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Tracing Burma's Economic Failure to Its Colonial Inheritance


The extent to which the inheritance of British rule in Burma, including Burmese perceptions of that inheritance, might explain Burma's economic failure since independence is explored. Several factors came into play. One was the ferocious rejection of the economic structures of colonial rule by the Burmese. Another was the failure of Burmese entrepreneurs– who had been in a position to achieve little beyond dominance over the rice field–to emerge during the colonial period. Finally, there were the implications for independent Burma's economic options of the withdrawal of Indian capital, enterprise, and commercial experience, which had been a dominant factor in the colonial economy, at the point when Burma regained its political freedom.

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Ian Brown , A Colonial Economy in Crisis: Burma's Rice Cultivators and the World Depression of the 1930s (Abingdon, 2005)

John H. Drabble , An Economic History of Malaysia, c.1800–1990: The Transition to Modern Economic Growth (New York, 2000)

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Business History Review
  • ISSN: 0007-6805
  • EISSN: 2044-768X
  • URL: /core/journals/business-history-review
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