Myanmar Military DictatorshipThe Myanmar military dictatorship
Only a few people have long regarded Myanmar as such. When Saigon was overthrown, the hostile "Burmese road to socialism" had already made many people think of it as a picturesque South East Asiatic escape. Following the 1988-1990 era, the horrific bloodshed on the Yangon roads, the rising of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the suspension of her party's electoral triumph, the establishment of a nude army government, the country's global paria state, and a long, long waiting for a pause that many had not expected during its lifetime, Myanmar's peculiarities seemed even more remarkable.
Also, the incidents of the last 18 month have made it no less general, especially in the view of those who now call it "the last boarder of the economy in Asia" and would endorse what the publisher of a major Yangon week recently - and with irony - described the recent "Myanmar intoxication".
Fortunately, the significant changes in the Yangon weather compared to six or even three month ago have now made them demonstrable fools. These changes are heartening. Myanmar's economic policy seems to be focusing on the reality that will determine the country's economic situation in the midterm. This is good tidings for overseas companies, government and multinational organizations that take South East Asia seriously, whose perception of the area goes beyond the levels associated, for example, with the management of US Chamber of Trade in South East Asia's capital cities or the spoiled, globalist parochialists in their own heads, who occupy the IMF and theIBRD.
Like last year's Iranian supremacy known as the exuberant Ebb's, Myanmar is not becoming Sarkhan. Southeast Asia's High Cold War is long gone. However, the state is beginning to present what looks like trusted, even germplasm outlines of the post-Cold War South East Asia world. In Myanmar, agriculture is the dominant source of jobs, with 70 per cent of the workforce working in this area.
This is the biggest economic activity, but one whose production is lagging behind that of other industries. In Myanmar, many are affected by profound, extreme povernour. The links between Myanmar's agriculture industry and other industries deserve special consideration. Only a few will believe that the agriculture surpluses are designed to boost the pace of economic expansion in the second decades of the twenty-first Century.
To use an expressiveness of the deceased Arthur T. Mosher, Myanmar must set its farming in motion - its small-scale farming. In the small farmer industry in particular, there must be increased production and a positive circle of prosperity must gradually emerge. Otherwise, the life of the vast majority of Myanmar's population will continue to be challenging and the consumer's spending capacity will be low.
There will most likely be policy implications, not least in the form of election. Burma is facing a blight of the world' s resources. Cash flows for the purchase of Myanmar's prime commodities from the small number of nations doing trade with the nation had already pushed up the currency before the beginning of the renunciation and lifting of penalties and had already disrupted the overall economic situation.
Every one of Myanmar's investors who yearns for its abundant biodiversity is a possible trigger for further deterioration. Burma will not soon be able to avoid its long run of assets and the associated threat of long-term depression. Like all of Southeast Asia, Myanmar is also marked by a primate city. Myanmar's economy has already shown a marked prejudice towards the city.
Ongoing overvaluing of the currency is damaging to manufacturers, but is benefiting municipal users. As Myanmar needs investment goods, some commentators point to an extensive booming imported deluxe market. Observed business people from Asia who visit Myanmar for the first case find it difficult to reconcile the wealth they see in Yangon with the country's richly recorded wealth.
The advantages of a primate city are that it focuses business activities and thus achieves a certain degree of efficiency. In the near term, serious industrialization in Myanmar will focus on Yangon. However, the preeminence of cities also entails disadvantages: the subnational government's subnational hunger and tax hunger, as well as city overload, slum areas, environmental degradation and possible loss of size.
Technocratic and military dynamics and local commercial interests are also outlines of Myanmar's emergent state. Rising techno-crats in the state have expressed their engagement for indigenous economies by providing a highly competetive environment for FDI. You have tried to widen the basis of the country's techno-cracy by establishing a new national social and economical council for the government.
It is a member of the Parliamentary Commission for the Evaluation of Legal Affairs and Special Issues under Myanmar's brains trust. Not long ago, one of Myanmar's top international economic analysts noted that Myanmar's top business leaders are simultaneously active in bringing about transformation, willing to support it in a passive way, and anxious about the rivalry that the transformation will entail.
A number of major commercial interests have started to criticize technocrats' involvement with FDI, not necessarily out of fear for their own businesses, but with warning that smaller businesses and the basic societal conditions of post-socialist municipal Myanmar cannot outlive what the techocrats are planning. This criticism could influence the seldom-reported policy of political transformation in Myanmar - policy that will be significant.
One thing is certain: the noteworthy lack of open commercial hostility, which is typical of much of 2011 and early 2012, has given way to a more realist feeling that Myanmar's local economy needs a place at the dinner stage, that enforcing its interests does not make one a dirty, tenant-searching "sideker".
The new consciousness manifests itself in what is seen as a possible withdrawal of some possibilities for overseas companies and in the resulting conditions for overseas investments, which do not contain anything unknown in the South East Asia dimension. The dynamics will vary from sector to sector. There is still a wide range of commitments to developing a realistic economic system, but the perception of "stagnation" in some decision-making processes is a reflection of the dynamism among former military personnel, technologists and local businesses, which is likely to be both locally known and sustainable.
A further characteristic of the countryside are and will continue to be state-owned companies that are very well acquainted with the recent past to those who have been observing Singapore and Vietnam today or Thailand and Indonesia. A few WEIGHTS ago, at the Myanmar Forum in Singapore, President Winston U Set Aung's economics advisor said that the lead reformist, industrial secretary and chair of the Myanmar Investment Commission, U Soe Thein, is indebted to a Myanmar without state-owned companies.
Are Myanmar's privately held companies going to be growing so fast that even un-reformed state-owned companies like Thailand will become outdated? Are they going to bring the present roles of the Myanmar Economic Corporation and Myanmar Economic Holdings to zero? Government companies will continue to be a characteristic of Myanmar's public finances for the time being.
Myanmar is also beginning to follow in the tracks of its neighbors in the direction of industry and capital spending policy. Spectators will soon no longer be able to watch Myanmar's version of the Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal Republic of Indonesia's Remarkable Indonesia ad on BBC World-TV. Burma will enact a reformed SEZ Act and FDI Act.
Indications of other large South East Asia countries can be revealing here. It may well be that decisive intervention is being made in certain areas of politics, as has sometimes been the case in South-East Asia. However, the IBRD, the IMF and the Asia Development Bank will not be waving magical staffs and creating a new, advanced Myanmar country.
After all, many may be inquisitive, or even incredible, in this post-Asian financial crisis, but Myanmar will have a local - and nationally dominated - bankers. Yes, the Central Bank of Myanmar will improve its performance, not least through co-operation with international bodies. However, expert commentators do not consider large national companies to be undercapitalised.
They are unlikely to wait for the arrival of overseas bankers in Myanmar to come to their aid. The financing of business is the definition of the activity of a large part of Myanmar's finances, as has long been the case in Thailand. However, the band of Hedge Funds must take a hard break and put "financial sovereignty" on the net when it appears.
Together with these eight more generics of post-Cold War Southeast Asia that characterize Myanmar's emergent postcolonial polity, the county has some prominent folds. The first is Parliament's important part vis-à-vis the Commission in discussions on macroeconomic policies. Another is that a competitively priced elections in 2015 will alter the nature of macroeconomic policies before this emergent public sector is fully integrated.
The third is the relatively bad preparedness and slenderness of the technocrats, a shortcoming not least due to the fact that Japan, the USA, Australia and Europe have not offered young Myanmar the right education and vocational skills in recent years. So Myanmar represents a true stark contrasts to Thailand after 1958, to Indonesia in the early New Order and perhaps even to Vietnam, as the results of "i mi" reached a crucial weight.
Fourthly, of course, Myanmar's relations with its biggest neighbor. How does this rapid pursuit of the outlines of Myanmar's emergent economic landscape affect us? But please be aware that this intimacy is not due to Myanmar being meant to go the way its neighbors in Southeast Asia have already gone.
Rather, it is the characterization of a not so unusual political-economic context that is likely to last in most of its characteristics and to which those who would be able to grasp and perhaps even shape Myanmar's futures should become accustomed.