Nation-Building and the Management of Drug Eradication Schemes in Myanmar

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Lomethong, Jen and John Walsh, “Nation-Building and the Management of Drug Eradication Schemes in Myanmar,” paper presented at the International Conference on Nation-Building 2017 (May 28th-30th, 2017, Bangkok).

Abstract:

Opium production and consumption has been known to be a problem in Myanmar since at least 1750. Production of opium was 36 tons in 1948 but that rose to 2,500 tons in 1996, owing to market conditions and the lack of alternatives to farmers searching for cash crops and for ethnic groups mounting insurgencies. Various drug eradication programmes have been tried in the country, often in conjunction with international partners but these have been of limited success because the military government was unwilling to allow access to many parts of the country to observers and, indeed, some parts of the country were not available even to the military government. In addition, local warlords had patronage networks which extended into government circles and caused divided loyalties among at least some of those people charged with eradication. This paper explores the existence and performance of drug eradication schemes in contemporary Myanmar and then argues that none is likely to be successful until steps are taken to raise confidence in peace and stability among all important stakeholders. This, in turn, can only be achieved with nation-building initiatives. It is recognised that the current political settlement is fragile and it is not impossible that democracy will be lost again. The example of the Rohingya refugees and the recent outbreaks of ethnic violence in urban Myanmar show the limits of state institutions and technical capacity in this regard.
Keywords: drug eradication, Myanmar, nation-building, state capacity

Impact of Mobile Telephones on Rural Livelihoods in Northern Myanmar

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Announcing: Khaing, Mya Kay and John Walsh, “Impact of Mobile Telephones on Rural Livelihoods in Northern Myanmar,” The Myanmar Journal, Vol.4, No.1 (2017), available at: http://www.komyra.com/bbs/board.php?bo_table=articles&wr_id=62&page=0&page=0.

Abstract:

ABSTRACT: The topic of this research is the impact of Mobile telephones on Rural Livelihoods in Northern Myanmar: A Study of Patheingyi and Madaya Townships, Mandalay Division. Survey Questionnaires forms were conducted with 494 respondents from 600 sample size actively involved in and were analyzed using PSPP.  The findings of this study are that on telecommunications use, benefits, and constraints in Mandalay Division – has helped illuminate the economic and social impacts of telecommunications market liberalization. Modes of communication are changing, new business ventures are emerging, and mobile phones are becoming a part of everyday life. In this report focuses on not only by exploring the ongoing impacts of increasing telephone access, but also by investigating the constraints imposed by complementary infrastructure, and patterns of internet uptake.

Key Words : Impact, Mobile Phones, Rural Livelihoods, Assets, information Communications Technology, Myanmar

Myanmar’s Mothers at a Time of Structural Change

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Win, Sandi and John Walsh, “Myanmar’s Mothers at a Time of Structural Change,” paper presented at Myanmar Update 2017 (Australian National University, Canberra, February 16th-18th, 2017).

Abstract

The intersectionalities of Myanmar’s patriarchic system have represented significant challenges to the country’s women, particularly its mothers. The confluence of class, ethnicity and patronage networks contains within itself the numerous barriers to women working outside the house, particularly after marriage. This manifests itself is social mores as well as practical issues relating to the ability to balance childcare with outside activities. This situation is now changing because of the relative opening of the state to democracy and the forces of globalization. In Mandalay, capital of the Northern Division of the country and centre of agricultural production, globalization is represented by the physical infrastructure of the road linking the city to Thailand, India and China, the dry dock and special economic zone, the spread of capitalism to more sectors of society and the opportunities to consume international products through newly-opened retail spaces such as in Ocean Plaza, as well as the access to information from mobile internet access cross-border television shows. These changes are affecting the decisions women can make about their lives and the expectations placed upon them to be not just wives, mothers and daughters but, also, modern consumers and producers in a developed capitalist society. This paper reports on qualitative research conducted with a diverse range of mothers in Mandalay through in-depth personal interviews. A semi-structured research instrument is used to encourage the respondents to discuss issues related to work-life balance, aspirations, life chances and relationships with other people, including family members, institutions and the market. The findings are presented within a framework that combine practical, cognitive and spiritual elements.

Keywords: gender, modernity, mothers, Myanmar, work-life balance

Work Life Balance of Women in Mandalay, Myanmar

Announcing:

Tin, Ingyin Khaing and John Walsh, “Work Life Balance of Women in Mandalay, Myanmar,” Recent Issues in Human Resource Management, Vol.1, No.1 (December, 2016), pp.98-111, available at: http://crcltd.org/images/Work%20Life%20Balance%20of%20Women%20in%20Mandalay,%20Myanmar.pdf.

Abstract:

Myanmar emerged from five decades of isolation- both economically and politically. Myanmar could become one of the next rising stars in Asia if it successfully leverages the natural resources, labor force and geographic advantage. The rapid growth of economic gave rise to tremendously increase the entry of women to labor-market of Myanmar. As the women take on the role of working in addition to their traditional role of the homemaker, they are under great pressure to balance their work and personal lives. This study attempts to understand how work and family related factors influence the workfamily balance of female employees Myanmar. The study is based on an exploratory qualitative study of 30 women in both professional and non-professional in both public and private sectors. The result the research provided that their perceptions on engagement of work, pressure according to the nature of job, multi-role responsibilities, roles conflicts and attempts to negotiate, acceptance of the family superiority culture, the organizational culture and chance of career development provided the positive effect to the employees retention, the main theme of traditional norm do not change that wife should be fully responsible for family. Key words work, Family, Multi-role Responsibilities, Traditional Norms.

Impact of Mobile Phones on Rural Livelihoods Assets in Rural Myanmar: A Study of Patheingyi Township and Madaya Township, Mandalay Division

Announcing:

Khaing, Mya Kay and John Walsh, “Impact of Mobile Phones on Rural Livelihoods Assets in Rural Myanmar: A Study of Patheingyi Township and Madaya Township, Mandalay Division,” International Journal of Development and Management Sciences, Vol.1, No.1 (December, 2016), pp.38-65, available at: http://crcltd.org/images/Impact%20of%20Mobile%20Phones%20on%20Rural%20Livelihoods%20Assets%20in%20Rural%20Myanmar%20A%20Study%20of%20Patheingyi%20Township%20and%20Madaya%20Township,%20Mandalay%20Divisio.pdf.

Abstract:

The topic of this research is the impact of Mobile Phones on Rural Livelihoods Assets in Rural Myanmar: A Study of Patheingyi Township and Madaya Township, Mandalay Division. Survey Questionnaires forms were conducted with 494 respondents from 600 sample size actively involved in and were analyzed using PSPP. The findings of this study are that on telecommunications use, benefits, and constraints in Mandalay Division – has helped illuminate the economic and social impacts of telecommunications market liberalization. Modes of communication are changing, new business ventures are emerging, and mobile phones are becoming a part of everyday life. In this report focuses on not only by exploring the ongoing impacts of increasing telephone access, but also by investigating the constraints imposed by complementary infrastructure, and patterns of internet uptake.

Keywords: Mobile Phones, Rural Livelihoods, Assets, Information Communication Technology, Myanmar

Casino Resorts as Micro-Para-Statal Areas in the GMSR: Connectivity and Economic Development

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Announcing: Walsh, John, “Casino Resorts as Micro-Para-Statal Areas in the GMSR: Connectivity and Economic Development,” The Myanmar Journal, Vol.3, No.1 (2016), pp.21-31, available at: http://www.komyra.com/bbs/board.php?bo_table=articles&wr_id=44.

Abstract:  Several types of para-statal areas exist in different parts of the Greater
Mekong subregion (GMSR). These are areas in which different versions of the
rule of law apply than in normal parts of the country. Para-statal areas can be
formal in nature, as in the case of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that are
used to help propel nations along the trajectory of the Factory Asia paradigm.
Other para-statal areas are informal in nature and represent territories where the
rule of law is partially or wholly-imposed by non-state actors. These range from
areas in Myanmar where insurgent ethnic minority groups have established
autonomous zones, to areas in Laos where Chinese capital has been used to
create areas of cowboy capitalism, where the rule of law is enforced by the
owners of capital, usually in collusion with representatives of the state, who
benefit personally as a result. There are no examples of the latter form of
para-statal area offering better workpace safety conditions or labour relations
more generally. On the contrary, workers are generally subject to exploitative
conditions with little guarantee of receiving due reward for their labour and no
rights to collective bargaining or freedom of association. This is generally true of
the casino resort micro-para-statal areas of the GMSR that are mostly located on
the borders of Thailand with Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, as well as special
resorts created for Chinese visitors to Vietnam. Casinos offer employment but
few good jobs and a significant proportion of those jobs are associated with
indecent work. Only croupier work is valued. Most jobs are low-paid, low-skilled
service sector jobs with little security or career paths. They are also often
associated with drug smuggling and usage, sex work of various categories and
money laundering. This does not necessarily mean that the lives of workers in
resorts are materially worse than all other workers in formal sector SEZs, as the
recent protests by female Cambodian workers in the garment industry SEZs
illustrates. However, these are conditions in which workers have historically
sought to organize themselves in the name of security. This paper uses mostly
secondary data sources to compare what is known of conditions in a range of
different para-statal areas across the GMSR, with a particular focus on casino
resorts. It is argued that connectivity with surrounding areas can be of
considerable importance in determining the nature of conditions experienced by
workers and that the different forms of connectivity exist in different
combinations in the various para-statal area categories identified. This then has a
direct impact on the willingness and ability of workers to provide remittances
and to obtain competencies and experiences that can subsequently contribute to
local economic and social development.
Casino Resorts as Micro-Para-Statal Areas in the GMSR: Connectivity
and Economic Development

Key words: Casino resorts, Greater Mekong Subregion, Para-statal areas, Informal
economy, security

Myanmar Embraces the Factory Asia Paradigm

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I attended the International Conference on ASEAN Studies organized by Pridi Banomyong International College of Thammasat University at the Sukosol Hotel in Bangkok (amidst heavy rain and floods in our soi and thereabouts). My paper was entitled “Myanmar Embraces the Asia Factory Paradigm.” Here is the abstract:

Some of the more important sites where rapid economic development will take place in Myanmar in the years to come are the special economic zones (SEZs) which will host the Factory Asia paradigm: import substituting, export oriented, low labour cost manufacturing based on the movement of labour from manufacturing to industry (pre-Lewisian point) and then suppression of workers’ rights (post-Lewisian point). This will, presumably, take place in the designated areas of Dawei, which will be dominated by Thai capital, and Thilawa, which will be dominated by Japanese capital. Peripheral SEZs in border areas have also been proposed but these are jeopardized by continued attempts to ensure autonomy for ethnic and tribal groups opposed to central Burman rule. The SEZs will be linked to the places of consumption and production across Asia by the Asian Development Bank’s Asian Highway Network, which consists of road and rail links which will, in the case of Myanmar, connect Yangon and Mandalay to Kanchanaburi in Thailand (and hence China to the north via Route 3) and the eastern border of India and, hence, make numerous potential export industrial sectors profitable which were not profitable with the existing level of physical and social infrastructure. There will be a human cost to pay for this transformation, despite aggregate increases of income overall. Alienation, state-sponsored violence and family conflicts are all to be expected, since these have routinely been found in the other countries to have embraced the Factory Asia paradigm. This paper explores the likely trajectory of development to be followed in Myanmar based on the history of neighbouring countries and the potential impact on the workers and family member involved in this paradigm. Policy recommendations are drawn from the analysis.

Keywords: Asian Development Bank, Asian Highway Network, Factory Asia, Special Economic Zones, Thailand