The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Burma:
Foreign investments

Oct 8, 2007

Burma, like many other ex-colonies, has been submitted to a regular fleecing by the big imperialist corporations even after getting independence. The companies are happy to get along with the military dictatorship since it permits them to pillage the natural resources of the country and to profit from very cheap manpower. In fact, revenues tied to heroin sales and foreign currency paid by capitalist corporations prop up the regime while enriching the soldiers in power and financing arms purchases for the repressive forces.

Foreign investments are concentrated in two sectors: exploitation of natural resources (gas, oil, copper, gold, precious stones and teak) and tourism. One of the biggest investors in Burma is Chevron, the number two oil company in the U.S. Its oil pipeline in Burma was built by thousands of villagers forced to work by the army at gun point, while 30,000 people were tossed out of their villages. Chevron’s partner in this oil development is the French oil company Total. All the main imperialist powers are in on the action, including many British companies (the former colonial power in Burma), as well as Japanese and Canadian companies.

In recent years, foreign investments in Burma have gone down, in part because of campaigns led by humanitarian organizations. The British Premier Oil withdrew from Burma, as did Accor, KookaV, Reebok and others. But above all, these investments simply became more disguised, with capital flowing in from dummy companies based in Singapore or other tax havens.