George Orwell and the Modern Yangon INGO Worker

  Recently I ran across a Western diplomat, this one from an embassy in Southeast Asia.  I dream of having intellectual conversations with such people.  After all they hold the levers of governmental power, particularly the big aid budgets in Myanmar, Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, the conversations are usually one sided.  … Continue reading George Orwell and the Modern Yangon INGO Worker

Is Drumming Better than Prozac? An Anthropological Reflection

'Mental health' has been shown to be social and environmental, though we've heard of Prozac, and even music therapy led by professionals.  Well-being may also be connected to collective, organized sound among ordinary people.  I'd like to share a recent study in biomedicine, and draw these scientific conclusions into the anthropological realm.  First, because I'd … Continue reading Is Drumming Better than Prozac? An Anthropological Reflection

The Fortunate Failure of ‘Voluntary Repatriation’ For Rohingya Refugees

Reposted from The Irrawaddy, February 11, 2019 By TONY WATERS  In 2017 and 2018, between 600,000 and 800,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar following attacks and clearance operations targeting their villages and coordinated by the Myanmar military. The result is the world’s largest refugee camp, Kutupalong, situated in a low-lying corner of Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh. The … Continue reading The Fortunate Failure of ‘Voluntary Repatriation’ For Rohingya Refugees

Who Influneces American Foreign Policy in Burma More?  James C. Scott or John Rambo?

James C. Scott is one of the major social science writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  His first book Moral Economy of the Peasant published in 1976, studied Vietnamese peasants, and how they resisted social change while being rooted in a different “moral economy.”  In subsequent decades he expanded his work to … Continue reading Who Influneces American Foreign Policy in Burma More?  James C. Scott or John Rambo?

Would sobriety coins be an acceptable form of payment at the liquor store?

Notes From the Liquor Store It's the second time Rita has been into the liquor store where I work in Chico, California.  Last time was Wednesday, when it was pouring rain, and the man she was with was dressed from hood to boots in bright yellow PVC.   She's from Paradise, or what was the town … Continue reading Would sobriety coins be an acceptable form of payment at the liquor store?

Discipline and Modern Society: Something about Max Weber and Well-Paid Development Bureaucrats!

Hey, I published a book last October, Max Weber and the Problem of Modern Discipline. It is about Max Weber’s view of authority, and why so many of us obey.  What follows is a lightly edited version of the introductory chapter where I have a bit of fun comparing subsistence peasants to well-paid UN bureaucrats..  … Continue reading Discipline and Modern Society: Something about Max Weber and Well-Paid Development Bureaucrats!