A Call for Economic Justice for Myanmar’s Laborers: A Capability Approach

Volume : IEJ Vol.3 No.(1)

Published Date : June 2024


In Myanmar, many labors face difficult challenges. They face high unemployment rates and those who are employed often suffer unfair treatment from their employers. These mistreatments have increased since the 2021 military coup, which sparked protests and workforce strikes. Many foreign-invested companies, especially those owned by Chinese companies, are often accused of violating labor rights. Labors are reluctant to report these types of violations for fear of retaliation, as there is no effective union or advocacy group to support them. Even when they go on strike, the government does not seem to take their concerns seriously. Minimum wages are a major issue in Myanmar, where many labors struggle to make a living. In this research, the capabilities approach is used to analyze the unfair situation of Myanmar labor. The capabilities approach is a broad framework used to evaluate and value individual well-being and social arrangements, as well as to design policies and proposals for social change in society. When analyzing the capabilities approach, the situation is often called “starvation wages” and is considered a form of modern slavery. The government's response to these problems has been inadequate, leaving many labors in poverty and difficult living conditions.