of the informal sector. The informal sector was not spawned by 1986 Doi Moi policy reform, as some observers have assumed. Instead, the shadow economy helped set the stage for economic reforms by supporting peasant agriculture, fostering the accumulation and productive investment of local capital, creating urban goods and services, maintaining a spirit of entrepreneurship, and proving to the government that an alternative path to national development was possible.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vuong, Q.H.; Dam, V.N,; Van Houtte, D.; and Tran, T.D. (Dec 2011). "The entrepreneurial facets as precursor to Vietnam's economic renovation in 1986". The IUP Journal of Entrepreneurship Development VIII (4): 6–47. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Brian Van Arkadie and Raymond Mallon,[1] VIET NAM: a transition tiger. Asia Pacific Press, January 2004
  3. ^ Jayne Werner Gender, Household and State in Post-Revolutionary Vietnam Routledge p51 "under Đổi Mới state subjects were defined as members of households"
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Balázs Szalontai, The Diplomacy of Economic Reform in Vietnam: The Genesis of Doi Moi, 1986-1989. Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 51, Issue 2 (June 2008), pp. 199-252. Downloadable at .
  7. ^ Wolff, Peter (1999). Vietnam: The Incomplete Transformation. pp. 73–80. ISBN 978-0-7146-4931-3. 
  8. ^ Freeman, Donald (April 1996). "Doi Moi Policy and the Small-Enterprise Boom in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam". The Geographical Review 86: 178–197. doi:10.2307/215955. 
  9. ^ Napier, Nancy K.; Vuong, Quan Hoang. What we see, why we worry, why we hope: Vietnam going forward. Boise, ID: Boise State University CCI Press, October 2013. ISBN 978-0985530587.

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