The University of Yangon was once one of Asia's best colleges. Today, abandoned buildings rot away on its overgrown campus, with some walkways deserted except for dogs.Its state of affairs embodies a crucial challenge for leaders as Myanmar opens to the outside world. The military junta that dominated the country for five decades all but destroyed the university system after a series of student protests convinced its leaders that schools were breeding grounds for dissent.But now that the lifting of most Western sanctions has paved the way for an expected wave of investment, companies are finding a nation largely bereft of skilled workers. Doctors and lawyers often lack up-to-date training, and other professions are desperately short of qualified staff with even basic critical-thinking skills, employers say.The lack of expertise in the country was sometimes used by military leaders as a justification for handing big business contracts to associates of the regime. A small number of Myanmar students went overseas to study. Only over the past year, since the military regime stepped down, has the government actively encouraged those educated abroad to return and share expertise.
Only a group that can count on the consent of the governed can establish a lasting regime. Whoever wants to see the world governed according to his own ideas must strive for dominion over men's minds. It is impossible, in the long run, to subject men against their will to a regime that they reject. Whoever tries to do so by force will ultimately come to grief, and the struggles provoked by his attempt will do more harm than the worst government based on the consent of the governed could ever do. Men cannot be made happy against their will.