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Kinney, William P. (1975) Aspects of Malayan economic development, 1900-1940. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study of Malaya posits the establishment of export industries as the starting point in initiating the growth process. The export commodities developed were those highly using of unskilled labour or of a particular natural resource. Tin and rubber were the main exports of Malaya in the period under consideration-- the late nineteenth century up to World War II. Also important in initiating development and, more importantly in shaping the contours of growth once initiated, were government policy in regard to infrastructure (material and institutional infrastructure) and the technological nature of the production function. This analytical framework regards infrastructural policy and the technological nature of the production function as complementary rather than mutually exclusive causative factors. By 1920, Malaya's export industries had reached relative maturity. Utilizing extensive industrial and occupational data of the 1921 census, Malaya's economic profile is sketched. The now capital-intensive tin industry was shared by Chinese and British producers. The labour-intensive rubber industry was shared by estates and smallholders. Coexisting with the export industries was a subsistence sector and some secondary and tertiary industry. Malaya represented a typical case of dualism as defined in this study and in the literature. Subsequent census reports reveal the continuing rigidity of "segregative" dualism. Several other important conclusions emerge. The considerable potential of smallholder rubber was realized only to a limited extent. Governmental retrenchment and the exigencies of the Depression forced the peasants into an "involutional" adaptation. Infrastructural policy contributed importantly to these outcomes. An assessment of welfare changes is made for the 1930's Although the limits of statistical expression are considerable, it may be concluded that per capita rice availability was well-maintained during the Depression. The experience of Malaya's communities varied with regard to other aspects of welfare. Indices, constructed from raw data, support these contentions.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

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