Market-Based Over Interventionist Reforms
Laos' main focus at the moment is attracting FDI and participating in regional and international markets. Interventionist policies would detract from these efforts, so the government has pursued a theme of liberalization and deregulation, which have had positive effects on economic growth. Joining trade organizations and blocs has opened doors for the export sector Laos relies upon and has in itself encouraged investment. The government has basically stayed out of the way throughout all of this, but as a result development has suffered. Any initiative to help the Lao people comes from outside aid and so nothing really accumulates in an organized fashion. At this point, market-based ideas have run their course and there isn't much else the government can do in this sense. Now, it's time to explore a few interventionist policies to support the people in times of change. To that effect, Laos needs to be careful not to take such policies too far and revert to nationalizing businesses or trying to force a socialist system back unto the country. The people need support but also independence, so employing measures like tax breaks for small rural businesses and farms will help lift families and communities to a level at which they can compete. Pumping more money into the educational system should also help solve institutional shortcomings and an emphasis on sustainable science and engineering could prolong the mining and hydropower success while finding new uses for agricultural products and minerals to decrease the need to import consumer products and other goods. Teaching financial literacy may decrease the need for aid and add to the independence of not only individuals, but to Laos in general.