If you’ve spent any time traveling near a dictatorship, the following debate might be familiar to you.  Some will say, “Yes, go to that country–spread the word of freedom and hear their stories to share with others. Support local entrepreneurs!” while others will say “Every dollar you spend there will directly support a repressive regime through taxes–don’t be a douche bag.”

I went to Burma a few years ago while living in Bangkok.  I’ve tipped my hand to which side of the debate I fell on–what do you think?

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Pictured are: political prisoners hand paving a road, a friendly sign in Yangoon (the capital), temples, men wearing tradition skirts (there’s surely a more appropriate term for their garb) and other treasure troves of this mysterious country.

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3 Responses to Burm-uh….

  1. Prodigal Son says:

    My experiences are different than yours, mostly because I operated in active war zones, but I fall on the side of supporting local entrepreneurs, especially those that operate on the underground economy (as most do). While most (all?) government efforts to help the poor abroad end up propping up a dictator, there are ways to work through NGO’s to actually get help to the local people. I also have a soft spot for those on the underground, I even do my best to operate outside of the authorized market as often as possible in the states to minimize my support for what I view as an overly oppressive government, even if it does pale in comparison to some tyrannical regimes abroad.

  2. Aaron says:

    I find it curious that the propaganda sign is in English.

  3. Mr. Fantastic says:

    Sorry, I think I was unclear. Personally, I support going to the country and supporting entrepreneurs. Totally agree with you about especially supporting grey markets.

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