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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 3 No 2 (2001)

Anatomy of FDI Failure: Foreign Direct Investment and the Sino-Vietnamese Experience of Total War

Eric Wilson BA, MA (Dalhousie); PhD (History) (Cambridge); LLB (University of British Columbia); LLM (University of Washington, Seattle); SJD Candidate, University of Melbourne; Lecturer in Law, Monash University. He worked in admiralty law in Vancouver before commencing an SJD at the University of Melbourne. He currently teaches International Law at Monash University.

This paper challenges fashionable assumptions as to the universal applicability of economic rationalism and free market legal reforms. The author argues that Vietnam's historical legacy of national liberation has given rise to a uniquely Vietnamese juro-political ideological regime Nha nuoc phap quyen. This, somewhat paradoxically, simultaneously causes the 'failure' of FDI reform by First World standards, while providing the post-colonial Vietnamese regime with its own internal yardstick for measuring 'success' ­ namely, the thwarting of further perceived attempts by foreigners to deprive Vietnam of national sovereignty. This yardstick is fundamentally different from the measures used within the post-industrial developed countries of the First World, free as they are from neo-colonial domination and the historical burden of the national experience of mobilisation for a total war of emancipation. Wilson focuses on the military and political experiences of the People's Republic of Vietnam in both the First (1945-1954) and Second (1965-1975) Vietnam Wars to illustrate his argument and compares this to the Chinese national experience to delineate the outlines of a possible 'East Asian Mode' of resistance to foreign intervention in the form of foreign direct investment.

(2001) 3(2) Asian Law 107

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