Resisting a neoliberal sweep of Burma

Author: Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Democratic Voice of Burma, Published on: 25 January 2012

Those who celebrate the return of politics in Burma’s formal channels risk, ironically, shutting down real political debate and dissensus before they have even begun. The same way many opponents view Law as an end, Development is here the sacred object, led by ‘experts’ from outside who could...usher in a quasi-authoritarian neoliberalism where key social and political decisions...would be quarantined in the hands of a narrow elite. Without connecting with average Burmese, elites are ill-equipped to make optimal decisions...Instead, experimentation and politics must replace neoliberal or authoritarian development in Burma. Argentina’s social transfer policies...and Bhutan’s innovative Gross National Happiness are both models from which Burma might learn, given that they have a sound focus on pro-poor interventions; directing natural resource wealth to the rural sector with a focus on small-holder farming rather than large agri-businesses would be an important reform...

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