Glossary -- Laos

Asian Development Bank
Established in 1967, the bank assists in economic development and promotes growth and cooperation in developing member countries. The bank is owned by its forty-seven member governments, which include both developed and developing countries in Asia and developed countries in the West.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Founded in 1967 primarily for economic cooperation and consisting of Brunei (since 1984), Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Laos has had observer status since 1992 and applied for membership in July 1994.
Village; grouped administratively into tasseng (q.v.) and muang (q.v.).
Buddhist teaching or moral law; laws of nature, all that exists, real or imaginary.
fiscal year (FY)
October 1 to September 30.
gross domestic product (GDP)
A value measure of the flow of domestic goods and services produced by an economy over a period of time, such as a year. Only output values of goods for final consumption and intermediate production are assumed to be included in the final prices. GDP is sometimes aggregated and shown at market prices, meaning that indirect taxes and subsidies are included; when these indirect taxes and subsidies have been eliminated, the result is GDP at factor cost. The word gross indicates that deductions for depreciation of physical assets have not been made. Income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad is not included, only domestic production. Hence, the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from gross national product (q.v.).
gross national product (GNP)
The gross domestic product (GDP--q.v.) plus net income or loss stemming from transactions with foreign countries, including income received from abroad by residents and subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents. GNP is the broadest measurement of the output of goods and services by an economy. It can be calculated at market prices, which include indirect taxes and subsidies. Because indirect taxes and subsidies are only transfer payments, GNP is often calculated at factor cost by removing indirect taxes and subsidies.
Largest Lao Sung (q.v.) ethnic group of northern Laos. This tribal group dwells at higher elevations than other ethnic groups. During the period of the Royal Lao Government (RLG) (q.v.), the Hmong were referred to as Meo.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Established on July 22, 1944, the IMF began operating along with the World Bank (q.v.) on December 27, 1945. The IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations that takes responsibility for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The IMF's main business is the provision of loans to its members when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans often carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients. In 1994 the IMF had 179 members.
Buddhist concept of the sum of one's past actions, which affect one's current life and future reincarnations.
Province; first order administrative division.
Lao currency. In June 1994, US$1=R721.
Lao Issara
Free Laos. Movement formed in 1945 to resist any attempt to return to French colonial status.
Lao Loum
Literally translated as the valley Laotian. Inclusive term for people of Tai stock living in Laos, including lowland Lao and upland Tai. Group of lowland peoples comprising the majority population of Laos; generally used to refer to ethnic Lao, the country's dominant ethnic group (approximately 66 percent of the population according to the 1985 census), and speaking Tai-Kadai languages, including Lao, Lue, Tai Dam (Black Tai), and Tai Deng (Red Tai).
Lao Patrocitic Front (LPF) (Neo Lao Hak Xat)
Sucessor to Neo Lao Issara (q.v.), the political arm of the Pathrt Liberation Army (q.v.)--formerly known as the Pathet Lao (q.v.)--is its milituary arm.
Lao People's Army
Formed in 1976 when the Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA-- q.v.) was restructured after the establishment of the Lao People's Democratic Republic in December 1975.
Lao People's Liberation Army (LPLA)
Official title of Pathet Lao armed forces, more commonly known as the communist revolutionaries, or guerrilla forces. The LPLA originated with the Latsavong detachment, formed in January 1949 by Kaysone Phomvihan, and steadily increased in number to an estimated 8,000 guerrillas in 1960 and an estimated 48,000 troops between 1962 and 1970.
Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) (Phak Pasason Pativat Lao)
Founded secretly in 1955 as the Phak Pasason Lao (Lao People's Party--LPP); name changed in 1972. Seized full power and became the ruling (communist) party of Laos in 1975. The LPRP Central Committee formulates party policy; it is dominated by the Political Bureau (Politburo) and the Secretariat and maintains control by placing its members in key institutions throughout the government and the army.
Lao Sung
Literally translated as the Laotian of the mountain top--those who traditionally live in the high altitudes in northern Laos. In official use, term denotes a category of ethnic groups that speak Tibeto-Burmese, Miao-Yao languages; chiefly the Hmong (q.v.) (Meo) group of highland or upland minorities but also the Mien (Yao) and Akha. According to the 1985 census, these groups make up approximately 10 percent of the population.
Lao Theung
Literally, Laotian of the mountain slopes; group--including Kammu, Loven, and Lamet--that traditionally lives in medium altitudes, practices swidden, or slash-and-burn-agriculture, and speaks Mon-Khmer languages and dialects. According to the 1985 census, approximately 24 percent of the population. Regarded as original inhabitants of Laos, formally referred to by ethnic Lao as kha, or slave.
Indian geopolitical term referring to a variable circle of power centered on a ruler, his palace, and the religious center from which he drew his legitimization.
muang (muong)
Administrative district; also an independent principality; comprises several tasseng (q.v.), second order administrative divisions.
Lao Patriotic Front (LPF) (Neo Lao Hak Xat)
Successor to Neo Lao Issara (q.v.), the political arm of the Pathet Lao (q.v.) during the Indochina Wars (1946- 75). The Lao People's Liberation Army (q.v.)--formerly known as the Pathet Lao (q.v.)--is its military arm.
Neo Lao Issara
Free Laos Front--organization established by former Lao Issara (Free Laos) (q.v.) to continue anti-French resistance movement with the Viet Minh (q.v.); succeeded by Neo Lao Hak Xat (Lao Patriotic Front--LPF) (q.v.) in 1956.
net material product
Gross material output minus depreciation on capital and excluding "unproductive services." According to the World Bank (q.v.), net material product is "a socialist concept of national accounts."
Nonaligned Movement
Established in September 1961 with the aim of promoting political and military cooperation apart from the traditional East and West blocs. As of 1994, there were 107 members (plus the Palestine Liberation Organization), twenty-one observers, and twenty-one "guests."
Pathet Lao (Lao Nation)
Literally, land of the Lao. Until October 1965, the name for the Lao People's Liberation Army (q.v.), the military arm of the Lao Patriotic Front (q.v.).
Royal Lao Government (RLG)
The ruling authority in Laos from 1947 until the communist seizure of power in December 1975 and the proclamation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Sipsong Panna
Region in southern Yunnan Province, China, from which migrated many groups that now inhabit Laos.
Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)
Established in September 1954 as a result of the 1954 Geneva Agreements to stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. SEATO never had an active military role and was ultimately disbanded in June 1977 following the success of the communist movements in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam in 1975. Original signatories to SEATO were Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States.
Administrative unit; territorial subdivision of muang (q.v.), subdistrict grouping of ten to twenty villages.
That Luang
Most sacred Buddhist stupa in Vientiane and site of annual festival on the full moon of the twelfth month.
Theravada Buddhism
Predominant branch of Buddhism practiced in Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Acronym retained from predecessor organization, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, established in December 1946. Provides funds for establishing child health and welfare services.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Created by the United Nations in 1965, the UNDP is the world's largest channel for multilateral technical and preinvestment assistance to low-income countries. It functions as an overall programming, financing, and monitoring agency. The actual fieldwork is done by other UN agencies.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Established by the United Nations in 1949, it did not become effective until 1951. The first world institution to aid refugees, the UNHCR seeks to ensure the humanitarian treatment of refugees and find a permanent solution to refugee problems. The agency deals with the international protection of refugees and problems arising from mass movements of people forced to seek refuge.
Viet Minh
Coalition of Vietnamese national elements formed in May 1941 and dominated by the communists in their movement calling for an uprising against the French colonial government.
World Bank
Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has as its primary purpose the provision of loans at market-related rates of interest to developing countries at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The MIGA, founded in 1988, insures private foreign investment in developing countries against various noncommercial risk. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The four institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the Intentional Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.).