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Type: Journal article
Title: Exogenous colonialism: Java sugar between Nippon and Taikoo before and during the interwar Depression, c. 1920-1940
Author: Knight, G.
Citation: Modern Asian Studies, 2010; 44(3):477-515
Publisher: Cambridge Univ Press
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0026-749X
Statement of
G. Roger Knight
Abstract: This paper discusses the commercial history of the Java sugar industry in the interwar decades of the 1920s and 1930s. Java's late colonial industry had a uniquely exogenous character, in that, amongst the world's major producers of cane sugar in the late colonial era, it was singularly devoid of metropolitan or quasi-metropolitan markets. Instead, it sought its markets pre-eminently on the Asian ‘mainland’ to its north and northwest. The Indian subcontinent formed one such market, but East Asia formed the second, and it is the Java industry's fortunes in China and Japan that provide the focus of the present paper. This focus highlights the extent to which the partial collapse of the industry in the mid-1930s related to factors altogether more complex than a simple fall in consumption and drop in prices associated with the interwar Depression. Fundamentally, it was evolving economic autarchy throughout east Asia, encouraged by Depression conditions, which lay at the heart of the Java sugar industry's problems in this sector of its market. Key factors were Java's ambivalent relationship with an expanding but crisis-ridden Japanese sugar ‘empire,’ and the effect on its long-standing links with British sugar refineries in Hong Kong because of the latter's increasing difficulties in the China market. In tandem, they underscored the commercial hazards inherent in Java sugar's exogenous situation.
Rights: © Cambridge University Press 2009
RMID: 0020097810
DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X08003727
Appears in Collections:History publications

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