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Stiglitz in Naypyitaw

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz arrived in Burma’s new capital Naypyitaw on Tuesday, where he will speak at a seminar on economic development.

The Nobel Laureate is visiting the Southeast Asian nation at the invitation of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UNESCAP) to advise the ruling military junta on development policies and poverty eradication, particularly in the rural areas.

“In our Media Advisory, he’s going to participate in reforms in Burma. They left for Burma yesterday. I believe he’s there in the city at the moment,” an official at the Bangkok office of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), told Mizzima on Tuesday.

Prof. Sin Theingi, a retired teacher of Rangoon’s University of Economics, said discussions should focus more on the social and economic aspect rather than the rural economy.

“When we discuss, instead of focusing only on the rural aspect, we should be able to discuss the economic and social aspects. Besides, we should also talk of health and education,” she added.

Prof. Sin Theingi said in order to develop the rural economy it is necessary to develop the way of thinking of farmers and forming community-based organisations to protect the environment. There is also need for children’s health and education.

Besides, she said the market economy should be well-implemented, “We need to really open up the market, so that it will attract the people. For example, we also need to listen to the farmers, as often they know better than us in several ways. If we open it up like this, it would develop the rural area,” she added.

But a Burmese economist, who did not wish to reveal his identity, said economic development of a country is closely linked with political stability.

He added that the government should allow farmers to freely work in the rural areas and provide them raw materials and capital.

Stiglitz, in one of his popular book titled “Globalization and Its Discontents” argues, “when families and firms seek to buy too little compared to what the economy can produce, governments can fight recessions and depressions by using expansionary monetary and fiscal policies to spur the demand for goods and services.”

On Tuesday, Burmese military junta’s mouthpiece newspaper the New Light of Myanmar reported the meeting between Burmese Prime Minister General Thein Sein and Dr. Noeleen Hezyer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, led delegation. But the newspaper did not mention Joseph Stiglitz’s visit to the country.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 December 2009 12:14 )  
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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