By Jan Breman
It is a learn of the plantation process at the East Coast of Sumatra, a Dutch colony, from the early nineteenth century to the start of the twentieth century. The Rhemrev record, which uncovered the scandalous situation at the plantations, is right here put in its historic and social context.
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Additional resources for Taming the coolie beast: plantation society and the colonial order in southeast Asia
So far,it thus seems that one of the preconditions growing a high-yielding crop is that only a small part of the acreage be used. It must not be forgotten, however, that in the past it has been necessary to seek greater intensification (De Waard 1934:261). The same author has pointed out that the capital intensity of tobacco cultivation, measured according to the gross product, was low. Although it decreased steadily, the ratio between the value of the crop yield and invested capital was excep : 160 per cent in 1880, 130 per cent in 1890, 76 per cent 1900, and 99 per cent in 1905.
Impressed by this recommendation, the Minister of Colonies asked the authorities of the Indies to consider the suggestion. rs in regions which suffered from a shortage of labour. The majority of planters in Java, however, did not think it would be of any practical benefit. tal objections which accorded with the spirit of the times: 'Each intervention by the state is a step down a slippery slope which will end with complete government regulation of labour, and will take us back to the conditions pertaining at the beginning of the Cultivation System' (Bartelds 1894:24).
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