This essay examines the cross-border trade among the migrant Yunnanese between Burma and Thailand during the era of the Burmese socialist regime. It was a period when the Burmese government implemented a nationalized economic system and strictly forbade free movement and private trade. Taking a transborder perspective, the essay looks beyond government institutions and probes the mercantile agency of the migrant Yunnanese traders, which contributed to the formation of their socioeconomic mechanisms. The findings suggest that the economic practices of the Yunnanese traders in effect constituted a transnational popular realm that formed an informal oppositional power against the Thai and Burmese national bureaucracies on the one hand, and incorporated varied state agencies on the other hand.

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