Western Enterprise in Indonesia and Malaya: A Study in Economic Development

Western Enterprise in Indonesia and Malaya: A Study in Economic Development

Western Enterprise in Indonesia and Malaya: A Study in Economic Development

Western Enterprise in Indonesia and Malaya: A Study in Economic Development

Excerpt

One of the outstanding changes brought about by the Second World War was, beyond question, the transformation in the position of Western States and their nationals in Asia, especially in southern and eastern Asia. This had important effects on the factors hitherto responsible for the material development of that region and gave rise to novel economic situations and problems. On grounds both of practical importance and intellectual interest, therefore, it seemed to us, a few years ago, that it would be timely to undertake an examination and appraisal of the part played by Western enterprise in the economic development of the Far East. This was an ambitious project, and we could not hope, with our limited resources, to conduct a comprehensive survey. So, at the outset, we decided to restrict the scope of our inquiries to four countries, viz. China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaya. The results of the first part of our research were published in January 1954 under the title of Western Enterprise in Far Eastern Economic Development: China and Japan. With the publication of the present study of Western Enterprise in Indonesia and Malaya our original project is completed.

As we explained in the Preface to the first of these books, our purpose has been to investigate the course of Western enterprise in several widely contrasted environments so as to bring to light the diversity in the methods, organisation and policies of the Western firms, their varying achievements and the differences in their economic relations with the Asian peoples among whom they operated. In both Japan and China the Europeans were aliens who had to come to terms with national governments. Their entrepreneurial activities, though functionally of immense significance, remained peripheral. In Japan, Western enterprise was conducted within a sovereign State intent upon modernising its economy and institutions but ambitious to bring the administration of economic resources under native control. In China, Western enterprise pushed forward resolutely in the face of official indifference to economic progress and, at times, of hostility towards the agents of change. There, such economic development as the Westerners were able to promote took place largely 'within an institutional environment of extra-territorial privileges and a geographical framework of foreign concessions and settlements'. In sharp contrast, Indonesia and Malaya provide examples of the operations of Western entrepreneurship within the highly congenial circumstances created by Western colonial rule. This is undoubtedly one reason why the achievements of the Westerners in these countries were on such a massive scale. Because . . .

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