Contextualizing and Theorizing Economic Development, Local Business and Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar
40 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 28, 2017
After Myanmar ended military rule in 2011, significant foreign investment arrived to facilitate a profitable transition to an integrated regional economy, and under the promise that foreign actors can help facilitate peaceful long-term development. However, these firms have also tacitly supported an ethnic cleansing committed by the government that most have partnered with or funded. This article builds theory on economic opening, development and conflict, using research from Myanmar to forward three arguments about business actions in fragile, at-risk countries. First, international-led regulatory reform has had little impact on endemic corruption at the micro or meso levels, as local elites and international businesses remain the primary beneficiaries. Second, ‘development’ is a contentious topic, defined locally not as broad societal growth but the unjustified picking of winners and losers in society by foreign entities. Third, business ventures are exacerbating ethnic tensions through a liberal peacebuilding mentality that is unresponsive to either local conflicts or local communities. The article closes by offering three ways that these findings build theory on business engagement as peacebuilders and development agents in developing yet fragile states.
Keywords: Myanmar, Peacebuilding, Ethnic Conflict, Refugees, Rohingya, Ethnic Cleansing, Muslim Minorities, Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, CSR, Civil War, Business and Peace, Sustainable Development, South Asia, SMEs
JEL Classification: F2, F23, M14, Q13, Q34, D74, F5, F50, F51, F54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation