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Fiery Dragons: Banks, Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma

Fiery Dragons: Banks, Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma

by Sean TurnellSean Turnell


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The first book to comprehensively examine this subject, Fiery Dragons explores the present circumstances of Burma's financial malaise but does not neglect how it got there.

Opening its account at the dawn of the colonial era, the book tells the story of Burma's financial system - of its banks, moneylenders and 'microfinanciers' - through to the present day, to the events that in our times bring the Burmese people out onto their streets to demand something better. It argues that Burma's financial system matters, and that the careful study of this system can tell us much about Burma (and something about other developing countries, too).

While financial systems and institutions matter in all countries, the book argues that they especially count in Burma. Events in the financial and monetary sphere have been unusually - spectacularly - prominent in Burma's turbulent modern history. From the Chettiars and the alienation of the land to the backlash against the foreign moneylender. From the great state banks of the democracy years to the Orwellian 'people's banks' of the Burma way to socialism. From Burma's bizarre demonetization experiences to the rise and crash of the entrepreneurial bankers. And from the money launderers to the practitioners of microfinance. The story of Burma's financial system and its players is one that has shaped the country. It is a dramatic story, and an important one.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788776940416
Publisher: NIAS
Publication date: 05/28/2009
Series: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Monograph , #114
Edition description: New
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sean Turnell is currently Economic Advisor to the Myanmar government, a Senior Research Fellow at the Myanmar Development Institute, and an Associate Professor of Economics at Macquarie University in Sydney. A leading researcher of Myanmar’s economy for over 20 years, he has been an adviser about this to various governments, international agencies, NGOs, etc. as well as a key adviser on economic policy to Myanmar’s National League for Democracy and its chairperson, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The author of numerous academic and other studies of Myanmar, his seminal study into the country’s monetary and banking history, Fiery Dragons, was published by NIAS Press in 2009.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiii

Note on Names and Places xvii

Commonly Used Abbreviations xix

Timeline of Events in Modern Burma xxi

1 Introduction 1

2 The Chettiars 13

3 Cooperative Credit to the Rescue? 53

4 One Bank, Two Countries: Imaginings of a Central Bank in Colonial Burma 74

5 Aristocratic Eagles: The Commercial and Exchange Banks 104

6 Reconstruction, a Currency Board and the Union 'Banks' of Burma 137

7 Agricultural and Commercial Banking in the Parliamentary Democracy Era 172

8 The Road to Ruin: Credit and Banking under Military Rule 223

9 'Reform' under the SLORC/SPDC 256

10 The Crash 297

11 Microfinance in Burma 319

Afterword 353

Bibliography 359

Index 381

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