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Myanmar: popular revolt is economic « Previous | |Next »
October 1, 2007

The "crimson revolution" in Myanmar---- thousands of monks chanting "democracy, democracy"---with its internet counterpart has an economic undertow that goes deeper than the withdrawal of public subsidies for fuel. According to this article in Asia Times Online the military junta has successfully melded Myanmar's economy into one that is dependent and focused on the export of resources.

However, it appears that the junta has little economic-planning experience, and its priorities lie in the promotion of military power. It has produced a situation in which little value is added to any natural resources, whether it be copper, timber or energy, producing an economy dependent on imports and exposed to the volatility of global resource prices.

Kathy Wilcox

The extraordinarily high budget deficits carried by the ruling junta are typically addressed by printing more money, producing the significant inflationary pressures seen today. It is the populace that has the most to lose from rampant inflation and evaporating savings, but it faces an incredibly resilient, sometimes violent and increasingly isolated military that has kept a stranglehold on power since 1962.

Pepe Escobar says in Asian Times Online:

It's virtually impossible that the collective leadership in Beijing will let one of its neighbors, a key pawn in the 21st-century energy wars, be swamped by non-violent Buddhists and pro-democracy students - as this would constitute a daring precedent for the aspirations of Tibetans, the Uighurs in Xinjiang and, most of all, Falungong militants all over China, the embryo of a true rainbow-revolution push defying the monopoly of the Chinese Communist Party.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:54 AM | | Comments (2)


The troops in the cartoon remind me of the political parties in Australia when confronted with irresolvable ecological news. Substitute the cartoon figures for people like Abetz and Mar'n Ferguson and we can marvel at the spread of feudalism and the banana republic as greed collides head-on with common sense.
No, Australia isn't as crude as Burma (yet!), but the underlying mentality is disturbing similar.

What I find disappointing is that even when faced with the current crisis, China adheres to its traditional stance of non-interference in another country's internal affairs.

In so avoiding acting as a responsible stakeholder and pressuring the military to back off on the violence agains the monks China fails to distinguish itself from regional rival India, which so far has similarly preferred to deal with Myanmar's crisis by looking the other way.