“Economic Development and the Legacies of Socialism in Tanzania and Vietnam ” SOAS
Hazel Gray, London School of Economics (LSE)
ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
TUESDAY, 04 March 2014, 5 – 7 p.m.
SOAS Russell Square Main Building, ROOM G3
Over the last two decades of the twentieth century, attempts by some of the poorest nations in the world to construct socialism were swept away in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of neo-liberalism, and the constraints that emerged at the national level in the construction of socialism. The ensuing restructuring of economic systems on the basis of market principles had diverse outcomes for the group of countries that had adopted varied forms of ‘third world’ socialism. Among this group, two countries, Vietnam and Tanzania, experienced improvements in economic growth following liberalization – Vietnam became one of the world’s fastest growing developing countries while Tanzania reversed a decade of economic decline and became one of the fastest growing countries in Africa.
The turn-around in their economic fortunes was widely attributed to market liberalisation and governance reforms within the state. In contrast, I argue that the impact of attempts to construct an alternative path of economic development through state-led socialism reverberated throughout the period of liberalisation, affecting not only the structure of formal institutions at the heart of the state but also the wider distribution of power in society.