Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 September 2010
1. The Crisis of 1929. We have now brought the outline of the social and economic development of Netherlands India down to 1930. Here it might seem expedient to stop, for we are still too near to subsequent events to view them with detachment or to deduce their lessons. But the reactions of the crisis of 1929 on Netherlands India are of great interest in themselves, and so also are the measures taken by the Government to meet the rapidly changing situation. And although we cannot yet say what will happen, we can assay in some degree what has happened, and we can see already that 1930 marks the close of a period. For the crisis of 1929 brought to a head the changes due to the War in the economic relations between Europe and Asia, with their necessary reactions on social and political relations; it marks the close of the period of sixty years, beginning with the opening of the Suez Canal, and, although less definitely, the close of the period of four hundred years from the first landing of Vasco da Gama in Calicut.
To many the years succeeding the post-war depression seemed prosperous. Rubber planters, both European and Native, made vast profits from the Stevenson Restriction Scheme, to which Netherlands India was not a party. The introduction in 1925 of a new variety of sugar, P O J. 2878, raised the out-turn from 1·97 million tons in 1926 to 2·94 million tons in 1928; the introduction of catch crops in the plantations enhanced the export of palm oil from 5202 tons in 1924 to 21,515 tons in 1927, and of fibres from 31,909 tons to 46,500 tons.