Smart Transitions?: Foreign Investment, Disruptive Technology, and Democratic Reform in Myanmar

by John Dale (Geroge Mason University) and David Kyle
in Social Research: An International Quarterly Volume 82, Number 2 (2015).

Abstract:
Smart Transitions? Foreign Investment, Disruptive Technology, and Democratic Reform in Myanmar Since 2012, Myanmar has transformed from a “pariah state” and one of the world’s least attractive business climates to a “frontier economy” transitioning to a democratic form of government and attracting foreign direct investment from around the world. Driving this new investment is a transnational vision of economic development that seeks to transform Myanmar’s emerging megacity (Yangon) into a “smart city,” incorporating it into the existing transnational archipelago of other smart-city development projects fueling the growth of today’s global, knowledge-capitalist economy. If realized, this vision will undermine Myanmar’s democratic transition because it exacerbates existing sources of inequality, and introduces new ones.

Christina Fink “Myanmar’s Proactive National Legislature” Myanmar’s first multiparty national legislature in 50 years has played an influential role in shaping the country’s reform process and the evolving relationship between citizens and their government. Parliamentarians have used a variety of means to expand their mandate and weigh in on key issues. They have accomplished much more than expected in terms of representation, legislative performance, executive oversight, and constituency services. This is due to the dynamic leadership of key figures in parliament, the tolerance up to a point of senior administration and military personnel, and the effective engagement of civil society organizations.

Download the paper