Burma's generals won't be winning next year's Nobel Prize in economics, reports the Asia Sentinel:
As an indication of just how wrongheaded government policy can be, Japanese researchers at the Institute of Economic Research at Hitotsubashi University in a 2004 paper described a household survey conducted in 2001, covering more than 500 households in eight villages with diverse agro-ecological environments. They found that the farther they got from the center of the village, where government authority is stronger, the richer the villagers were. In other words, the farther villagers got from the government, the better off they were.
According to a 2002 study by the Land Tenure Center of the University of Wisconsin, it would be difficult to find a government that could screw up its policies much worse.
The generals have the intuitive economics of especially dumb 3-year-olds. They react to rice shortages by banning rice exports; to inflation, by declaring a bogus "official" exchange rate. Back in 1987, then-leader Ne Win issued currency in denominations of his lucky numbers. Fewer people would go hungry if some kind soul explained basic principles, like "your numerologist is not an expert" to these people. But we castigate economists who talk to bad men.
The seizure-inducing Web site of Myanmar's Ministry of Finance is here.