Over the last week I’ve watched with sadness and anger the disaster that is unfolding in Myanmar. People are dying by the thousands and the state there is making things worse (but what else is new?). Instead of getting out of the way it has resorted to blocking aid from entering the country; it has banned foreign journalists from reporting; and has set up –in traditional police state manner– roadblocks and checkpoints around the most severely affected areas.
Yet the problem is not just the intervention that is happening now; the problem is with the state itself. Indeed, Myanmar is not exactly ruled by teddy bears. On the contrary, the Junta doesn’t place nice with anyone or anything. Thus, whenever I hear about places that are “cut off from the rest of the world” or that are “out of contact” I can’t help but think that this has to be the result of government intervention at a massive scale. For how else can we explain the widespread lack of infrastructure?
In countries where the market is relatively free we see greater prosperity. Along with prosperity comes more and better infrastructure –hospitals, communications, transportation, insurance and savings, and of course charity. However, in Myanmar, where people are kept poor at gunpoint, none of the expected growth and development that we see elsewhere has taken place.
Poverty is not a voluntarily-occurring long-lasting phenomenon so long as there is a free market to improve conditions. Poverty is evil and is sustained by the deliberate actions of that criminal gang known as the state. The monsters who rule Myanmar have no place in a civilized society.12:43 pm on May 15, 2008 Email Manuel Lora