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

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Myo Myo Myint
Rajah Rasiah


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.


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