29 September 2007


The Heritage Institute, that bastion of free market ideology, says Burma is 88.3% free from government. The Heritage Institute also says the following about Burma:

As an autocratic state, Burma imposes severe restrictions on many areas of its economy. Investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, and corruption are weak. The almost complete lack of a judicial system means that domestic and foreign companies must negotiate directly with the government to resolve disputes. Foreign investment is adjudicated in each instance, with no clear guidelines for investors. Heavy restrictions in the financial sector and labor market inflexibility are serious economic problems.


Burma is a repressive military dictatorship. The country gained its independence from Britain in 1948 and has been ruled by a military junta since 1962. The current
political incarnation of martial rule is the State Peace and Development Council
(SPDC). The SPDC offers its "roadmap for democracy" and National Convention to
rewrite the constitution as examples of reform, but little real change has been
forthcoming. Though Burma has significant national resources, restrictive economic policies and international sanctions have impeded economic development. In addition, foreign aid plummeted during the 1990s in response to the government's harsh anti-democratic repression.

As you can see from that excerpt, that conclusion is based on government expenditures which are of course very low as the State Peace and Development Council - the ruling junta- mainly only spends its money on armaments. About 40% of its budget, we believe.

And tax is low - mainly because there is no properly functioning government in the sense that we would understand it - which spends most of its time in repressing its people rather than collecting taxes from legitimate private enterprises.

Lies, damned lies and statistics.

And, in this case, sheer blind stupidity. You will notice that the Heritage Institute, true to its mission, is all about what might happen to your capital should you seek to invest (hey - opium is a good cash crop) rather than should you hope to just stay alive as a citizen of the investment target country.

Here's some freedom from government that the Heritage Foundation might like to get its head around, if it could only bring itself to realise that there's more to life than low government expenditures and tax rates.

I hope that Japanese corprations are reviewing their investment in the the country as long as its civilian press are getting slaughtered there.

Don't forget, Heritage and its friends are the people who think they have the simple, incontrovertible, correct answer for how we should organise our lives.

Should I be making cheap accusations against an organisation with which I have ideological 'problem' when Burmese are dying in the streets? Probably not, but knowledge is power and if you read the Heritage's web page on Burma, what conclusions would you draw? Hmm, yes, big investment risk.

People are dying. They were in 1964, they were in 1974, they were in 1998.

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