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Identifying the objects of social development management in the market economy and international integration

(LLCT) - Social change in Vietnam is a "dual change" process, not only from traditional agricultural civilization to modern and industrial civilization, but also from the centralized planning management mechanism to the multi-sector commodity economy, under the regulation of the State, and then to a socialist-oriented market economy. The most typical social changes in Vietnam over the last 30 years of innovation include changes in social structure; changes in social stratification; changes in social mechanism / social institutions; changes in social relations; change in value systems, social norms; changes in the need for benefits; psychosocial change, behavioral patterns and lifestyles; labor structure change; changes of social welfare systems and social safety nets ... Clearly identifying the dimensions of social change is the basis for effective and sustainable social development management.

Keywords: social development management, market economy, international integration.

 1. Social change - the object of social development management research

Social development

Social development is a natural historical process, rooted in the needs of life and production of people; at the same time, it depends on the views, directions, and actions of social management actors. Social development is a consequence of social development management. Social development is approached and interpreted in a wide/narrow range, depending on the definition of the term “society”. Social development in a broad sense is development in all fields such as economy, culture, and society. Social development in the narrow sense is the development of people, social groups, and social relations. Therefore, social development is measured by the change of elements in the social system, which is the change of social structure. The main contents of social development are the movement and change of social structure.

Social development management objects

From the concept of social development mentioned above, it can be seen that the object of social development management is the movement and change of social structure. V.I. Lenin pointed out: “The structure of society and government have many changes, without understanding these changes, it is impossible to take a step forward in any field of social activities. The problem of the future depends on the understanding of this change”(1). The analysis of changes in social structure is very important and necessary, it is the basis for the management of social development, it ensures a reasonable social structure and is in accordance with the country’s socialism oriented development process.

There are many different views on social structure, but basically, social structure always refers to “two sides”: the constituent elements of the social system and the nature and extent of relationships among the elements. Analysis of social structure must be about the constituent elements, the nature and degree of relationships among the elements; clarifying the movement of factors and change in the level and nature of relationships among elements to indicate the trend of social structure movement, along with the movement and change within the social system.

A society with a systematic character, containing many elements (social structure). In social structure, there are basic layers such as social strata; territory; population (demographics); occupation, ethnic group, and religion. Analysis of social structural change is the analysis of the changes of the components, the basic social structure layers, and the level and nature of the relationship between them.

Social change

Social change is the social process in which the constituent elements of a society or the whole social system change from one state to another. Social change is the change over time of one or more elements or all the elements that make up the whole society. Social change is a social process in which the elements of society and the whole social system change from one state to another(2). The concept of social change stated above that any change in the composition and structure of society is called social change. Social change takes place at the scale, structure, and composition of society such as with social groups, social status, culture, social networks and the entire social system that these elements create. Along with the structural dimension - the social system also has a time dimension: any change takes place within a certain time frame can be temporary or lasting. Social change can take place gradually according to the law of evolution or take place forcefully and rapidly under the impact of social revolutions. The change can be in a progressive direction, characterized by the next state reaching a higher level of perfection than the previous state. It is also possible to change society in a recessionary manner, with the subsequent state being worse than the previous state(3).

Social change is a common phenomenon, but it is not the same across all societies. Social change is not parallel, positive, and homogeneous with development and progress. Social change involves both intrinsic changes of the social field, and each element that constitutes this field is both inclusive and reflects the changes as a social consequence of external changes, social, economic, cultural, political and environmental impacts on people, on social relationships and structures.

Aspects of social change include: (i) Demographic changes, (ii) Environmental changes, (iii) Political changes, (iv) Economic changes, (v) Change in ideology, (vi) Changes in culture and religion, (vii) Changes in technology and technique. The process of social change is a process influenced by many factors, in which social management activities play a particularly important role. This is reflected in the theory system of economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental development creating a sustainable and harmonious model for social change. It is a system of guidelines, policies, and laws on economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental development to ensure specific conditions for social change. Conditions like having a contingent of people who carry out undertakings, policies, and laws on economic, political, cultural, social and environmental development to ensure conditions for fulfilling the commitment of society to communal change. These activities can range from festivals, institutional systems, and social institutions controlling the implementation of social change processes... These are the binding conditions for the implementation of social change for people and progress. Identifying social changes, meaning, looking specifically at the content, causes, scale, trends, and complexity of those changes.

Management of social change

Management of social change is a structured and organized impact of management entities on social change processes to ensure elements of social system activities continue in a positive, synchronized and sustainable direction. This process takes place in a social interaction environment between the subjects of the political system and the areas outside the political system. For example, the state issues rules and regulations for social change; while society clearly identifies its interests and collective actions to promote social change in a positive way. Thus, management of social change is bringing the effects of policy institutions and conditions to the objects that it can be positive enough to stimulate and develop. At the same time it can prevent or at least minimize the negative, regressive side(4).

Today, the process of modernization is a trend of social dominance that has changed the value hierarchy and norms in society, many values and rules oriented and established in the past are no longer available and accepted in modern times and vice versa. Vietnamese society is undergoing a process of rapid social change with complicated and unpredictable movements. This raises the urgency to change the social management model and method from traditional to modern ones. To ensure the right change, it is necessary to enhance the leadership of the Party, the State’s management, and the participation of all social strata in an active, creative manner, based on scientific knowledge. It can be noticed that at the micro-level, there are more positive changes than at the medium and macro levels.  Short-term social change is more positive than the social change in the long-term; compared to the period before 1986, the current period experiences more rapid and positive changes. However, compared with the requirements of reality and with other countries of similar conditions, we can see that social change in Vietnam currently faces a lot of problems(5). That reality calls for strengthening social change management activities, especially the management of social structure change.

2. Social structure change in Vietnam today

Social change in Vietnam is a “dual change” process, Social change in Vietnam is a “dual change” process, not only from traditional agricultural civilization to modern and industrial civilization but also from the mechanism, centralized planning management of subsidies to a market economy, regulated by the State(6). The study of social change in Vietnam over the past 30 years has been the study of social changes associated with the country’s renovation process. Social change in Vietnam has been affected by the enormous attraction and thrust of the domestic and world economic, political, and cultural context; of tradition and international integration; of uneven development laws across regions, social strata and domains; especially socialist orientation without precedent... Of which, social change can be easily identified in the following dimensions: changes of social structure; changes of social stratification; changes in social institutions; changes in social relations; changes in the value system, social norms; changes in the need for benefits; psychosocial changes, behavioral patterns and lifestyles; labor structure changes; changes of social welfare systems and social security nets. These are the most typical social changes in innovation occurring in Vietnam. In particular, the social structure has been heavily changed, with the emergence of new social strata. Currently, social stratum structure in Vietnam by definition, includes: (i) workers; (ii) farmers; (iii) intellectuals; (iv) entrepreneurs; (v) young people; (vi) women; (vii) the military; (viii) elderly people; (ix) pensioners; (x) religion followers; (xi) ethnic people (ethnic minorities); (xii) civil servants and officials; (xiii) Vietnamese living abroad(7).

Change in social strata

From the centralized economic mechanism of subsidies to the market economy, the structure of social strata in Vietnam has changed to a structure with many social strata. Some social classes have existed for a long time and some have newly emerged; some social classes are defined while some are not. Social strata in the country are currently in the process of advocacy and change. They are difficult to be identified, formatted, and measured. Social strata change and intertwine, creating complexity and make it difficult to identify social classes of each person and each social group. Identifying and defining social strata has been an urgent need, a practical question that needs answers from policymakers and scientists as a basis for social development management.

Along with the diversity of social strata, the position and nature of social strata also fluctuate and change along with economic, cultural, and social changes. The interests of social strata both have unity in common goals (national independence is associated with socialism, for the goal of the rich people, strong country, democracy, justice, civilization), and differences. The relationship between different strata of society is both cooperative and a struggle amongst the people, in the cause of building and defending the Fatherland under the leadership of the Party(8).

That practice requires ensuring a reasonable social stratum structure with a multi-component economy and a process of accelerating industrialization, modernization and international integration, meeting the requirements of institutional development, and socialist social strata structure. At the same time, there must be effective social management solutions and policies suitable for social strata to harmonize the settlement of social relations, ensuring the harmony of interests. On that basis, a great bloc of national unity is created based on an alliance between the working class, the peasantry and intellectuals, under the leadership of the Party, for national independence and communism festival.

The changing social structure of residence: urban areas - rural areas

The process of accelerating industrialization and modernization leading to the expansion of urban areas and narrowing rural areas. Subsequently, increasing urban populations more than rural residents is an indispensable trend in the social development of the country today.

The formation and expansion of urban areas in our country has increased the population living in urban areas, creating new content subject to social development management. It is the relationship between urban and rural areas, urban residents and rural residents, and the correlation between material and spiritual life between urban and rural areas. The current issue is effective implementation of urban management mechanisms, narrowing the development gap between urban and rural areas, and strengthening rural-urban connectivity.

The transition from rural residents to urban residents is a process, not only a change of production methods but also a change of lifestyle. The transition in lifestyle for new urban residents will take place for a long time. Building a healthy, civilized, and modern urban lifestyle is especially important as building people is the goal of the development strategy.

The process of accelerating agricultural and rural industrialization and the implementation of the National Program on New Rural Construction has created a new face for the rural area, and with it has changed many aspects of the rural residents. Rural social development management has been demanding appropriate policies and solutions to build a healthy cultural and social environment, contributing to educating and training people about personality, religion, virtue, lifestyle, resisting temptation, and alienation via an unhealthy lifestyle.

Change in the social structure of occupations and labor

The diversity of occupations in our country now leads to diversity in the labor structure, creating diversity and complexity in social labor. Labor demand, and diversity in the labor structure has posed problems in the social labor supply and social labor management. This is a big and urgent problem for the market economy, promoting industrialization, intensive international integration, and the fourth industrial revolution. It becomes even more urgent when our country’s labor output has not met the demands of the labor market which requires accelerating industrialization, modernization, and international integration. Low labor quality leads to low labor productivity and low wages which hinder economic growth, imbalances between supply and demand, labor surplus in rural areas, and labor shortage in industries and services. About 70% - 85% of workers in the non-state sector mainly in individual households and scattered small production. They are often informal with low technology levels, backward production methods, low labor productivity, and a lack of self-awareness and labor discipline. Therefore, social development management must focus on training and retraining in order to provide society with workers that have qualities like personality, intelligence, creative capacity, physicality, soul, responsibility, social skills, fulfill their citizen obligations, and comply with the law. To achieve this, it is necessary to promptly grasp the changes in industries and labor in our country today to use as a basis for social development management in the field of trade and labor. Completing mechanisms and policies to develop synchronously and unite the labor market in terms of size, labor quality, and occupational structure is a pressing social issue today.

The diversity of occupations and social labor entails a diversity of interests, income, living standards, and increasing social division in all aspects of social life. The convergence of these factors raises social conflicts, containing a multitude of social problems that require timely and satisfactory resolution to minimize the number of social conflicts brought by the change in the occupational and labor structure. In formulating and implementing socio-economic development policies, attention must be paid to the lives of laborers, especially low-income laborers and disadvantaged people, progress and social justice must be present in each policy as well as step by step development to ensure stability and development.

The issue is ensuring a reasonable industry structure, thereby ensuring a reasonable social labor division, creating motivation for production development, human resource development, social security, human security, environmental protection, and sustainable social development.

Change in the social structure of the population (demographics)

The population in our country currently has wild fluctuations in many different directions, especially in the following dimensions: quantity, scale, and structure. Although the population growth rate in our country has been controlled, the birth rate has not been sustainably reduced. The imbalance in the sex ratio at birth is a prime issue that creates difficult social problems. A rapidly aging population creates new circumstances for social security and care for the elderly. The distribution of the population between regions is not even.

The inadequacies of the population structure have been negatively affecting the quality of life, labor quality, and human resources in development. Carrying out the task of building a new man to meet the task requirements of industrialization, modernization, and international integration requires a balanced structure of gender, the right age to facilitate the improvement of the quality of human resources, quality of life, ensuring social security, and human security. Therefore, in the near future, the country must continue to renovate and perfect the population-family planning policy and to implement the population and family strategy well. The country must invest in improving the quality of the population, human development index, ensuring the total replacement fertility rate, gradually reducing the imbalance in the sex ratio at birth, etc.

One part of the population change is migration. In our country, in recent decades, migration has rapidly become an issue in terms of quantity, scope, scale, and nature. There are two kinds of migration, the planned migration when we build hydroelectric projects, industrial parks, expand transportation infrastructure,... and the “unplanned” one - free migration.

Free migration takes place in all regions, localities, and ethnic groups in all modes and scales. There is international, domestic, and intra-regional migration, with the main flows being from North-South, rural-urban, and East-West. International migration tends to increase with overseas study, labor export, seasonal migration to foreign countries to do business, etc. Free migration is considered a prominent social issue in the population changes in our country today.

The current situation of migration in the country has posed many social problems that must be solved such as labor and employment issues in both origin and destination; social security, human security; preserving and promoting cultural values and community; maintaining political security and social order and safety; national security and protection of national sovereignty; etc. Social development management cannot abandon the management of population changes brought about by migration.

Change in the social/ethnic structure

After more than 30 years of renovation, the socio-economics of ethnic minorities has made substantial progress along with the development of the country. Infrastructure and the economy have developed and people’s lives have been improved more than before. Despite many efforts, reality shows that the socio-economic situation of ethnic minorities still faces many difficulties, sluggish development, and a high poverty rate. The restoration, conservation, and development of ethnic culture within these new conditions face many difficulties; the tangible and intangible culture of some ethnic groups has been eroded and is hard to recover; etc.

The prominent content in today’s changes in our country’s national structure is the shift in the places many ethnic groups live. A significant number of ethnic minorities in the Northwest and Northeast regions have freely migrated to the southern provinces, concentrated in the Central Highlands, creating a diversity of ethnic groups in these provinces. It is easy to see that the results of free migration among ethnic minorities have created a mixture of ethnic minorities in some areas, changing the “demographics map of ethnic minorities” in the country. That implies many political, economic, cultural, and social issues that need to be resolved to maintain political and social stability.

Solidarity of ethnic groups plays a strategic position in the cause of the country’s revolution, being the driving force and resource in building and defending the country. Building solidarity among ethnic groups requires management of change in the structure of ethnic societies, ensuring equality among ethnic groups, respect, solidarity, harmonious settlement of relations, creation of development, and evident changes in all areas where many ethnic minorities reside.

Change in religious social structure

In recent decades, religion has been strongly campaigning and changing along with the socio-economic development of the country on the following content: the number of followers; worship facilities, derivatives of new religious forms, religious activities, etc.

The changes can be clearly seen in the following directions: (i) International integration is becoming more and more extensive, giving rise to new content in religious practices, (ii) Ethnicization and associated religions attached to ethnicity, embodied in the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the religious goals of every individual religion follower, (iii) Increase in the number of places for worship (both conscious and unconscious, legal and illegal), (iv) Diverse and intertwined religions, combining religious teachings and activities with beliefs, folk belief activities and national traditions, religious activities metamorphasizing, giving rise to many customs, (v) Commercialization and showing off religious activities; violations of legal provisions in religious activities, abusing beliefs and religions, harming the interests of the country and people, increasing the number of misdeeds against the country’s unity, (vi) Religious alienation of religious people and the religious participation of non-religious people, the distinction between religious and non-religious people is not clear, (vii) Religion, faith, and beliefs having penetrated cultural life and community activities deeply, etc.

Over the past decades, hostile forces have repeatedly used religion to implement a “strategy of peaceful evolution” to destroy the country. That reality requires increased management of religion, promoting the good cultural and ethical values of religion for creating national strength, construction, and defense. Vigilance needs to be applied in preventing and fighting against abusing belief and religion to divide and destroy the great national unity bloc, and belief and religious activities in contravention of the law.

The 12th Congress of the Party emphasized that in order to develop a sustainable society, it is essential to practice social development management. Congress also pointed out the main contents of social development management: Firstly, implementing appropriate policies with social strata; ensuring the harmony of interests and social relations, ensuring a reasonable structure of social strata, population, and trade. Secondly, controlling and handling social conflicts and other conflicts in a timely fashion while effectively solving pressing social issues. Thirdly, economic policies and social policies should be closely associated as economic development from those policies improve people’s lives, social security, and human security(9).



(1) VI Lenin: Collected works, Vol.20, Progress Publisher, Moscow, 1980, p.221.

(2), (3) Le Ngoc Hung: The levels and trends of social change in Vietnam today from a sociological perspective, Journal of Social Science Information, no. 4, 2010, p.7, 7.

(4), (5), (7) Hoang Chi Bao: Social change in Vietnam over 20 years of renovation, 2008, VNH3.TB6.798.

(6) Dang Nguyen Anh et al: Social change in Vietnam: tradition and modernity, Social Sciences Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016.

(8) CPV: Document of the 9th National Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2001, p.85, 86.

(9) CPV: Document of the 12th National Delegation, Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, 2016, p.135.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Minh Anh

Department of Training Management

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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