This book tells the story of Burma’s financial system – of its banks, moneylenders and ‘microfinanciers’ – from colonial times to the present day. It argues that Burma’s financial system matters, and that the careful study of this system can tell us something more general about Burma – not least about how the richest country in Southeast Asia at the dawn of the twentieth century, became the poorest at the dawn of the twentyfirst. While financial systems and institutions matter in all countries, Turnell argues that they especially count in Burma as events in the financial and monetary sphere have been unusually, spectacularly, prominent in Burma’s turbulent modern history. The story of Burma’s financial system
and its players is one that has shaped the country. It is a dramatic story of interest beyond the confines of economics and development studies.