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Foreign Capital and Garment Export from Myanmar: Implications for the Labour Process

Author

Listed:
  • Myo Myo Myint

    () (Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya)

  • Rajah Rasiah

    () (Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of foreign capital inflows on employment, wages and skills, in the export-oriented garment manufacturing sector of Myanmar. The paper argues that global developments driven by the World Trade Organisation have stimulated foreign capital inflows into Myanmar in export-oriented labour-intensive industries such as garment manufacturing. Despite a rise in exports to countries such as Japan, the paper provides evidence to show that international economic and political isolation and poor infrastructure have left Myanmar’s workers vulnerable to the vicissitudes of capitalist exploitation. Women particularly face a highly uncertain future as the poor working conditions include very low wages, little exposure to training and transient work. It is clear that the host-government is the critical agent here to ensure cohesive integration in the global economy as well as to provide the basic infrastructure and the bargaining power required to leverage improvements in working conditions of garment workers in Myanmar.

Suggested Citation

  • Myo Myo Myint & Rajah Rasiah, 2012. "Foreign Capital and Garment Export from Myanmar: Implications for the Labour Process," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 4(3), pages 151-172, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:umk:journl:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:151-172
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    File URL: http://ijie.um.edu.my/filebank/published_article/4121/Fulltext8.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kudo, Toshihiro, 2005. "The Impact of United States Sanctions on the Myanmar Garment Industry," IDE Discussion Papers 42, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    2. Helleiner, Gerald K, 1973. "Manufactured Exports from Less-Developed Countries and Multinational Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(329), pages 21-47, March.
    3. Rajah Rasiah, 2012. "Beyond the Multi-Fibre Agreement: How are Workers in East Asia Faring?," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 4(3), pages 1-20, October.
    4. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1988. "Export-Promoting Trade Strategy: Issues and Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 27-57, January.
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    1. repec:ilo:ilowps:487274 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment; exports; foreign capital; garments; Myanmar; skills; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • L67 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Other Consumer Nondurables: Clothing, Textiles, Shoes, and Leather Goods; Household Goods; Sports Equipment

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