Economy and History of Conflict in Myanmar Essay

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Myanmar’s GDP in 1990 was 5.2 billion dollars and had per capita GDP of $123; these numbers took inflation account. It is widely accepted that the modern history of Myanmar in 1948 when the country gained independence from Britain. During this period, many scholars were initially optimistic of the potential for rapid economic development in Myanmar because of “its abundant natural resources, a relatively high literacy rate, absence of population pressure and a rigid caste system, and a relatively high social status given to women in the society” (Than and Tan 1990:1). However, political instability following independence had led to the collapse of the Burmese economy in the mid-1980s. The GDP growth rate of 5.5 percent from 1985 to 1986 can be starkly compared to that of 1989 to 1990, which showed negative growth rates. For instance, earning from foreign trade fell from 0.31 billion US dollars during the 1985-86 period to 0.15 billion US dollars in 1989-90. This pattern is consistent to the decline in political instability the country was experiencing. After independence, Myanmar was governed under a democratic parliamentary system until 1962 when a military coup took place. From 1962 to 2011, the country was under military socialist rule. The military junta was dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010 and a civilian government installed.

Given Myanmar’s long history of conflicts, I believe that the institutional, political, and economic instability…