Congratulations to Myanmar (or Burma, as many of us still call it)! The country held elections last week for 45 of the 664 seats in its Parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won 43 of the 45 contested seats. The decision to gradually democratize Burma’s political process was made by Burma’s ruling generals.
Burma’s generals, supported by their patrons in China, are probably not opening the country up out of the kindness of their hearts (although we concede this is possible). They’re doing it because there is probably more money in running the country at a profit than in exploiting poor people through force and coercion. This more or less supports the point we were making a few days ago: profit IS socially responsible, as it lifts standards of living and allows people to pursue their own interests.
We’ve never been to Burma. But we had dinner with our friend, Doug Casey, in Sydney last year when he was in town for a conference. We asked him where he would go if he was a young man just starting out in life looking for fame, fortune, and adventure. He said Burma. The map below begins to tell you why.
The city of Mandalay isn’t on the map above. But Mandalay is more or less in the middle of Burma. If you took a 700-mile-long piece of string, held an end in Mandalay, and then rotated it around 360 degrees, you’d have 700 million people living inside the circle you’ve just drawn. That’s over 10% of the world’s population. Mandalay is a place you’d want to avoid if you don’t like crowds, in other words.
But if you see Burma as the crossroads between India and China, and if you see the Bay of Bengal as a vast new source of oil and gas for the Emerging Markets, and if you see that Burma is the same size as Thailand, but has a GDP one-tenth the size, you start to see how much could happen there in the next 50 years. And that’s not even mentioning the beaches, temples, and islands that are sure to attract tourists from all over the world, including the new middle class of China.
In the meantime, we’ll note that international oil companies have only been awarded 16 exploration blocks off-shore of Burma since 1960. That will probably change in the coming years.
Keep your eye on Burma!
Regards,Dan Denning,for The Daily Reckoning
Dan Denning is the author of 2005's best-selling The Bull Hunter. A specialist in small-cap stocks, Dan draws on his network of global contacts from his base in Melbourne, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to The Daily Reckoning Australia.
Our friend Richard Duncan believes the U.S. economy requires credit growth to survive. Here, you’ll see what he thinks will happen if the U.S. doesn’t continue expanding credit. You’ll also find exclusive footage we shot in the Daily Reckoning’s studio explaining how the U.S. could lose it’s global dominance… and how programs like Social Security or Medicare could go bust...
The hum of the printing presses and the steady drip of cheap credit over the past five years made it easy to believe the U.S. economy was in a true recovery. But what happens when the excess liquidity begins to dry up?
The Americans who voted for Obama were expecting some big changes. But, six years later, the government he acquired has only spied harder, the drones have flown lower, and the weapons have gotten bigger. But don’t blame Obama. Read on…
All paper currency has a shelf life. It could be 5 years or 500 years, but at some point, the value of any paper currency eventually reaches zero. That's why, for centuries, people have turned to one shiny metal to safeguard their personal store of wealth. And, as Jim Rickards explains, you still have that option. Read on...
Bad things have a funny way of happening in October. Remember October 1929? It raised the curtain on the Great Depression. Or maybe you recall the infamous Black Monday crash in 1987. The Dow tumbled 22%— the largest single day loss ever. Guess what? That was in October, too. The 19th to be exact. Notice a trend here? Fast forward to this October... You know what happened this month. And if all that wild market action kneeds you in the gut, here’s what you should do now. Greg Guenthner explains…