Lecture 10

Ambon and banda dierent indigenous organization

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Unformatted text preview: urnal of Economic History. Ambon and Banda Di¤erent indigenous organization between the islands. In Ambon the V.O.C. took over the existing feudal structure of raising tribute monopolizing supply (excluding the Chinese, British and Portuguese). They also used this feudal structure to increase the output of cloves. In Banda, in contrast, there were many small autonomous city states and there was no hierarchical social and political structure that could impose the will of the V.O.C. especially stopping locals from selling nutmeg to the British, Chinese and the Portuguese. The V.O.C. decided to change the economic institutions on Banda, via a radical solution: they killed most of the population in 1621 (probably over 20,000 people) and completely reorganized the production of nutmeg and established a slavery system, with the slaves supplied by the V.O.C. and its former employees as planters. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 14, 2009 17 / 19 Retreat from the World Economy The reaction of the Southeast Asian states to the onslaught of the V.O.C. was to abandon trade and turn inwards. Reid (1993, Chapter 5) documents that to avoid the threat of the V.O.C. states abandoned producing crops for exports and got out of commercial activity. Autarky was safer. “When a Dutch factor visited Magindanao in 1686 he was told “Nutmeg and cloves can be grown here, just as in Malaku. They are not there now because the old Raja had all of them ruined before his death. He was afraid the Dutch Company would come to …ght with them about it,” (Reid, 1993, p. 299) There was de-urbanization and even population decline. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 14, 2009 18 / 19 Evidence of Declining Population Source: Reid, Anthony (1993) Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450-1680: Expansion and Crisis, Yale University Press, p.295. Impact of the Dutch It is ironic that the country which had probably the best economic and political institutions in Europe at the time behaved in such a predatory way in Asia. Reid argues that this period had a profound e¤ect on the organization of Asian states and their institutions. Turned inwards, they stopped modernizing and were in no position to take advantage of all of the innovations which arose starting in the late 18th century. Instead, they were easily colonized by the Europeans. He points out that it was those, like Japan, that managed to cut themselves o¤ from European contact that did better in the 19th century and later. James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and Historical Analysis October 14, 2009 19 / 19...
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This document was uploaded on 02/28/2014 for the course ECON 2328 at Harvard.

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