A Colonial Economy in Crisis: Burma's Rice Cultivators and the World Depression of the 1930s, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Colonial Economy in Crisis

Burma's Rice Cultivators and the World Depression of the 1930s, 1st Edition

By Ian Brown


12 pages

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The book challenges the orthodox argument that rural populations which abandoned self-sufficiency to become single commodity producers, and were supposedly very vulnerable to the commodity price collapse of the 1930s Depression, did not suffer as much as has been supposed. It shows how the effects of the depression were complicated, varying between regions, between different kinds of economic actors, and over time, and shows how the 'victims' of the depression were not passive, working imaginatively to mitigate their circumstances.


'This slender book is wonderfully crafted. It is the work of a mature economic historian reflecting on the consequences of one of the major economic events of the 20th century., the great depression of the 1930's, and the implications of that event for the behaviour of the rice-growing peasant population primarily residing in the delta of the Irrawaddy River.' - Asian Affairs, Nov 2006

Table of Contents

Prologue: Finding the question 1. The Long View: Growth and weakness in Burma's rice economy 2. The Course of the Depression Crisis 3. Credit Contraction and Foreclosure 4. Survival Strategies and Material Circumstances 5. The Economic Foundations of Rebellion Epilogue: Memory and perspective Bibliography

About the Author

Ian Brown is Professor of the Economic History of South East Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He is the author of Economic Change in South-East Asia, c.1830-1980, and he has also published extensively on the economy of Siam in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and on the impact of the world depression of the 1930s on the economies of South East Asia. He is currently working on a history of the prison in colonial Burma.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Asia has undergone immense and far reaching changes: war, revolution, occupation, industrialization. This series includes in-depth research on aspects of economic, political and social history of individual countries as well as more broad-reaching analyses of regional issues.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
HISTORY / Asia / General
HISTORY / Asia / Southeast Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies