Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 September 2010
THIS work attempts a study of the economic and social development of Netherlands India, with especial reference to its character as a Plural Society—a society in which distinct social orders live side by side, but separately, within the same political unit. It aims at depicting, stage by stage throughout the course of history, the general political and economic environment of Netherlands India, and at tracing in each stage the course of economic progress and the main features of the social economy.
The economy of Netherlands India is interesting in itself; but it has a deeper interest for one whose work has lain in Burma, and this book is further intended as a contribution towards comparative political science. Much as England has Europe for its background, so Burma has for its background the Tropical Far East, the region extending eastward to the Philippines and southward to the Malay Archipelago, and including Siam and Indo-China. Within this region many peoples, with much in common in their racial character and cultural history, have come, in different ways and in different degrees, under the influence of various European nations, with a fundamental unity of culture but with different aims and different traditions.