The tenth HW Arndt Memorial Lecture, Coastal-inland interactions in Burmese history: A long-term perspective

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

HW Arndt lecture series

Date & time

Thursday 22 November 2012


Hedley Bull Lecture Theatre 1, Ground Floor, Hedley Bull Centre, Building 130


Professor Ronald Findlay, Columbia University


6125 1776 or 6125 2188
The history of Burma, like that of many Southeast Asian countries, can be viewed in terms of the interaction between coastal regions and kingdoms and the more densely populated inland agrarian states. In Burma this division also largely coincides with ethnic differences between the coastal Mon and the Arakanese and the inland Burmans and the Shans.

External influences have typically been transmitted through overseas
contact, including in earlier periods with India, Ceylon and Portugal and in later times with Britain and Japan.The economic policy of independent Burma, during both the civilian and subsequent military regimes, has largely been shaped by the fraught legacy of overseas contact in Burmese history.

The recent change of the capital from the commercial port of Rangoon
to the new inland city of Naypyidaw is thus of more than merely symbolic significance since it may reflect a desire to return to the apparently safe isolation of the interior heartland over the
vicissitudes of international trade and overseas contacts. But is that a wise choice in the increasingly globalised world of the twenty-first century?

Ronald Findlay was born in Rangoon and educated at Rangoon University and MIT. He has held appointments at Rangoon University and since 1969 at Columbia University, where he is the Ragnar Nurkse Professor of Economics. His major books include Trade and Specialization (1970); International Trade and Development Theory (1973); Trade, Development and Political Economy: Selected Essays of Ronald Findlay (1993); Factor Proportions, Trade and Growth (1995), based on the Ohlin Lectures delivered in Stockholm in 1991; and (with Kevin H.O’Rourke) Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (2007).

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