|Myanmar (pop. 57,641,000; GDP/cap US$154) is one of the most savage military dictatorships still in power,
and one of the most closed societies. Its leadership exists largely to enrich itself by whatever means possible.
The simple act of having a telephone installed requires a bribe, and the system appears to be institutionalized,
with little interest by the military leadership to change matters, since it also helps perpetuate its hold on power.
Smuggling of everything from drugs to jade is rife across the porous borders with China and Thailand.
Most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to suppress the democracy movement
in 1988 and subsequently refused to honor the results of the 1990 legislative elections.
The World Bank has approved no new lending for Myanmar since 1987, and has no plans to resume its program.
Foreign investment is highly restricted. Foreigners cannot own land but can lease it for periods up to 30 years,
or more if approved by the goverenment.