Businesses should be mindful of the politics as well as the conditions of those employed when they invest in countries which have dubious ‘Yooman Rites’ records (if I may coin a phrase). There was a conversation on the BBC Sunday Programme (Old-fashioned radio) when a couple of blokes were talking about the ethics of investing in Myanmar; and how businessmen should react in cases such as the Myanmar military’s’ treatment of the Muslim Rohingya population, formerly based in the Rakhine Province of Myanmar.
One argument for the swift disinvestment of business in Burma, is that a signal would be given to the Myanmar rulers, who are those same military generals who have been pushing those pesky Rohingyas out of the whole province because, in the generals’ own words; ‘they support the militant Muslim terror groups; they do not belong in Myanmar, and they deserve everything they get.’
So, at best it is a signal that outside businesses, who are actually looking for a bargain by sourcing their clothes from a low-rate, low cost base, and in return get first class clothing, delivered on time and schedule, are supposed to drop a constant source of supply because Western liberals and Left-wingers think it is too disgusting for words to trade with people who are conducting ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ on a massive scale. Have these self-styled ‘SocialJusticeWorkers’ and virtue-signalling idiots ever worked out that, by getting one- or even a group of businesses to close their sources of materials or clothing, all they will be doing is literally throwing people out of a job, a job which they never had before; all in the cause of a group of clowns ‘feeling pretty good about themselves’?
Sanctions never delivered the release of a single political prisoner; never achieved anything much except ensuring that the Myanmar Military made new friends, such as the Chinese; who never were much good at applying sanctions which they KNEW were entirely useless, and were eager to demonstrate that the Myanmarese could rely on the Chinese to keep their promises, and the Western Sanctions never had much of a bite after that. The sanctions which lay on Burma for the years of military dictatorship rule, when The Lady was kept in isolation within her home; when she could not even go to her husband’s funeral in England for fear that she would be denied re-entry to her own home country; were lifted once a semblance of democracy came back, and Aung San Suu Kyi was able to travel, and was feted by the whole British Establishment in Westminster Hall.
Those same ‘do-gooders’ who flocked to ‘The Lady’s’ hotel and public appearances now condemn her out of hand for not speaking out about this ‘Ethnic Cleansing’, and a Guardian columnist calls for her Nobel Prize to be withdrawn. All this angst, all this fervour of virtual hatred towards one who for years was feted above all, to me seems rather strange. I mean, where is the evidence that these people are not whom the generals say they are? We get lots of stories, always second- or third-hand stories of rapine, of arson razing villages to the ground, of those poor defenceless Rohingyas, those Muslims who have done nothing wrong; being persecuted for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, with belonging to the wrong religion at the same time.
I would lay good money on the generals reading the same quotation as I remember; namely “There go my people, I must find out where they are going, so I can lead them.” Does the reader honestly think that the Myanmar military would embark on such a radical solution, if they did not believe that the modern Myanmar people, mainly Buddhists, would not applaud their every move? The Muslim Rohingyas have been a thorn in the majority Buddhists side for years, and, as Buddhists read the news available just as the rest of the world does, they must also be aware that militant Islam is on the march in many corners, and they applaud the Military in their determination that Islam; radical, militant, either or both, would not be allowed to turn Their Myanmar into an imitation of the Islamic Caliphate!
So, on balance, is a sanction-based boycott of Myanmar exports, a removal and closure of extremely profitable contracts for both the outside Investor and the Burmese entrepreneur justified, practical and worthy: or simply worthless virtue-signalling of the worst kind?
My opinion, and it has been my opinion of boycotts of all shapes, sizes and colours, is that it is a complete and utter waste of time. The business lost will be swiftly taken by another foreign competitor with the simple nous to understand the basics:-
Business counts above all. Actions which salve an uneasy conscience do not place profits and shareholder value in a positive viewpoint!