"(Anti-) corruption in Vietnam and Singapore, analysis of cultural and institutional conditions"

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Tho LE, The University of Bonn, Germany
Dirk TAENZLER, The University of Bonn, The University of Konstanz, Germany
Vietnam’s struggle against corruption is stuck for a long period regardless of the recognition of the global trillion-dollar pandemic as “internal enemy to national development”. There is a shortage of vision, insights, innovative methods and political will for  change. Exacerbating this problem, corruption research in Vietnam was mainly small-scaled, project-based, diagnostic or sector-focused while cultural conditions and social construction of corruption is underestimated. Alternatively, this study analyses the cultural and institutional conditions comparatively for Vietnam and Singapore, in search for the best applicable anti-corruption practices. Singapore is the best choice to reflect most clearly how different visions of development, capitalism and socialism, with similar national contexts of Confucianism, colonial heritage and pre-modernity conditions can lead to opposite measures and achievement of anti-corruption. Research findings confirm that Vietnamese cultural and formal institutions interplay in spreading corrupt practices. The key institutional determinants are the authoritative political system, inefficient public governance, weak law enforcement and rule of law, weak civil society and censored press that hinder transparency, accountability, leading to bear opportunities, to loosen rewards and to reduce the costs for corruption. On the other side, common tolerance on corruption as a solution for social transactions, and transitional “social value disorder” nurture corrupt practice. A hypothesis of conditioned radical-system-change resolution, through knowledge transfer, is required if Vietnam wants to transform itself like Singapore in response to corruption. .  More specifically, the Vietnam’s reforms bears winners and losers through widening inequality gaps and injustice due to the emergence of minor illegitimate “new rich”, rent-seeking public officials at the expense of majority of poor, vulnerable groups such as voiceless and land-losing farmers. A strong requirement for the rule of law, good governance, transparency, accountability, integrity in public sector is necessary.