I just discovered this quote on a notecard from January, when I read the wonderful edited volume published by the Center for Khmer Studies. This quote is by Jeremy Ironside, from his article, “Development – in whose name? Cambodia’s economic development and its indigenous communities – from self-reliance to uncertainty.” It sums up a lot of Cambodia’s developing economy’s structural problems in a very few words:
For every $100 of exported garments, $63 is spent on improving materials and $4 on utilities. Value added is thus only 1/3 of the total value, with labour costs estimated at $13 and ‘bureaucracy costs’ at $7, with total gross profits at 13%. Three-quarters of these profits are repatriated [abroad; away from Cambodia]. Therefore, only 25% of the sale prie of the garment is net value added which stays in the Cambodian economy.”
p. 123, n.6. Ironside is citing data from M. Beresford, S. Ngoun, R. Rathin, S. Sisovanna, N. Ceema. 2004. “The macroeconomics of poverty reduction in Cambodia.” The UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Programme on the Macroeconomics of Poverty Reduction.