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WORLD OF WORK. 1996 Sep-Oct; (17):10-1.Viet Nam's shift toward a market-oriented economy has been associated with annual gross domestic product growth of more than 8% over the past 5 years. At the same time, the emergence of private-sector enterprises and subsequent closure of many state-run enterprises have had profound implications for Viet Nam's social protection systems. At present, only 5.6 million of the country's 33 million workers are covered under the state-run social insurance system. In 1995, the government moved to include private enterprises with 10 or more employees in its state benefits system. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has been working with the Vietnamese Government to design and implement a social security system that would extend coverage progressively to excluded sectors and provide support to workers who have become unemployed as a result of the economic transition process. At its Eighth National Congress, the Vietnamese Communist Party approved a 5-year social and economic plan calling for such an expansion of the social insurance system as well as for a guaranteed standard of living for pensioners. To facilitate anticipated changes, activities that were previously divided between the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor have been assigned to the newly formed Vietnam Social Insurance (VSI) Organization. Under consideration is a plan to combine some VSI activities with those of the Vietnam Health Insurance Organization. The ILO will assist with training, computerization, and social security fund investing. Noncompliance is a major obstacle to planned expansion of the social security system; about 90% of private firms are still not paying into the system.
China: long-term development issues and options. The report of a mission sent to China by the World Bank.
Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985. xiii, 183 p. (World Bank Country Economic Report)This report summarizes the conclusions of a World Bank study undertaken in 1984 to identify the key development issues China is expected to face in the next 20 years. Among the areas addressed by chapters in this monograph are agricultural prospects, energy development, spatial issues, international economic strategy, managing industrial technology, human development, mobilizing financial resources, and development management. China's economic prospects are viewed as dependinding upon success in mobilizing and effectively using all available resources, especially people. This in turn will depend on sucess in reforming the system of economic management, including progress in 3 areas: 1) greater use of market regulation to stimulate innovation and efficiency; 2) stronger planning, combining indirect with direct economic control; and 3) modification and extension of social institutions and policies to maintain the fairness in distribution that is basic to socialism in the face of the greater inequality and instability that may result from market regulation and indirect controls. Over the next 2 decades, China can be expected to become a middle-income country. The government has set the goal of quadrupling the gross value of industrial and agricultural output between 1980 and 2000 and increasing per capita income from US$300 to $800. China's size and past emphasis on local self-sufficiency offer opportunities for enormous economic gains through increased specialization and trade among localities. Increased rural-urban migration seems probable and desirable, although an increase in urban services and infrastructure will be required. The expected slow rate of population increase is an important foundation for China's favorable economic growth prospects. On the other hand, it may not be desirable to hold fertility below the replacement level for very long, given the effects this would have on the population's age structure. The increase in the proportion of elderly people will be a serious social issue in the next century, and reforms of the social security system need to be considered.