Don Hauptman points out a passage from an article in Thursday’s New York Times that sounds, well, straight out of Atlas Shrugged:
In Thailand and Myanmar, the military has been deeply involved in politics in recent decades. Thailand has had more than a dozen coups since the 1930s and, after the overthrow last year of a democratically elected government, power remains in the militaryâ??s hands.
The salient difference, says Sean Turnell, an expert on the Burmese economy at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, is that Thailandâ??s leaders have allowed businesses to thrive.
During 45 years of misrule, Myanmarâ??s generals have almost entirely dismantled the economy, he said. There are no effective property rights, and contract enforcement is nonexistent.
â??If in other countries ruling regimes behave occasionally as Mafioso in skimming a cut from prosperous business, then Burmaâ??s is more like a looter â?? destroying what it can neither create nor understand,â? Mr. Turnell said.
See the full article, “Across the River: 2 Divergent Paths in Southeast Asia,” for more background.