Not Long on Dong—Vietnam’s Proletariat Use American Dollar Instead

HanoiBlackMarketMoneyExchange2010-12-29.jpg “A black-market money exchange in Hanoi trades dong for dollars.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

They say that for children, ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.’ Maybe for adults, a spoonful of irony helps the zeitgeist go down?
America lost the war in Vietnam to the Communist Vietcong. Now, the Vietnam government, consisting of the linear descendants of the Communist Vietcong, has so run their currency (the dong) into the ground, that Vietnam’s proletariat are choosing to use the American dollar instead of the Vietnamese dong.

(p. C1) HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam–At a time when many emerging markets are trying to stem a destabilizing rise in their local currencies against the dollar, up-and-coming Vietnam is grappling with a rather different problem: Residents can’t get enough of the U.S. greenback, as their own currency, the dong, threatens to spiral lower.
. . .
. . . the Communist-run government’s determination to hit persistently high growth targets, coupled with state-directed lending growth of more than 30% annually in recent years, have flooded Vietnam’s economy with money and created a raft of problems for the local currency. The excess capital has triggered a sharper uptick in inflation than has been seen in other emerging markets, stripping confidence in the dong as residents doubt their government can manage rising costs in the months ahead.
. . .
. . . , the government is projecting an inflation rate of at least 7% a year for the next five years, far higher than its neighbors, in a sign that it intends to pursue its target-driven, growth-at-all-costs policies.
“This isn’t a sustainable way to run an economy,” says Nguyen Quang A, an economist who ran Vietnam’s only independent economic think tank until its founders opted to close it amid tightening government censorship.

For the full story, see:
JAMES HOOKWAY. “Vietnam Battles Dark Side of Boom.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., DECEMBER 16, 2010): C1-C2.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article is dated DECEMBER 15, 2010; the last couple of sentences (starting with “the government”) appear in the online, but not in the print, version of the article.)

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