South Vietnam's Development Prospects in a Postwar Era

A Review of the Thuc-Lilienthal Report

by Albert P. Williams

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A critique of a 2-year effort by the U.S.-South Vietnamese Joint Development Group (JDG) postwar environment planning. The report's major drawback is its assumption of a fully negotiated peace. Yet it would be a waste to "shelve the most comprehensive analysis" existing instead of recasting it in a postwar environment of regional rather than national peace. Its broad policy recommendations still apply. Favorable South Vietnamese economic performance can continue through wise policies and limited public investment. Development of the private sector must be encouraged; governmental interest rates must be competitive with private ones. A stronger argument is needed against direct foreign-trade controls. Policy changes can improve conditions in rubber, tea, fishing, forestry, crop, and livestock production. An explicit program for development of the Mekong Delta is unlikely to succeed without total peace.

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