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Business and the Military

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Title: The politics of the emerging agro-industrial complex in Asia’s ‘final frontier’ - The war on food sovereignty in Burma
Date of publication: 03 September 2013
Description/subject: "Burma's dramatic turn-around from 'axis of evil' to western darling in the past year has been imagined as Asia's 'final frontier' for global finance institutions, markets and capital. Burma's agrarian landscape is home to three-fourths of the country's total population which is now being constructed as a potential prime investment sink for domestic and international agribusiness. The Global North's development aid industry and IFIs operating in Burma has consequently repositioned itself to proactively shape a pro-business legal environment to decrease political and economic risks to enable global finance capital to more securely enter Burma's markets, especially in agribusiness. But global capitalisms are made in localized places - places that make and are made from embedded social relations. This paper uncovers how regional political histories that are defined by very particular racial and geographical undertones give shape to Burma's emerging agro-industrial complex. The country's still smoldering ethnic civil war and fragile untested liberal democracy is additionally being overlain with an emerging war on food sovereignty. A discursive and material struggle over land is taking shape to convert subsistence agricultural landscapes and localized food production into modern, mechanized industrial agro-food regimes. This second agrarian transformation is being fought over between a growing alliance among the western development aid and IFI industries, global finance capital, and a solidifying Burmese military-private capitalist class against smallholder farmers who work and live on the country's now most valuable asset - land. Grassroots resistances increasingly confront the elite capitalist class' attempts to corporatize food production through the state's rule of law and police force. Farmers, meanwhile, are actively developing their own shared vision of food sovereignty and pro-poor land reform that desires greater attention.... Food Sovereignty: a critical dialogue, 14 - 15 September, New Haven.
Author/creator: Kevin Woods
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI)
Format/size: pdf (593K)
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2013


Title: Air Bagan’s High Fliers
Date of publication: May 2010
Description/subject: Air Bagan, the Burmese domestic airline owned by tycoon Tay Za, soared to new heights at this year’s Thingyan water festival in Rangoon, flying in foreign disc jockeys and dancers to keep the crowds entertained.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2010


Title: A Different Breed
Date of publication: September 2008
Description/subject: "Burmese businessmen were once a force for positive political change in Burma; now they serve nobody’s interests but their own—and the generals’...Long gone are the days when Burmese admired their country’s most successful entrepreneurs. Burmese business empires were once a source of pride to a subject people living under British rule, and native-born tycoons were regarded as patriotic men of the people. How things have changed...Now, as Burma’s gross domestic product per capita remains at less than half that of Cambodia, millionaires mingle with generals over glasses of champagne, enjoying the fruits of a new economic order that has done nothing to lift the rest of the population out of grinding poverty..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 November 2008


Title: Tracking the Tycoons
Date of publication: September 2008
Description/subject: "THREE years after profiling Burma’s most successful tycoons in its September 2005 issue, The Irrawaddy is again directing attention to the men who govern the country’s business world. They continue to prosper, and have been joined by others, yet they are coming increasingly under the international spotlight and critical scrutiny. Many of those who featured in our September 2005 issue found themselves on another list last year—penalized by US and EU sanctions because of their relationship with, and unquestioning support for, Burma’s military regime. The sanctions list contained such names as Tay Za and his elder brother, Thi Ha; Asia World’s director Tun Myint Naing; Aung Thet Mann, whose father is the regime’s third most powerful general; and Khin Shwe, who faithfully attended the regime-sponsored National Convention and is well connected to the top junta leaders. They were penalized by the US shortly after the regime they so assiduously back brutally suppressed demonstrations last September demanding changes that would advance prosperity and freedom for all, not just a favored clique..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 November 2008


Title: Tycoon Turf
Date of publication: September 2005
Description/subject: Burma’s business czars tread a wary path... "In today’s Burma, two groups of people command from the general population a mixture of envy, anger and a dose of admiration. The first group is, of course, the military leadership, the generals who have been governing the country since 1988. The rulers of Burma have so far somehow failed to persuade the public to accept the notion that the military government is there to serve the interests of the country and its citizens. The regime remains deeply unloved by most of the population. The second group is the tycoons who grow rich in their impoverished country. Since the regime introduced an “open market economy” in 1989 and abandoned the “Burmese Way to Socialism” introduced by the previous government, many have taken advantage of this change, and the country has seen a growing number of tycoons and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs opened business offices and set up companies overnight as they became self-appointed CEOs or managing directors in newly-established companies. Chauffeured in their powerful SUVs and sleek Mercedes Benz limousines, they travel far, locally and internationally, to conduct business and find new markets. Their business interests cover export-import, construction, agriculture, transportation and communications, mining, hotels and tourism, and the garment trade..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2006


Title: Tycoon Te Za: Well-Connected, and Well-Heeled
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: Profile of a modern Burmese empire-builder... "It wouldn’t be wrong to say many young men dream of a military career in military-ruled Burma. It promises both power and security. That may be what 20-year-old Te Za had in mind when he enrolled at the Defense Service Academy, Burma’s prestigious military academy, 20 years ago. If so, he shattered his own dream by eventually dropping out of the DSA to elope with his love, Thida Zaw, whom he later married. But Te Za (also spelled Tay Za) has no regrets. Today he is one of Burma’s most promising tycoons, a millionaire with both power and deep pockets. As president and managing director of Htoo Trading Company, Te Za is a major player in Burma’s tourism, logging, palm oil, real estate, hotel and housing development industries. He now controls 80 percent of the country’s legal timber production..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006


Title: Befreiung des Handels aus den Fängen des Militärs
Date of publication: January 2003
Description/subject: Burma: Fairer Handel, ›Deglobalisierung‹ und andere Alternativen? Eine Diskussion von Walden Bellos Konzept der De-Globalisierung und Lokalisierung angewandt auf Burma. Warum sind die Ideen der globalisierungskritischen Bewegung derzeit auf Burma nicht anwendbar? key words: anti-globalisation, fair trade, military / state economy, neo-liberalism,
Author/creator: Alfred Oehlers, Deutsch von Gudrun Witte
Language: Deutsch, German, English
Source/publisher: Südostasien Jg. 19, Nr. 1 - Asienhaus
Format/size: pdf (51K - English)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/Globalisation_Oehlers.pdf
Date of entry/update: 08 January 2004


Title: No Sex Please - We'Re Burmese
Date of publication: February 2001
Description/subject: "Despite draconian laws and official denial, sex is big business in Burma. But brothel owners find it doesn't pay to offend the morals of modest generals..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy, Vol. 9. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Fall from Fortune
Date of publication: January 2001
Description/subject: Business people in Burma gamble their fortunes -- and their freedom -- on picking the winners in the country's power struggles.
Author/creator: Maung Maung Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Power and Money: Economics and Conflict in Burma
Date of publication: 31 October 2000
Description/subject: "...The regime's persistent military targeting of ethnic peoples has significantly compounded the negative effects of economic mismanagement. Although the ethnic conflict in Burma is widely considered a human rights problem, many of the regime's tactics are economic; in an attempt to starve them into submission, ethnic groups are routinely denied the ability to secure an income sufficient for survival... Continued conflict and human rights abuses have severely weakened the economy, to the detriment of both ethnic peoples and the general population, and made economic reform a practical impossibility in Burma. Although gross human rights violations and cultural destruction seem not to bother Burma's government, perhaps the impossibility of sustaining the country on a continually deteriorating economic base will eventually force the ruling power to make concessions and respect the rights of Burma's ethnic nationalities."
Author/creator: Laura Frankel
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Cultural Survival Quarterly" Issue 24.3
Format/size: English
Date of entry/update: 17 August 2010


Title: Used Car Salesman
Date of publication: September 2000
Description/subject: Following up on our Burmese Tycoons series, The Irrawaddy presents thispersonal account of the pitfalls of doing business in Burma.
Author/creator: Maung Maung Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burmese Tycoons, Part III
Date of publication: August 2000
Description/subject: This is the last installment of our Burmese Tycoons series. We hope it has provided a useful overview of the Burmese business environment.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 8, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burmese Tycoons, Part II
Date of publication: July 2000
Description/subject: Drug money and close ties with top generals are two of the not-so-secret ingredients in the success stories of some of Burma's richest men. Using a variety of sources, this special report takes a look at what lies behind the rising fortunes of four of Burma's leading businessmen of the past decade...Thein Tun (Myanmar Golden Star Co., Ltd., Crusher Drinks, Tun Foundation Bank); Michael Moe Myint (Myint & Associates Company Limited). Kyaw Win [May Flower] (Myanmar May Flower Bank Limited, Chin Su Plywood Industry); U Kyaw Win (Shwe Than Lwin Company); U Kyaw Myint (Golden Flower Co., Ltd., Shwemarlar Housing Project, Two Fish Brand Pure Groundnut oil)...
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 8. No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burmese Tycoons Part I
Date of publication: June 2000
Description/subject: Drug money and close ties with top generals are two of the not-so-secret ingredients in the success stories of some of Burma's richest men. Using a variety of sources, this special report takes a look at what lies behind the rising fortunes of four of Burma's leading businessmen of the past decade.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 8, No. 6
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: Tun Myint Naing [Steven Law] (Asia World Co Ltd.); U Eike Htun (Asia Wealth Bank, Olympic Construction Company); U Htay Myint (Yuzana Co Ltd, Yuzana Super Market, Hotel and Plaza); U Aung Ko Win [Saya Kyaung] (Kanbawza Bank).
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003