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The 12th Party Congress’ views on socio-economic development for 2016-2020

(LLCT) - Based on the five development views mentioned in the Strategy for socio-economic Development 2011-2020 and given the actual socio-economic development in the 2011-2015 period and the new situation, the Party’s 12th Congress came up with four views on socio-economic development for the 2016-2020 period.

Vietnam ranked 4th globally in footwear exports, first 6 months of 2016 _ Photo: masimex.vn
 

Based on the five development views mentioned in the Strategy for socio-economic Development 2011-2020 and given the actual socio-economic development in the 2011-2015 period and the new situation, the Party’s 12th Congress came up with four views on socio-economic development for the 2016-2020 period as follows.

The leadership and management of socio-economic development must be continuously innovated. Efforts must be concentrated on perfecting the socialist-oriented market economic system. A modern market economy, which integrates into the international economy, has multiple forms of ownership and various economic sectors, is functional fully, consistently, effectively and in conformity with market economy laws, and allows equal, transparent competition, should be established. At the same time, the State needs to make use of institutions, resources, regulatory tools, and distribution and redistribution policies to develop culture, practice democracy and social equality, ensure social security, gradually increase social welfare, improve people’s lives, and narrow the rich-poor gap(1). Thus, compared to the first development view mentioned in the Strategy for Socio-economic Development 2011-2020, “Fast development must occur at the same time as sustainable development, and sustainable development must be a requirement running through the strategy”(2), the Party’s 12th Congress’ development views are different to some extent. This is inevitable because realities have changed. Globalization and international integration have become increasingly profound and extensive and have exerted a strong impact on socio-economic development in many countries including Vietnam’s. The market economy, progress, equality, democracy, the rule of law, cooperation, and the combat for national interests are all common trends of humanity. The country’s international integration, particularly economic integration, has increasingly intensified. Moreover, after 30 years carrying out the renovation policy, the country has gained a much more important position and greater strength. The Party and State has accumulated experience in their leadership, management and administration of socio-economic development. In the five-year period (2011-2015), although we achieved a good number of important results, there were numerous limitations and weaknesses. We were therefore required to continue renovation in a dramatic, drastic, creative manner.

The Party has emphasized that for the 2016-2020 period [we must] first and foremost continue to transform and innovate the leadership and management of socio-economic development and focus on perfecting the socialist-oriented market economic system. Since the world situation is changing unpredictably and science and technology are developing fast, the leadership and management of socio-economic development must be innovative and avoid dogmatism or blind or mechanic imitation. Furthermore, it is the incomplete socialist-oriented market economic system that has prevented the market economy from being consistent, complete, modern, or transparent. The remnants of the subsidization system and “ask-give” mechanism remain existential but take twisted forms and are hard to be overcome. They have hindered fast development and have caused the economy to become less wholesome. They have provided breeding grounds for the negative sides of the market mechanism and have exerted a negative impact on all aspects of society.

While focusing on perfecting the market economic system, the Party has emphasized the role of the State in persevering with the socialist orientation. The State plays a role in the development of culture, practice of democracy and social progress and equity, ensuring of social security, gradual increase of social welfare, improvement of people’s living standards, and narrowing of the rich-poor gap. To fulfill this role, the State must make reasonable use of institutions, resources, regulatory tools, and distribution and redistribution policies. Thus, this development view has connected economic development with development of culture and society and care for people. Once this development view is translated into reality, sustainable development views mentioned by previous Party Congresses will be realized.

Fast, sustainable development is to be ensured on the basis of macro-economic stability and continuous increases in productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness. A harmony of profound and extensive development should be achieved with importance attached to profound development. The knowledge-based and green economy should be developed. Economic development must be closely tied to development of culture and society, protection of the environment and proactive response to climate change. National defense should be ensured and peace and stability maintained for national construction(3). Thus, this second development view approved by the 12th Congress also has new points compared to the one mentioned by the 11th Congress, “Economic and political renovation must be carried out consistently and suitably for the goals of building a socialist Vietnam which has a wealthy population and which is strong, democratic, equitable and advanced”(4).

This development view carried on with the spirit of the 11th Congress, which aimed to ensure fast, sustainable development on the basis of macro-economic stability. What is new about it is that it pays close attention to the increase of productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness. We all know that without macro-economic stability fast growth cannot be achieved. However, if macro-economic stability is achieved while labor productivity is not high and the competitiveness of the economy is poor, fast growth is unlikely. Therefore, determining the general socio-economic development objective for the 2016-2020 period, the Congress emphasized, “Macro-economic stability must be ensured. Economic growth must be higher than in the previous five-year period. Strategic break through must be made. Economic restructuring must accompany change of the growth model and increase of productivity, efficiency and competitiveness”(5). Fast growth must occur at the same time as the development of the knowledge-based economy, protection of the environment, proactive response to climate change, and ensuring of national defense, security and peace.

The 12th Congress established a connection between fast growth and the development of the knowledge-based and green economy. Although this is a high requirement given the current condition, this is an inevitable trend in the economic development of humankind and also a requirement for Vietnam. The Party pointed out that in achieving fast growth, we must “establish a close, harmonious connection between economic development and the development of culture and practice of social progress and equity”(6). It considered “the protection of the natural environment to be both the content and objective of sustainable development”(7). This is a correct development view which reflects the need to overcome limitations and weaknesses, satisfies development requirements and follows the trend in sustainable development and progress of humankind.

The socialist law-ruled State should be perfected. The State’s management effectiveness and efficiency and its development planning should be improved. Efforts should be concentrated on creating institutions, mechanisms, policies, environments, and conditions which are increasingly transparent, safe, and favorable for people, businesses, free creativity, investment, business, and equal competition in the market economy. People’s right to mastership should be strongly encouraged in the perfection and enforcement of laws, mechanisms and policies on socio-economic development. Human rights and citizens’ rights must be ensured. A modern administration should be built and it must be professional, dynamic and responsible and gives top priority to serving people and national interests(8).

Thus, the 12th Congress’ third development view also has new points compared to that of the 11th Congress: “Democracy should be expanded. The human factor should be fully tapped; people should be considered to be agents, major resources and objectives of development”(9). The 12th Congress determined the role the socialist rule of law in the management and planning of socio-economic development and development of institutions, mechanisms and policies aimed at creating a favorable and optimal conditions for all citizens and businesses to bring their abilities, strengths and creativity into full play and contribute to socio-economic development. The State plays an important role in promoting people’s right to mastership, ensuring human and citizens’ rights. This third view also shows the State’s role in establishing a modern State administration which considers serving people and national interests the most important objective.

Thus, the Party’s consistent view is that the socialist law-ruled State and State administration has no other purpose than serving people and national interests. To that end, State administration must be modern, professional, dynamic and responsible. In fact, this thinking has been mentioned by the Party and State, but the 12th Congress for the first time proposed it as a socio-economic development point of view.

It is necessary to make full use of domestic resources while proactively integrating into the international community and mobilizing and using effectively foreign resources for fast, sustainable development. Favorable conditions must be created for significant development of Vietnamese businesses, especially private ones, and improvement of the competitiveness and autonomy of the economy(10).

This fourth development view has something in common with the 11th Congress’ fifth development view: “The economy is to become increasingly independent and autonomous given the fact that international integration has furthered deepened”(11). However, the 12th Congress’ fourth development view has some new points. It emphasizes the role of domestic resources in relation to foreign ones. It highlights the importance of creating favorable conditions for the Vietnamese private sector and private businesses to serve as the driving force behind the economy and improve its competitiveness and autonomy. This is absolute in conformity with the spirit of dialectical materialism. Domestic resources play the decisive role while foreign resources play an important role; foreign resources can only be tapped through domestic ones. Moreover, in reality, the domestic resources are enormous but have not been fully tapped or brought into full play. If we manage to create a favorable environment, the domestic resources will be maximally exploited for socio-economic development. At the same time, this development view also expresses the Party’s consistent thinking where “the State sector plays the leading role and the private sector is an important driving force of the economy”(12). This is a new point in the Party’s theoretical awareness of the role of the private sector in the socialist-oriented market economy.    

As mentioned earlier, in its first view, the Party focuses on transforming and innovating its leadership and management and perfecting the socialist-oriented market economic system in the context of international integration. The Party reaffirms and elaborates on its view on the socialist-oriented market economy and emphasizes the role of the State in ensuring the socialist orientation of development. This view laid the foundation for other views. The reason is that we need to adopt a unanimous understanding of the nature of the socialist-oriented market economy before discussing modes of development. The second view is on connecting modes of development with change of the economic growth model and economic development with the development of culture and society and protection of the environment and natural defense and security. Obviously, if we do not establish such connection, it is impossible to persevere with the socialist orientation of development because culture, society, environmental protection and natural defense and security are the clearest manifestations of this orientation. The third view mentions the perfection of the socialist law-ruled State of of people, for people and by people and improvement of State administration. The objective of this view is that the State and State administration must manage to up hold people’s democratic rights and create most favorable conditions, environments, mechanisms and policies for socio-economic development. The State and State administration must consider the serving of people and national interests to be the most important objective. The fourth view concerns the dialectical relations between domestic and foreign resources and calls for proactive integration and good use of foreign resources for fast, sustainable national development. This is because for fast development we must definitely be engaged in international integration. But if sustainable development is to be achieved, we must mainly rely on ourselves. At the same time, [we must] create every condition for Vietnamese businesses, especially private ones, to develop in order to increase the competitiveness and autonomy of the economy. This is absolutely in agreement with the Party’s point of view which considers the private sector to be an important driving force behind the socialist-oriented multi-sector economy.

In summary, the four views which the Party’s 12th Congress put forward cover all of the country’s requirements, objectives and tasks for socio-economic development. These views are inherently and dialectically related to one another. They influence and supplement one another as well. The first view serves as the foundation, and the others elaborates on it and help to carry out objectives and tasks.

Having a good grasp of these views, we are likely to maintain the socialist orientation. To have a good understanding the development views mentioned by the 12th Congress, the entire Party, army and population must be profoundly aware of each and every guideline, policy and solution for socio-economic development and, especially, know how to apply, concretize and implement them effectively.

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(1), (3), (5), (6), (7), (8), (10), (12) CPV: Documents of the 12th National Congress, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, pp.269, 270, 271, 299, 141, 270, 270- 271, 103.

(2), (4), (9), (11) CPV: Documents of the 11th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2011, pp.98, 99, 100, 102.

Prof., Dr. Tran Van Phong

Institute of Philosophy

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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