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March 01, 2018

Fundamental beliefs of General Aung San for Economic Recovery

By Saw Naing(Applied Economics)

Known as the father of Independence, national leader and father of the Tatmadaw, and etc., Bogyoke Aung San had different careers—a revolutionary soldier, a politician and other different types. For these reasons, his mind would have been occupied by thoughts and ideas about the revolutionary movement and Independence of the country. Accordingly, if someone may think that economic ideas and doctrines would never be formed in his mind, it would be completely wrong. Yet, I came to know that a national leader just in his early thirties was well acquainted with economic doctrines, never losing sight of the national economic situation, through the books I had read.

For farmers in the agricultural sector of great importance in fundamental production
“—— Poor people are now void of farming land. To fulfill the need of making them acquire the land for farming, firstly, how many people do not have farming lands. Secondly, if we do not have enough land to divide them or if ever we have, we must ascertain to which amount of land they will be provided. ——-“ {Dagon Magazine, 1940 February issue}
“As for land ownership, fundamental principles must be laid down for farmers to actually get farming land. The system of possessing many acres of land must be restricted or cancelled according to law.
——- “It would be better if farming lands are nationalized or otherwise if the ownership should be handed over to the government or cooperatives. But acquisition of farming land by each and every one of farmers must be done prior to the implementation of the above systems so that the government’s action will be beneficial for middle and lowest level farmers.”      {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech at the preliminary AFPFL Conference held on May 19, 1947}.
“Rice is our country’s major produce. First of all, we must introduce mechanized utilization in growing paddy and other crops. If necessary, system of collective implementation is to be developed.”     {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech at the Sorrento Villas, Pyay Road, in Yangon on 17th June 1947}
“As for the agriculture, fair amount of production should be managed. As for agricultural development, debt problems of farmers and lending money at a low interest rate are to be taken into consideration.”    {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech at the Sorrento Villa on Pyay Road, Yangon on 17th June}

For effective utilization of abundant natural resources
“Myanmar is a country rich in natural resources. —— You should prioritize encouraging general education and industrial learning, so that all Myanmar nationals can apply their knowledge about those subjects in developing our natural resources. And, had spirit of the desire to work been indoctrinated, our natural resources will be developed.”   {Speech addressed at the ceremony of declaring Independence, in the reign of Japanese by General Aung San}

So as to be aware of the relationtionship between economy and politics
“Without economic freedom, political freedom would be ridiculous among people. And, it would be freedom just for show. There cannot be anything more than this.  {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech addressed on May 16, 1946, at 2nd meeting of central leading committee}
“Our political illness can be said to be nearly healed with rightful remedies, with economic disease to be cured further. So long as economic recovery cannot be implemented, peace and stability we greatly hoped for will be far from our desire. {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech addressed on 1st March, 1947, at the annual meeting of Myanmar-English Merchants’ Association}
“What we need first of all is to have drawn up a national resettlement programme with better economic fundamentals. ———– Economy and politics are dialectically related, so they cannot be separated from each other.”  {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech addressed on 17th June 1947 at the Sorrento Villa}

Importance of Co-operative Enterprises
It is time to launch cooperative enterprises across the nation. ——– The enterprises will indoctrinate us with the spirit of co-operating together, spirit of desire to live and work in unity, into our inner parts of our minds. ——- It will help us to bear the spirit of self-help basis, spirit of inventiveness. ——– At the time of scarcity of investment capital in the country, the system of setting up the co-operative enterprises is the best way to upgrade the national development. ———-“    {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech addressed at the AFPFL’s 2nd meeting of central leading committee on May 16, 1946}

For important national causes
“We aim at nationalizing all the industrial enterprises, which plays an important role for the country, so that people will be pleased with it, reaching the status of satisfaction, we firmly believe so.”    {Excerpt for Bogyoke’s speech addressed at Myanmar-English Merchants’ Association’s annual meeting on 1st March 1947}

For People to take interest in Taxes
Refusing to pay tax and revenue by our citizens is tantamount to destroying national economy into pieces. If so, it will be none other than our people who would suffer its consequences, finally.   {Excerpt from Bogyoke’s speech addressed on air at 8:30 pm on March 21 1947}

For potential dangers of monopolized economy
“Monopoly companies such as Cartel, Syndicate, Trust and etc., will be definitely restricted in our constitution.”   {Excerpt the speech addressed at the preliminary meeting of AFPFL Conference, held at May 19, 1947}
“Arrangements are going to be made for our government to manage operating foreign commerce so that importance of international trading would be noticed. ———- Failing that, capitalists can manipulate the national economy according to their wishes, having the chances of exploiting our people as they wish.”    {Excerpt from the speech made at the preliminary meeting of AFPFL held on May 19 1947}
For taking notice of economic statistics
“What we must take notice is that we easily tend to believe in whatever one says statistically. It may be a danger. We should take notice that statistics may be the ones prepared beforehand to match the facts imagined at first. {Excerpt from the speech at the Sorrento Villa on Pyay Road, in Yangon on 7th June 1947}

For the matter to be fundamentally solved out for rising cost of living
“Concerning the reduction of cost of living allowance, it may be attributed to the first fact that we are purchasing expensive and non-essential items. Accordingly, we need to reduce or stop imports of such commodities. Such a deed is like wasting revenues of the nation, without necessity.   {Excerpt from the speech at the Sorrento Villas on June 7 1947}
“We spend a lot of our earnings on buying our daily commodities such as cooking oil, chilli, onion and etc. Though being agricultural produce in the country, we are buying these from abroad. It is a shame for us. ———– We need to consider whether it is necessary for us to control or not, how many tons of chilli, onion and cooking oil we should import.”  {Excerpt from the speech at the Sorrento Villas, on June 7, 1947}

Foreign Exchange Outflows and Unemployment Problem
“In some countries, outflow of foreign exchange is protected as much as possible. Outflow of capital will lead to giving up our desire for imports. We must encourage saving so as to reduce lending foreign loans.   {Excerpt from the speech at the Sorrento Villa on June 7 1947}
“As regards unemployment problem, there is no reason for us to believe that unemployment problem will be solved under current situations. The country and the government will help to some extent. Unemployment problem will cast a gloomy shadow over the country, causing bad effects to the country and industrial enterprises. It will make skills and efficiencies of workers alleviate, and lead to poor living standard of the people. The unemployment problem is like a jinx for our national cause. We must find out ways for individuals or all family members to get a job each so that situations will improve Unemployment problem can be solved, only if we carefully carry out our resettlement process. In doing so, redundancy must be done, if necessary. To become better, the government needs to have many employment projects in hand.”    {Excerpt for the speech at the Sorrento Villas on June 7 1947.}
Bogyoke Aung San managed to think about ideas on national economy to liberate the country from the depth of grave poverty, while making efforts for anti-fascism and National Independence. On this 70th anniversary of Martyrs’ Day, I humbly pay respect to Bogyoke Aung San and colleagues, by sharing excerpts from Bogyoke’s speeches which reflects the recovery of national economy.
Reference: Bogyoke Aung San’s military, economic, social and political outlooks written by Myat Maw
(Translated by Khin Maung Oo )


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