From natural economy to capitalism : the state and economic transformation in Perak, Malaysia c.1800-2000

Abdullah, Azrai bin

South East Asian studies
July 2007

Thesis or dissertation

© 2007 Azrai bin Abdullah. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The thesis provides the first description and analysis of long-term economic change and development in the Peninsular Malaysian State of Perak from about 1800 to 2000. Although a considerable number of studies have been undertaken on the colonial economy of Perak focusing on tin and rubber production, given the vital importance of these commodities and of Perak's position in the British imperial enterprise, very little research has been done in relating the state's pre-colonial status and its colonial development to post-independence transformations.

The thesis coordinates and re-evaluates the material on colonial period concentrating particularly on the available statistical data and the relations between tin, rubber and rice. It then links colonial developments with contemporary change by examining the three key economic elements of land, labour and capital, and utilises a considerable amount of government economic data on the recent period. It also considers the relations between the policies and practices of the colonial and post-colonial state and processes of economic development. It argues that the role of the state, though different and changing, has been vitally important in promoting and underpinning economic transformations from British intervention in 1874 until the present. The major change can be characterised as the transition from a primarily 'natural' economy to a 'state capitalist' one.

Department of South East Asian Studies, The University of Hull
King, Victor T.
Sponsor (Organisation)
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS
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