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
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