An eye-catching statement the military government declared after its auto-coup was that they were now driving Burma on the road to capitalism. The economics would no longer be a closed door and now Burma was on the track of the market economy. Hopefully, after this East Asian model of capitalism, Democracy could be the next step. Economics could probably be much more matter than politics.
Twenty six years ago, no sooner Burma’s determination for the road to socialism was proclaimed, Indian business men were forced to return home and Chinese also lost their mills and private firms in nationalization process. However, not very soon, Chinese without being trammeled by cunning Indian people revived and was able to control the power of Burma market eventually in this closed-door country. After 1988, with the proclamation of The Burma way to capitalism, the epicenter of Burma market has briskly moved back from Chinese to the hands of native people, but the people with green trousers.
The native trouser people also have two kinds of races: one race was from the blue green Kokang mountains, the Wa people who were the tycoons of opium and morphine in the golden triangle of South East Asia. The King of opium, Khun Sar was now dubbed as the peace architect for the country and he and his colleagues could now enjoy the benefits of free market while they were still able to hold the guns and rule their own army. Another trouser group was the Big Brother and his comrades of the domineering army, of course the original Tibeto-Burman group of the Pagan empire themselves, who had got free shares of businesses from the former. Once nominated as the enemies of the state, now the big cheese of opium, were the investors and bankers rising as Big Friends to Big Brother and Burma became a paradise of economic prosperity for the trouser people.
In 2006, the military claimed to the world that the Burma’s road to capitalism under his leadership was stupendously successful. They had the proof to testify that they didn’t lie to the world as the GDP in Burma was 500 million in 1987 and now it had become 6 billion in 2006. The improvement in Burma GDP under capitalism is not a canard but in contemporary Burma, at least one third of the children in the country are malnourished, 75% of the people are below the poverty line and to my knowledge, there are many graduates who were competing one another to get a job to be awarded a salary of less than one US$ per day. Why Adam Smith’s hand of self-interest has never spontaneously pushed forward for the public interest in the Burmese society?
Amartya Sen in his Development as Freedom said the affluence of the society should be measured in terms of freedom rather than measuring the GDP. Burma was good exemplary for his argument. Under the Burma’s road to capitalism, people were like the small tiny head of the two-capita snake. The big head always got the food first without sharing a sufficient amount of food to the small tiny head, becoming bigger and bigger while the small tiny head, from underfeeding became frailer and frailer. Nevertheless, the arrogant big head claimed how strong and beefy he was but without noticing his counterpart would at last poisoned himself at the final day of no more toleration and brought the knell of “State failure” to him.