Transitions from State “Socialism” in Southeast Asia

  • Caroline HughesEmail author
Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)


This chapter explains the way Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam underwent transitions from state socialism following the Cold War, and why this has involved only very limited economic and political liberalisation. It shows that the privatisation of public land, natural resources and state-owned enterprises and the opening of closed economies to foreign investment provided opportunities for elite coalitions of state, business and military actors to sustain authoritarian regimes. Thanks to Cold War legacies and ongoing authoritarian repression, civil society has proved unable to effectively contest this. Where protests have occurred, they have been relatively feeble, with slogans recalling the nationalist rhetoric of the past. However, widening inequality, ongoing disruptive infrastructure schemes, and a burgeoning young population are long-term trends that portend future legitimacy struggles.


Post-communist transition Political economy Cambodia Myanmar Laos Vietnam 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kroc Institute for International Peace StudiesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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