Foreign capital and colonial development in Indonesia
The proposed research program studies the impact of private foreign investment on development in Indonesia during the years c. 1910-1960.
The proposed research program studies the impact of private foreign investment on development in Indonesia during the years c. 1910-1960. Point of departure is that the colonial setting, arguably prevailing until the late 1950s, offered an environment highly conducive to investment by foreign firms, in particular from the (one-time) metropolitan mother-country. The impact of such investment, for better or worse, is identified with respect to both economic performance and effects on society at large. The research program, therefore, unveils an important part of the legacy bequeathed by the Netherlands to Indonesia. The program will produce two PhD dissertations, a database and a synthesis based on an international conference.
The aim of this PhD dissertation project is to study the effect of private foreign investment outside the realm of economics in the context of a colonial structure in Indonesia between c. 1910 and c. 1960. The underlying assumption is that the presence of privately owned foreign enterprises in the colonial environment had profound repercussions for development in the surrounding society. The chief concern is with the indigenous population groups in Indonesia. The main emphasis is on Dutch-owned private firms, although comparisons will be made with experiences of British companies. Three specific questions are addressed:
1. Which contribution did private, foreign firms make to the construction and maintenance of infrastructure in late-colonial and newly independent Indonesian society?
2. To what extent did initiatives by private, foreign firms foster the development of entrepeneurship and skills among the indigenous population?
3. What was the role of private, foreign companies in shaping the institutional heritage that Dutch colonialism left behind in Indonesia?