We say that the state is not your friend, but in other places, it is your enemy. Burma, for one. The victims of Cyclone Nargis have not seen the charity of others, but face being dispossessed of their land by the profiteers of Bhudda.
There are growing signs that Burma's repressive military regime, headed by General Than Shwe, is helping its supporters to profiteer from the disaster. "A lot of government-appointed village headmen seem to be doing very well out of the rebuilding effort," said a Western aid worker who asked not to be named.
Villagers fear that businessmen allied with the government are being allowed to seize the land they have lived on and farmed for years. The price of rice has soared, both in Burma and abroad, and with it the value of the fields in which it is grown. But under Burma's archaic socialist system, the land is government-owned and farmers can be moved off it if they are not productive, as most cannot be at present.
Another consequnce of rising food prices is the support that it provides to robber baron elites where private ownership of the land is condemned as an evil. After all, we are told by the Left that the collective ownership of public goods is an unalloyed good.