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Paradigm Trap

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Paradigm Trap

The development establishment's embrace of Myanmar and how to break loose

Can Myanmar take a path to sustainable development that avoids the pitfalls of the orthodox development paradigm? This report argues that this is not only necessary but possible.

Table of Contents:


Executive Summary

About Walden Bello


Introduction: Paradigm Trap

The Critics’ View

The Other Side of the Story

Trapped in a Paradigm?

Neither Scylla nor Charybdis

Order of the Study


The Countryside: From Coercion to the Market

Surplus Extraction in the “Socialist” Period

Post-1988 Liberalization and the Peasantry

The Tatmadaw and Land Grabs

Major Land Grabs

From “Weapons of the Weak” to Collective Protest

The Agricultural Development Strategy: Towards a New Era?

The Problem with ADS

Three Pillars of Capitalist Transformation



Extraction as Industrial Policy

Industrial Failure and “Socialist” Crisis

Post-Socialist Industrialization under Than Shwe

A New Industrial Paradigm: SEZ’s and Economic Corridors

Japan’s Stakes in Myanmar’s Industrial Future

The Corridors Paradigm as Extractivism

Accumulation by Dispossession: Case Studies

Why Resistance Matters




Coal, Hydro, or Sustainable Energy?

The Debate over Myanmar’s Energy Future

Japan Pushes for a Coal-Intensive Path

The Case against Coal

Hydropower and Hydropolitics

The Dangers of Hydro

The Chinese Presence

Sustainable Hydropower” and the World Bank

Winning Over the Grassroots

The Sustainable Energy Option: Pluses and Minuses



Crony Capital: A Necessary Evil?

Military Enterprises

Top Conglomerates and Their Links to the Military

Coopted Elites: Drug Lords and Ethnic Economic Collaborators

Aung San Suu Kyi and the Cronies

Future of the Cronies

Why Conciliating Predators Won’t Work



Conclusion: A Post-Neoliberal Paradigm for Myanmar

Damaged Goods

The Paradigm’s the Problem

Avoiding the ASEAN Road

Re-embedding the Market

An Agriculture-led Post-Neoliberal Paradigm

Agriculture and Industry




A Final Note



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Paradigm Trap

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Paperback A4 report

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