- Dutch Coins for Asian growth: VOC-duiten to assess Java’s deep monetisation and economic growth, 1724-1800
- Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
During the eighteenth century the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) imported over a billion small copper coins (duiten) to Java, which is a remarkable operation for the world’s largest enterprise at that time, since these coins were unfit to pay for the company’s wholesale trade. This article argues that the VOC responded to Java’s specific need for small coins, because people increasingly relied on the market for daily necessities and became less dependent on subsistence farming. The alternative explanations of population growth, substitution and inflation do not satisfactory explain the increased demand for these copper duiten. Therefore, this article proposes that Java’s economy shifted away from subsistence farming and, particularly after 1750, probably grew.
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