Socio-economic Development in Vietnam over 30 Years Innovation in
Angle of Philosophy
Do Ngoc Hanh
Faculty of philosophy, University of Politics, Ministry of National Defense, Hanoi, Vietnam
Keywords: Development, Economy, Society, Vietnam, Philosophy.
Abstract: In the article the author focuses on analyzing “transformation”, socioeconomic breakthroughs in Vietnam for
over 30 years of innovation (1986 - 2020). In the philosophical angle to make objective & specific reviews &
assessments on the “historic” achievements in Vietnam’s socio-economy with 2 aspects: achievements and
restriction. Thence, legitimate and scientific guidelines & viewpoints for socioeconomic development by the
Communist Party, State, and Government of Vietnam have been further asserted. These are the scientific
foundations for Vietnam to apply them to the sustainable social development in the context of strong impacts
by the Industry 4.0; especially the great impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on Vietnam and the world.
Natures in substances in socioeconomic structures
have been explained in theories for socioeconomic
development in the world so that social purposes and
objectives will be better conducted. In the
philosophical angle, development means the
tendency of maneuver of things, from the low level
upward, from simplicity toward complexity; and from
incompleteness to more completeness, etc.,
Development is the tendency of all things and
phenomena; however, each thing and phenomenon
goes through different development process.
Accordingly, Vietnam’s socioeconomic development
for over 30 years of innovation has been under
impacts by many factors, including both objective
conditions and subjective factors. That is the signal of
variety and diversification in Vietnam’s current
socioeconomic development.
The author has utilized the sources of research-related
articles published in both local and foreign magazines
& journals; assessments by international
organizations, and scientists in the world, etc., by
applying historical, logical, assessing, statistical,
analyzing, inductive, deductive, and surveying
methods to address put - forward issues.
3.1 Breakthrough Ideology in
Switching the Extensive Economic
Development into the Intensive One
For over 30 years of innovation since 1986, Vietnam
has made crucial achievements in the career for the
national industrialization and modernization. From a
backward agricultural economy with 90% of the
population doing the agricultural cultivation,
Vietnam has built up the material - technical facilities
and socioeconomic infrastructure to gradually meet
the career of industrialization, modernization & form
or shape an environment to attract social resources for
development: “Our country has never had the
structure, potentiality, position and international
reputation today” (Phuc, 2020).
For the economic growth, for over 30 years of
innovation, Vietnam’s economy has grasped much
higher growth rate compared with that in before the
age of innovation and has been ranked in the group
with high growth rates in the world. The scale of the
Hanh, D.
Socio-economic Development in Vietnam over 30 Years Innovation in Angle of Philosophy.
DOI: 10.5220/0010592404610466
In Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure (ISSDRI 2021), pages 461-466
ISBN: 978-989-758-519-7
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
economy has rapidly and highly increased with the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2014 reaching
about USD 184 billion. Since 2008, the average GDP
per capital has reached over USD 2,900. Vietnam has
been excluded from the group of developing countries
with low incomes to participate in the group of
developed countries with average incomes (Hue,
During the 2011 2013 stage alone, Vietnam’s
growth model had been transformed from extensivity
into intensivity with more attention to the growth
quality. The Incremental Capital Output Ratio
(ICOR) has been improved. It declined from 6.9%
during the 2006 2010 stage down to 6.5% during
the 2011 2015 stage. The growth quality has been
improved to some extents while the level of
production technologies has been partially improved;
the ratio of the process industry in the industrial
production value has tended to increase and the ratio
of the exploring industry has gradually declined, etc.,
Thanks to the breakthrough ideology in the
market economy’s development, the International
economic integration together with efforts for
innovation over the past time, they have helped the
investment environment in Vietnam continuously
improve and attracted more and more investment
capital for development. The total social investment
as well as the proportion of social investment capital
in comparison with GDP have constantly increased
and maintained at high levels, of which those during
the 2004-2009 period increased by over 40% and
Vietnam was in the list of the highest investment
countries in the world.
Vietnam’s economic structure has initially
transformed toward the modern direction when
agricultural areas decrease and those for services &
industries increase; the economic structure and
components continue moving toward the direction of
potential uphold by economic sectors and in
combination of several ownership models; the laborer
structure has experienced positive transformation
attached with the process of economic and exported
goods structures when moving toward the gradual
increases of industrial product rates & simultaneously
the gradual decreases of agricultural products and raw
materials, etc.,
Positive roles of economic entities in Vietnam
have also been realized for over 30 years of
innovation. The Government economy has gradually
& better upheld its core roles; State-owned corporate
system has been gradually re-structured and equitized
in line with the Corporate Law and its number has
remarkably declined. The collective economy has
initially been innovated. The number of private
enterprises has increased drastically, gradually
enhancing their business efficiency, addressing the
employment, and further & further made
contributions to GDP. The Economy with Foreign
Direct (FDI) has been encouraged for development
and made crucial contributions to the socioeconomic
development, employment, and exports, etc.,
Vietnam has gradually formed full, sufficient, and
synchronous market factors and market types with
throughout operation in the attachment with the
regional and international markets. The goods and
service market has gained the development and
accomplishment in terms of scales. During over the
past 15 years (2005 - 2020), the average growth rate
of the retailing commerce has always been 2 - 3 times
higher than the average growth speed of GDP in the
same period.
The financial and monetary markets in Vietnam
develop rather strongly and actively now; the stock
market has initially been formed, making
contributions to diversifying investment capital
sources; the insurance market has made positive
contributions to stabilizing production and
inhabitants’ lives; the currency rate, prices of foreign
currencies, and gold have been basically stabilized;
the real estate market has gained certain development
with rather synchronous technical & social
infrastructure systems that have been making
contributions to urbanization and the economic
structure transformation toward industrialization,
modernization, and boost-up of the country’s
socioeconomic development; the labor market has
been formed with quite profuse supply of laborers
from 15 years old plus. The number of laborers has
increased from 50.51 million (at the end of 2010) to
53.65 million (at the end of 2013) and 55.8 million (at
the end of 2019). 2019 was the first year in which the
laborer rates in Vietnam’s agricultural, forestry, and
aquiculture fields decreased at the 2nd ranking after
the service sector (Anh, 2020).
At the Vietnam Reform and Development Forum
organized at the end of 2018 in Hanoi, Mr. Ousmane
Dinone, National Director of World Bank in Vietnam
stated that Vietnam had gained outstanding
socioeconomic achievements. During over the past 30
years, the economy has achieved an average annual
growth at almost 7%, thence, the average income per
capita has increased 5 folds. According to him,
Vietnam’s development was with the coverage and
the rate of poor households had decreased under 7%
compared with that of 60% at the end of 1980s. He
assessed Vietnam was a remarkably developing
export country.
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
However, over the past 30 years, the economy has
still extensively developed but slowly transformed
into the intensive development. The legal,
mechanism, and policy system hasn’t been
accomplished or synchronized. Thus, its quality
hasn’t got high; the legal propaganda, dissemination,
and enforcement work with assurance for disciplines
has remained limited; the economic structure has
been slowly transformed; the right of freedom to do
business hasn’t been fully respected; the business
environment hasn’t really assured for fair & healthy
competition among enterprises of all economic
sectors. Enterprises have still encountered many
queries and troubles when entering, operating, and
withdrawing from the market; prices of some
essential goods and services haven't really complied
with principles and rules in the market economy;
corporate administration has remained poor so it
hasn’t caught up with the international standards or
met the needs in the market economy, etc.,
State-owned enterprises, including many
economic groups and corporates haven't fully shown
their roles as the core forces for the government
economy; their production and business outcomes
have been low, causing wastes and losses; the
collective economy has suffered from long-lasting
and poor issues. Most of private enterprises have been
in a small scale while FDI ones haven't met the
objectives of technology transfer, especially high
technologies, source technologies, and progressive
management levels; etc., the macro-economy hasn’t
been firmly stabilized; the independence and self-
reliance of the economy haven't got high yet but the
economy has remained much dependent on some
external markets.
3.2 Dialectics for Socioeconomic
Development in Vietnam
As the objective inevitability and the impressive
economic development, Vietnam experiences fast
changes in the population and social structures.
Vietnam’s population from 60 million in 1986
increased up to about 97 million in 2018 and it is
estimated to increase to 120 million by the year 2050.
At present, 70% of the population is under the age of
35 with an average longevity of over 76 years old,
higher than that in such countries with similar
incomes in the region. The mid social class is forming
accounting for 13% of the population and estimated
to increase to 26% in 2026.
Human Capital Index (HCI) of Vietnam ranks at
the 48th place out of 157 nations and territories while
ranking at the 2nd place in ASEAN, behind Singapore
only. One Vietnamese baby born at the moment will
gain a productivity of 67% compared with a peer who
is given with full study and health care when the baby
grows up. Vietnam is a country with the highest HCI
among the nations with average incomes. The
enhancement of the labor force’s levels to create jobs
with higher productivity in a large scale in the future
is also attached with special importance by Vietnam
(Paquet, 2004).
General education in Vietnam is rather good. The
past 30 years of innovation have been an important
historical stage in the development career of Vietnam;
in that context, Vietnam’s education has made many
changes and development both in the scale and
quality. The movements of educational generalization
from the primary level to the high school one have
been continuously deployed and made certain
achievements. Vietnam has accomplished the
primary educational generalization in the year 2000;
the primary educational generalization at right ages at
the level I in 2004; and the secondary educational
generalization in 2010. The educational and training
quality has been improved with the new development
steps. One of the demonstrations for this lies in the
hallmark by Vietnam’s students in the world’s
intellectual playground. They have made brilliant
achievements at regional and international Olympic
contests, especially during the 4 years (2016 - 2020),
100% of the Vietnamese participants got prizes.
During the 2000-2015 period, Vietnamese students
gained 101 golden medals, 169 silver medals, 174
bronze medals, and 43 Certificates of Merits.
Vietnam grasped impressive results in the Program of
International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012 and
2015, thence, Vietnamese students’ achievements
further exceeded those of students in many OECD
The medical field has also made much of great
progression when the living standards have been
further and further improved. According to the
assessment by United Nations Development Program
(UNDP), Vietnam is listed as one of the countries
with outstanding medical achievements compared
with GDP. From 1986 until 2017, the death rate in
infants had decreased from 35.6% down to 1.7% (out
of 1,000 infants). The average longevity had
increased from 70.5 to 76.3 years old from 1990 to
2016. The National Health Care Coverage Index
stood at 73% - higher than the average rate in the
region and the world, 87% of the population had
gained medical insurance. The medical sector had
gained such many outstanding achievements as the
whole population medical insurance,
accomplishment of MDGs, minimization for
Socio-economic Development in Vietnam over 30 Years Innovation in Angle of Philosophy
hospitals, and Vietnam was voted as a member in
WHO’s Executive Board, etc., For the prevention and
fight against Covid-10, the Doctor Kidong Park,
Chief Representative to WHO in Vietnam greatly
appreciated Vietnam: “We are very impressed by
what the Government, Ministry of Health, and the
locality have done over the past days”. According to
him, Vietnam’s medical surveillance system has
effectively operated so cases of diseases have been
punctually and timely detected. After the first cases
were found in Da Nang (July 2020), Vietnam’s
epidemic preventive and fighting system quickly
reacted to the cases and synchronous measures of
distancing, supervision, trace-follow, zoning to
eliminate the epidemic had been deployed.
Representatives to WHO, international organizations,
and experts also greatly appreciated the provision of
information on the epidemic happenings publically,
transparently, and punctually by Vietnam and thought
that this assures for strengthening the people’s trust
for Vietnam’s epidemic prevention and fights.
For over the past 30 years, the supply of basic
service had experienced many positive changes. The
access of the people to the infrastructure had been
remarkably improved. By 2016, 99% of the
population could use the electric lightning compared
with the rate of 14% in 1993. The rate of people
accessing to rural clean water had been improved,
increasing from 17% in 1993 to 70% in 2016 while
that in cities was over 95%.
However, Vietnam’s fast growth and
industrialization have caused many negative impacts
on the environment and natural resources. The total
consumption of electricity has increased three folds
during the last 10 years. With more dependence on
fossil fuels, the energy sector emits almost 2/3 of the
total greenhouse gas emission nationwide. The need
for water use increases more and more while its
capacity remains at a low rate, reaching 12%
compared with the world’s standards. The
unsustainable exploration of natural resources like
sand, seafood, and wood may cause negative
influences on long-term potentials for development.
In addition, the majority of the population and
Vietnam’s economy are both vulnerable to effects of
the climate change.
Strong urbanization, economic, and population
growth pose bigger and bigger challenges for waste
management and pollution treatment. Vietnam’s
waste amount is estimated to increase double in less
than 15 years’ time. Besides, there is the issue related
to sea waste. According to the estimates, 90% of the
sea plastic waste globally is disposed from 10 rivers,
including Mekong River. Vietnam is also one of the
10 nations in the world hidden the most severely by
the air pollution. The water source pollution is
causing severe aftermaths to the productivity of
significant industries and the people’s health.
The Government of Vietnam is making efforts to
minimize the impacts of the growth on the
environment and to effectively adapt to the climate
change. Strategies and plans to boost up the green
development and sustainable exploration of natural
resources have been applied. The Government has
also applied measures to minimize and adapt to the
climate change, cope with the harsh weather, and
natural calamities through the deployment of the
program called the Nationally Determined
Contributions (NDCs).
In addition, Vietnam’s population has got aging
quickly; by the year 2050, the group of people over
65 years old will increase by 2.5 times. The gap in the
living standards among localities, especially in the
ethnic minority groups, will get wider and wider. The
gender gap at birth remains high and gets wider and
wider (115 in the year 2018), which shows the
situation of gender discrimination still exists.
3.3 Solutions to Address Imposed
Firstly, the State and authorities at all levels in
Vietnam need to check and review the promulgated
regimes and policies. If any regimes or policies aren't
relevant any more but they hinder the development of
economic facilities and enterprises, they should be
eliminated because all management activities by the
State and the authorities at all levels are to form,
create favorable conditions for the economic facilities
and enterprises to freely uphold their creativity in
production – business activities.
Secondly, Vietnam need to encourage both
domestic and foreign investors to invest in hi-tech
sectors, manufacturing industry, new material
industry and support small and medium-sized
corporate to invest in innovating technologies, create
motivations for new development & trigger the
economic development, enhancement of productivity
& product quality, and competitiveness in the local,
international, and regional markets. Simultaneously,
many added values should be brought about to
increase TFP’s contribution ratio to the GDP growth.
High technologies should be specially applied to the
agricultural production as well as the agricultural,
forestry, and aquatic processing industries.
Thirdly, to narrow down the gap among areas and
territories between the plains and mountainous
midlands; between cities and rural areas, the State
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
needs to work out relevant management policies and
regimes to attract local and foreign investors to invest
in distant & remote areas, those areas with poor
technical infrastructure yet they will still get profits at
least the same as profits when investing in places near
urban areas with more favorable conditions. When
industrial works are formed, they will attract many
laborers and create much employment for the people,
bring about incomes for the localities whereas urban
clusters will be formed to gradually improve the
residents’ material & spiritual life in the area, and
gradually narrow the gap with the plains. At the same
time, the gap of income unfairness among the
residential groups will be narrowed down. That is also
one of the contetnts for the economic growth together
with realizing the social progress and fairness &
protecting the current environment in Vietnam.
Fourthly, the State needs to holistically change
teaching and learning syllabus, contents, and methods
to attach the teaching & learning with the maneuver
of the socioeconomic development. The guideline is
to teach students to know how to become good
people, how to work, and cut down academic and
theoretical things. However, the State also need to
invest in education and effectively enforce the
educational socialization yet still being able to
support and help the po children to go to school. The
State should study and delete tuition fees for children
learning at kindergartens, primary, and secondary
schools nationwide so that all children can go to
school. Going to school isn't only their rights but also
their obligations. These will gradually realize the
objective of a society with learning and studying for
the whole life. Fifthly, the State and
Government of Vietnam need to legitimately invest in
the preventive health care, conduct “prevention is
better than cure”, invest in communal and district
health care to lessen pressure for higher routes and
avoid wastes of unfully used technical & material
facilities in communal and district routes (Lan, 2019).
Vietnam’s breakthrough development has recently
been acknowledged in the international
communication. Bloomberg asserts: Vietnam is
transforming strongly, from a country that exported
crude oil, coffee, and footwear into a production
center that attracts globally big groups.
The Financial Times (the UK) quotes the
impressive growth figures in many fields that show
Vietnam’s rapid development. In 2017, Vietnam led
the South East Asia region when being able to attract
USD 6 billion 2017 in the IPO market. Ho Chi Minh
City’s stock market becomes one of the world top
stock markets after VN-Index increases by 17%,
exceeding other big markets in Asia. Vietnam has
also exceeded Indonesia to become a big exporting
country although Vietnam’s market accounts for 1/5
of Indonesia’s economy while the author of an article
published in Brookings Institution’s specialized page
(the USA) called the S-shaped country with the
phrase “Vietnam’s magical thing” after having
highlighted Vietnam’s achievements in the context of
the sluggish economic & commercial situations. The
author assessed “Vietnam’s experience is not only
useful for developing countries but also developed
ones”. According to the author, crucial factors for
Vietnam to have grasped these achievements, besides
such objective conditions as young labor source and
political stability, etc., like legitimate decisive
policies on global economic integration, national
liberalization, and investment in human resource, and
infrastructure must be presented.
Those above-mentioned assessments are with
complete basis when Vietnam’s economy society
continues their prosperity and remarkable
achievements, in which the growth rate of GDP in
2018 reached 7.08% - the highest level over the last
decade while the exports gained 238 USD billion and
the export plus reached a recording amount of USD
7.2 billion. The scale of the economy increased so
strongly, in 2018, with the estimated amount of over
USD 240 billion, 1.3 times higher than that of 2015
(Phong, 2019).
The independence and self-reliance of Vietnam’s
economy have been gradually enhanced. The
successful enforcement of dual objectives for growth
& inflation restriction, etc., has paved paths for better
implementation of the tasks to assure for social
welfare, social order security, and safety. Those
positive results have created spreading effects,
strengthened the trust in the people, both local and
foreign strategic investors.
The 4th Industry (4.0) has been basically changed the
humankind’s civilized production. This Revolution
takes place at a faster speed, in a broader scope, from
production to life, from individuals’ activities to
organizations, enterprises, ministries, sectors, and
even the government, strongly affecting all aspects of
the socioeconomic life, especially in the fields of
Socio-economic Development in Vietnam over 30 Years Innovation in Angle of Philosophy
education - training, HR development, leading to
changes in models and motivating the social
production force’s development. In the philosophical
angle, the Industry 4.0 also creates great challenges to
countries and peoples. To grasp this tendency,
Vietnam enjoys favorable conditions to take full
advantages of jumping at chances and minimizing
imposed difficulties as well as the challenges to
shorten the gap in development, especially the
economic development in countries in the region and
in the world, to successfully realize the objective of
the national industrialization and modernization. The
success for over 30 years of innovation in Vietnam
has enhanced Vietnam’s economic & national
defense potentials, prestige in the international arena
and firmly defended the political security,
independence, soveignty, and the territorial integrity
of the Fatherland, making contributions to realizing
the objective of “Rich people, powerful country,
fairness, democracy, and civilization”.
Anh, Le (2020). A look back at laborer and employment
situations in 2019. E-newspaper of Vietnam’s
Communist Party, dated 18th February 2020.
College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi National
University and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Fund.
Federal Republic of Germany collaborated to organize
the Seminar on “30 years of innovation: achievements,
lessons, and potentials”, Hanoi dated in October 2016.
Hue, Vuong Dinh (2016). Outstanding achievements in the
economic development for over 30 years of innovation.
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Lan, Tran Thi Tuyet (2019). Achievements for over 30
years of innovation in the Party’s economic thinking on
the construction of the socialist-oriented market
economy, Journal of Industry & Trade, 1.
Paquet, Emmanuelle (2004). Réforme et transformation du
système économique vietnamien 1979 - 2002, pp. 189-
Phong, Xuan (2019). Vietnam has achieved crucial
achievements for over 30 years of innovation, People’s
Army, dated 02nd February 2019.
Phuc, Nguyen Xuan (2020). Looking back on 10 years of
implementing the Socio-Economic Development
Strategy 2011-2020: Results, lessons learned and future
orientation. Communist Journal, 11/2020.
The world & Vietnam report (2018). Vietnam’s reform and
development Forum (VRDF), Hanoi, December 2018.
Vietnam news agency, International organizations greatly
appreciate Vietnam’s humanity policy in welcome
laborers back to the country,
World Bank in Vietnam, Overview on Vietnam,
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