During the eighteenth century the VOC imported over a billion small copper coins (doits) 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 paper 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 satisfactorily explain the increased demand for these copper doits. Therefore, this paper proposes that Java’s economy underwent a transformation, particularly after 1750.
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New Book: Agency, Gender and Economic Development in the World Economy 1850–2000
New GEHS book: Technology, Skills and the Pre-Modern Economy in the East and the West, editors Maarten Prak and Jan Luiten van Zanden
The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution available as print on demand paper back
Film impressions, Tine De Moor and Bas van Bavel of the CGEH explain the societal relevance of their research in short films