The objective of this thesis is to stimulate a broader view in thinking about strategic policies in economic development of lesser developed economies (LDCs), especially Vietnam. To achieve this, two related questions are considered/ proposed:
• Question One: Should the Vietnamese government increase, maintain, or reduce its role in its nation's economic development?
• Question Two: What should be the focus and priorities of any strategic policies adopted by the Vietnamese government?
In order to address these questions, the following areas will be looked into:
• Recent developments in economic development, especially strategic planning and the role the state can play in it, focusing on the potential problems associated with a second-best government and a second-best industrial policy.
• The current state of Vietnam's economy, its initial conditions, strengths and weaknesses, the unique characteristics of the Vietnamese people, threats and opportunities for further growth, what it can be learnt from past failures/successes, and how future improvements can be made.
• The compatibility and applicability of various competing Economic Development theories to the unique Vietnamese economy.
The findings suggest that:
On Question One - Government should both increase and decrease their involvement in the economy, depending on the task. The state should intervene to correct for market failures and establish the fundamentals needed for a market economy. However, the bureaucratic and administrative barriers erected for political purposes should be decreased.
On Question Two - Government needs to prioritise basic human essentials and the economic fundamentals above all else. In the medium term, once these fundamentals are established, or the problems addressed, the government can then focus on various strategies such as developing Industrial Policies (IP) or strategic subsidies. In the long-run, the nation can move toward deregulation, privatisation, and democracy among others, which should not be rushed but rather evolved into society.