Rural Capitalists in Asia: A Comparative Analysis on India, Indonesia, and Malaysia

Rural Capitalists in Asia: A Comparative Analysis on India, Indonesia, and Malaysia

Rural Capitalists in Asia: A Comparative Analysis on India, Indonesia, and Malaysia

Rural Capitalists in Asia: A Comparative Analysis on India, Indonesia, and Malaysia

Synopsis

This is a comparative study of small capitalists and rural industrialists in three Asian countries. Studies on the entrepreneurial class in South Asia tend to focus on the structural aspects of entrepreneurial behaviour, while studies on this class in Southeast Asia tend to focus on cultural aspects of their behaviour. In fact, this book points to striking similarities between Indian, overseas Chinese and Muslim businessmen in Asia, similarities usually hidden under variations in analytical approaches. Although this study emphasizes similarities within Asia, it does not support the view of a specific Asian business pattern different to the rise of non-Asian, especially European, entrepreneurs. The findings are of major interest not just within the fields of anthropology and entrepreneurship, but to all scholars working on South or Southeast Asia, who will find much of interest in the author's observations of variable research results between the two regions.

Excerpt

This book is a study on small capitalists and rural industrialists in three Asian countries. It compares the business strategy and social behaviour of Hindu entrepreneurs in India, Muslim industrialists in Indonesia, and Chinese and Malay businessmen in Malaysia. the findings presented are the result of long-term fieldwork among small-scale industrialists in the Kheda district in central Gujarat; owners of iron foundries in the Klaten district in Central Java; and owners of combine-harvesters in the Muda region of northern peninsular Malaysia. Over the past fifteen years, I have spent about four years in these three research localities altogether, living among different communities with their own specific social customs and history. Such intensive research over such a long period of time has only been possible because of the help I received from many people, especially in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and in the Netherlands.

During my periods of fieldwork in India I was associated with the Centre for Social Studies (CSS) in Surat and with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII) in Ahmedabad. Ghanshyam Shah, the director of css for many years, acted as my host and intellectual adviser, while Dinesh Awasthi of edii became one of my most critical readers. the same is true for Carol Upadhya of the sndt Women's University, Bombay, with whom I edited a comparative volume on small business entrepreneurs in Asia and Europe. Together with many of their colleagues in Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Delhi, Bombay, and Trivandrum, they were always willing to spare the time to comment on my research and to provide me with valuable insights into Gujarat and Indian society.

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