In 1986, the communist government of Laos introduced several economic reforms, which were clearly in discord with what is generally understood to be the communist ideology. I would be interested to learn how the government explained the reforms.

If possible, please quote the government officials in your answers. And just to clarify: I am aware that Laos is not the only communist coutry in which similar reforms have been introduced, but Laos is what I'm interested in at the moment.

  • Are you looking for public-consumption-internal explanation? Public-consumption-external? Internal within government? All 3 may differ.
    – user4012
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 19:39
  • 1
    @dvk You're right. I'm interested in the explanation given to the Laotian public.
    – ymar
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


In 1986, the government of Laos began to switch from a command-and-control economy to a market based one. They did this by deregulating control of prices, introducing profit and loss incentives to state enterprise management, allowing trade between companies and individuals to be based on a contract basis between the parties, and easing control over wages.

The government believed that decentralizing economic decision making and introducing market signals would promote growth in their economy, which had been stagnant for decades. Their predictions on this point turned out to be accurate, as their yearly economic growth averaged 6% from 1988 - 2007.

Main sources was "Laos' Dilemmas and Options: The Challenge of Economic Transition in the 1990s"

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