Outsourcing the Polity - Forthcoming
Outsourcing the Polity offers a new account of social outsourcing in post-independence Myanmar, demonstrating how the bankrupt post-socialist junta mediated market-reform in the 1990s and 2000s and forced private and non-state actors to take the burden for social welfare. Informed by research during Myanmar's decade of partial civilian rule (2011-2021), Gerard McCarthy examines how ideals and practices of non-state welfare can both sustain democratic resistance and undermine social reform over time.
Rather than expand government-led social action funded by direct taxation, grassroots activists and democratic leaders after 2011 variously framed government social action as ineffective, undesirable and even corrosive of civic norms. They instead encouraged citizens to be "self-reliant" and support each other, including during disasters. Powerful tycoons filled the social gap, using public philanthropy to remake their reputations and to defend their ongoing expropriation of land and state assets from potential democratic redistribution. With non-state social actors more important than ever following Myanmar's return to dictatorship in 2021, Outsourcing the Polity casts new light on the lasting legacies of outsourcing for distributive politics.
Publication Year: 2023