Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 September 2010
1. Introduction. The brief survey which we have just attempted of economic progress in Netherlands India during the present century should illustrate, however inadequately, the energy and success with which the Dutch have applied themselves to discharging one part of their task under the “dual mandate” thrown on them by the course of history—their duty to the world in general of developing the natural resources of this region, la richesse naturelle. We must now attempt a more difficult undertaking, a survey of their efforts and achievements in the other part of the dual mandate—their duty to their subjects of developing la richesse humaine, the human wealth of the peoples for whom they have incurred responsibilities.
At the beginning of the century it was expected, or at least hoped, that the Ethical programme would act like a new Culture System, no less effective for the advancement of the people than that of Van den Bosch for the cultivation of the soil. The main objects of the Ethical policy were to stimulate the material welfare of the people, to strengthen the native social order, and to promote the unification of society. These ends became even more directly the objective of the policy of autonomy, and it is the progress which has been achieved under these heads that we must now try to appreciate.