Corruption and Accumulation in Vietnam

Vietnamese Patterns of Corruption and Accumulation: Research Puzzles” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2022.2037010) is an article by Adam Fforde of the Asia Institute at the  University of Melbourne, and Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University, in Australia.

The article abstract states:

This article explores ways to better understand corruption in Vietnam and the nature of Vietnamese capitalism. Given the current state of research, its arguments are not conclusive and focus upon empirics and issues in existing research. Regarding empirics, good data imply that corrupt payments by firms to Party officials are now so large – perhaps a quarter of gross domestic product – that their macro-systemic impacts must be, whilst still unclear, substantial. At such levels they likely have been allowing their recipients rapidly to build large asset-holdings. But the Party’s generalised protection of demands for corrupt payments remains muted. Importantly, 2007 Party Directive #15 has been protecting Party members from corruption investigations, so that in effect they are not illegal. The research available, however, commonly treats Vietnamese corruption mainly as an indicator of state dysfunctionality, which fails to embrace the possibility that it is central to contemporary accumulation processes. The speculative argument is that at some point “pirates become businessmen” and the Vietnamese state will then shift, historically, from protecting corruption to protecting capital. In this framing, the decentralised nature of asset accumulation conditions political change.

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