World: Saigon's Backfiring Boom

With the war in a relatively quiet phase, the loudest boom in South Viet Nam these days is coming not from gunfire but from the economy. Where most nations at war—including North Viet Nam—endure rationing and self-denial, the South has spent the last few years on a prolonged shopping spree. There are no meatless Wednesdays, no food queues, few shortages of any kind. Shiny new appliances, from electric rice cookers to transistor radios, occupy conspicuous nooks even in the homes of unskilled laborers. Television antennas rise everywhere, even over tin-roofed huts. Saigon's greenery has suffered less damage from Communist bombs...