Which country is the luckiest in ASEAN?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

bhutanese_woman_thimpu_bhutanLuck. Inherently a term that connotes the notion of fatalism over determinism, we find it represented as a founding pillar in numerous cultures, whether it be a quality imbued unto a deity or God, or simply a natural phenomenon that finds its way into life without easy explanation.

by Justin Calderon

Determining which country in ASEAN – or anywhere for that matter – has faired best from the natural endowments it has been favoured with depends on the metric being utilised.

If we were to ask Bhutan, the proprietors of the Gross National Happiness index, an admittedly more holistic interpretation of sustainable growth than the stoic GDP model, they would point to not just economic measurements, but also cultural, societal, ecological, and human capital.

Yet, perhaps, beyond the harmonious mysticism imbued into this metric, there could lie a more economical sound system that measures natural resource wealth – national treasures that are endowed due to flukes of nature – and its ability to change the country via revenues funneled into developmental funds.

Vast mineral or hydrocarbon deposits may seem to add an aura of luck to a nation, but, however, history has shown that natural wealth – especially hydrocarbons – has created higher instances of autocracy and civil war. With substantial sums of money lining the coffers of a government’s privy purse, historically, dictators, such as those in Libya, Venezuela and Myanmar, have had no need to extract taxes from the citizenship, giving little ear to calls by civil society for more inclusiveness to growth.

Under these lenses, we see that Myanmar could be crowned the least lucky country in ASEAN, along with the new titles of least competitive, according to the Global Competitive Report 2013 released at the Davos World Economic Forum.

But why, for example, did Malaysia, a country of substantial hydrocarbon wealth, not fall into the same slump that Myanmar’s military regime brought about it for five decades?

The success – and fate – of many nations’ boils down to this: national purpose. In Malaysia’s case, when the Muslim Malay UNMO party dominated politics, it had to play to its people, which were crucially the majority of the country (thanks to the separation from its short merger with Singapore in 1965).

It must also be said that in countries with domineering socio-ethnic majorities, it has been traditionally easier for politicians to play towards the sentiments of one group, and remain in power.

While determining luck, fate or whatever label you call the natural occurrence of prosperity maybe a metric somewhere between Bhutan, it seems straight forward enough that, politics, the very nature of humanity’s will to guide and nurture, must play a part. Those countries who have established systems that engender leaders with natural purpose, then, are the luckiest.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Luck. Inherently a term that connotes the notion of fatalism over determinism, we find it represented as a founding pillar in numerous cultures, whether it be a quality imbued unto a deity or God, or simply a natural phenomenon that finds its way into life without easy explanation.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

bhutanese_woman_thimpu_bhutanLuck. Inherently a term that connotes the notion of fatalism over determinism, we find it represented as a founding pillar in numerous cultures, whether it be a quality imbued unto a deity or God, or simply a natural phenomenon that finds its way into life without easy explanation.

by Justin Calderon

Determining which country in ASEAN – or anywhere for that matter – has faired best from the natural endowments it has been favoured with depends on the metric being utilised.

If we were to ask Bhutan, the proprietors of the Gross National Happiness index, an admittedly more holistic interpretation of sustainable growth than the stoic GDP model, they would point to not just economic measurements, but also cultural, societal, ecological, and human capital.

Yet, perhaps, beyond the harmonious mysticism imbued into this metric, there could lie a more economical sound system that measures natural resource wealth – national treasures that are endowed due to flukes of nature – and its ability to change the country via revenues funneled into developmental funds.

Vast mineral or hydrocarbon deposits may seem to add an aura of luck to a nation, but, however, history has shown that natural wealth – especially hydrocarbons – has created higher instances of autocracy and civil war. With substantial sums of money lining the coffers of a government’s privy purse, historically, dictators, such as those in Libya, Venezuela and Myanmar, have had no need to extract taxes from the citizenship, giving little ear to calls by civil society for more inclusiveness to growth.

Under these lenses, we see that Myanmar could be crowned the least lucky country in ASEAN, along with the new titles of least competitive, according to the Global Competitive Report 2013 released at the Davos World Economic Forum.

But why, for example, did Malaysia, a country of substantial hydrocarbon wealth, not fall into the same slump that Myanmar’s military regime brought about it for five decades?

The success – and fate – of many nations’ boils down to this: national purpose. In Malaysia’s case, when the Muslim Malay UNMO party dominated politics, it had to play to its people, which were crucially the majority of the country (thanks to the separation from its short merger with Singapore in 1965).

It must also be said that in countries with domineering socio-ethnic majorities, it has been traditionally easier for politicians to play towards the sentiments of one group, and remain in power.

While determining luck, fate or whatever label you call the natural occurrence of prosperity maybe a metric somewhere between Bhutan, it seems straight forward enough that, politics, the very nature of humanity’s will to guide and nurture, must play a part. Those countries who have established systems that engender leaders with natural purpose, then, are the luckiest.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid