Sayagyi and Sage: Hla Myint, Myanmar’s “Classical” Economist
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 29, Number 3, November 2014
- pp. 691-720
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Burmese economists have been unusually prominent contributors to the evolution of economic thought. Looming over all of them, however, is Hla Myint. An intellectual pioneer in the study of economic development, trade and the institutions that drive growth, he could have had a decisive influence on economic policymaking in Myanmar. Effectively forced into exile via a misguided reaction in Myanmar against the perceived economics of colonialism, he instead made contributions that assumed a global importance. The principal ideas of Hla Myint may be located then within the discourse of “classical economics”, but they were also informed by the circumstances of the country of his birth. In 2012, over seventy years after he first took up his pen in Myanmar’s service, Hla Myint’s wise counsel was once again heard, with immediate effect, and newfound hope.