Myanmar: A Strategic Asian Hinge?

Myanmar (formerly Burma), occupies a unique place within Southeast Asian cross-border diplomacy. Straddled to the east and west by India and China and controlling access to the Bay of Bengal, the country’s recent re-emergence onto the world stage and flickers of political progress at the hands of a ruling military junta, may signal a larger, more important shift in Asian diplomatic and economic relations. Indeed, the country’s rising strategic importance has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. and China. Yet what is particularly intriguing about Myanmar’s rebirth—long a hermit kingdom…

What Happened to Argentina?

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the Argentine economy has presented economic historians with a narrative rich with paradox. Argentina has served as both darling and pariah of the South American economy, enjoying robust growth, but also jettisoning her bondholders nearly six times in her modern history. At the outset of the twentieth century, Argentina seemed poised to become one of the world’s great powers. In fact, around that time, Argentina and the United States were quite similar.  Both absorbed large influxes of European immigrants that helped to fuel…

Microfinance in Bangladesh

Microfinance has both a dubious and triumphant track record as an agent of poverty alleviation. The movement remains rooted in the fundamental premise that people can increase their income if given loans to help build their small businesses. Long overshadowed by what poverty researcher Malcolm Harper described as “generally unsuccessful government-sponsored poverty alleviation programs,” microfinance has made notable strides in positioning itself as a credible tool in poverty reduction. In addition, by marrying loans with community and social development initiatives, microfinance has initiated a profound restructuring of the social dynamics…

The World Bank and the IMF: A Limited Mandate

In the fight against global poverty, the World Bank aims to help direct developing economies onto a stable path of sustained economic growth through the support of domestic financial institutions and large-scale infrastructure projects. Yet, there are ethical and moral implications to an organization that seeks to alleviate poverty in the developing world, while failing to reach the poorest of the poor, who lack access to the financial services and development projects that the World Bank provides. The Bank addresses the development of financial institutions and seeks to bolster domestic…