This essay offers reflections on Vietnam’s post-socialist state planning system and an upcoming government initiative to reform it. Thirty years after the departure from Soviet-style central planning, state-directed planning prevails as the dominant feature of Vietnam’s governance system, policy regime, and economic system. Our purpose is to examine why state-directed planning has been so resilient despite its many associated drawbacks in the past and present. We present a range of critical thoughts on the underlying causes and drivers that have preserved state-directed planning and that may jeopardize the nascent reform process.

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