Due to its internationally accompanied opening policies, Myanmar’s present economic situation is unique even on a global scale. The present contribution addresses the question if the ranking of Mynamar on position 150 of the UN Human Development Index indeed reflects the country’s economic situation. The paper investigates the historical developments in Myanmar after 1948, the Western sanctions regime after 1988, the integration into ASEAN, the present framework for ‘doing business’, and the dynamics of foreign capital and domestic labor conditions. The paper concludes that the years of political isolation and repression still inhibit the country’s fast economic progress. The future welfare of this politically disrupted country so rich in natural resources does not only depend on its government and its ascending civil society, but also on FDI by foreign companies.