Towards a Feudal Mode of Production

West Java, 1680-1800

by Mason C. Hoadley

253 pp.,
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 1994, Available
ISBN 978 87 87062 38 1, £35.00
Paperback - 1994, Available
ISBN 978 87 87062 36 7, £16.00

This book shows how the quest of the Dutch East India Company (the VOC) for saleable tropical goods transformed Javanese society. The mechanism was potentates' attraction to financial gains, not force. Administrative depedence on local Javanese officials proved greater than Company need for effective suppliers of merchandise, ultimately resulting in limitations on Chinese-origin entrepreneurs. The impact of the Dutch-Javanese joint venture of the eighteenth century anticipated developments more commonly ascribed to the Cultivation System of the nineteenth century. These included incorporating local potentates within Dutch officialdom, creating village units of production, replacing swidden cultivation by a combination of wet (sawah) and dry (coffee) terraces resulting in demographic shifts to work them, and transforming the taxation basis from control over manpower to one based on ownership rights in productive land, thereby making possible tax/corvee obligations. The Dutch Company did not work within a pre-existing Javanese "feudal" system; it created one.

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    Carol Ann Boshier's book 'Mapping Cultural Nationalism: The Scholars of the Burma Research Society,1910-1935' has been shortlisted for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2019. Congratulations!

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