The Rise and Fall of Revenue Farming: Business Elites and by Howard Dick, Michael Sullivan, John Butcher

By Howard Dick, Michael Sullivan, John Butcher

Until the early 1900s governments of Southeast Asia farmed out the proper to run opium, playing and different monopolies. but through approximately 1920 the entire significant farms were abolished and the gathering of profit introduced lower than direct bureaucratic keep an eye on. This booklet explains the increase and unexpected fall of profit farming, lines the altering fortunes of the chinese language businessmen who held the most important farms, and makes use of the learn of profit farming to ascertain the emergence of the trendy nation in Southeast Asia.

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One is reminded of the comment by Matthews (1958, p. 36) that up to the sixteenth century the king of France 'desired that his tax-farmers be drawn from the "m6yen estat" rather than from the richest orders of society. ' In the case of Southeast Asia, Carey (1984, p. 25) writes that before 1813 'no Chinese had a political base in Javanese society from which to influence power rivalries at court'. As was to happen in central Java, however, Chinese revenue farmers quickly adapted to the political systems of the areas where they operated farms.

Copland and Godley focus on Europe, where the importance of revenue farming has been highlighted by the work of Max Weber, and, as representative of the Muslim world, Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India. After considering the advantages and disadvantages to the state of relinquishing 'a portion of its sovereign rights' and the status of the tax farmers themselves, the authors 14 A Fresh Approach to Southeast Asian History conclude that, notwithstanding the normative bias of much of the earlier literature, revenue farming was an effective institution that was not inherently more exploitive than direct taxation and not necessarily harmful, the actual impact depending ultimately on circumstances.

V 7/3/1878/17) Second, as long as there was fairly open competition for the farms, farms enabled those who granted them to increase their revenues in line with growth in production and trade, for as conditions prospered businessmen would be prepared to offer higher rents for the privilege of holding the farms. Hong (1983, p. 391) even argues that 'the automatic escalation of state revenue in proportion to the profitability of the farm was the cornerstone of the dynamics of the tax farming system'.

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