Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Front Cover
 Need of planning in underdeveloped...
 Early unplanned developments
 Towards integrated planning
 Analysis of the ten year plan
 Future development planning
 Literature cited in the text
 Notes and references

Group Title: Development planning in Surinam in historical perspective,
Title: Development planning in Surinam in historical perspective
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078546/00001
 Material Information
Title: Development planning in Surinam in historical perspective with special reference to the ten year plan
Physical Description: xi, 215 p. : diagrs., tables. ; 25 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Adhin, Jan Hansdew
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Utrecht
Publication Date: 1961
Subject: Economic policy -- Suriname   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Proefschrift--Groningen.
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 199-207.
Statement of Responsibility: Met een samenvatting in het Nederlands; con un resumen en español.
General Note: "Stellingen" (4 p.) inserted.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078546
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001098920
oclc - 29217764
notis - AFJ4790

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    Front Cover
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
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    Need of planning in underdeveloped countries
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    Early unplanned developments
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    Towards integrated planning
        Page 91
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    Analysis of the ten year plan
        Page 115
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    Future development planning
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    Literature cited in the text
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    Notes and references
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Full Text



Therefore, the King should plan economic life, and order what has to be done.
For, the root of progress is organized activity, and harmful is its opposite.

KAUTILYA: Artha-Sastra. 1.19.16.






Dn. J. H. AD HI N, B.A. (HON.)







FOREWORD by Prof. Dr. Jon. J. HANRATH .. ..
ED COUNTRIES .. ......
General Characteristics 1 Criteria of
Development 3 The Nature of Under-
development 7 The Necessity of Planning 10
The Concept of Planning 13 Forms of
Planning 15 Planning and Ideology 17 -
Role of the State 18
An Underdeveloped Economy 22 Laissez
Faire and Planning 25
The Earliest Economy 28 Character of the
Colony 30 A Prosperous Country 33 -
A Declining Economy 35
Allocation of Land 40 Supply of Labour 46
Supply of Capital 51
Colonization 58 Slave Trade and Slavery 63
Immigration 69
External Factors 79 Internal Factors 81
5. ABSENCE OF PLANNING...............
Shortsighted Policy 83 Laissez Faire
Attitude 87
Mounting Dissatisfaction 91 The Surinam
Commission 93 The Study Commission 96
Other Attempts 99
Demand for Planning 101 The Prosperity
Fund 104
The Co-ordination College 110 Aims and
Activities 112
The Integral Approach 115 The Original
Plan 117 The Revised Plan 121
Directly Productive Projects 127 Indirectly
Productive Projects 131 Social and Other
Projects 133 Review of the Plan 135






3. PROJECTS OUTSIDE THE PLAN .. .. .. .. .. 139
The Wageningen Project 139 The Ex-
perimental Projects 142 The Brokopondo
Project 144
National Income and Employment 147 -
Payments and Trade Balance 150 Other
General Developments 152 Sectoral
Achievements 154
5. THE REMAINING FIVE YEARS .. .... ..... 159
Proposed Amendments 159 Expected
Developments 165 Some Critical
Remarks 167
Static and Dynamic Approach 173 -
Economic Analysis and Policy 176
General Planning 179 Sectoral Planning
184 Short-Term Planning 188
3. RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT .. .. ..... 190
Unplanned Growth 190 Need of Program-
ming 192
RESUMEN .............. .... ...... .. .... 197
NOTES AND REFERENCES .. ........ 208

TABLE 1. Racial Composition of Population (31 Oct. 1950) .. .. .. .. 23
2. Production Value and Labour Force in Various Sectors (1950) 24
3. Export of Sugar in the 17th Century (in Amst. Pounds) .. .. 34
4. Export of Agricultural Products in the 18th Century .... 35
5. Decline of Plantation Culture (1793-1950) .......... 36
6. Value of Exports and Imports (1865-1938) . 37
7. Government Income and Expenditure (1865-1938) ..... 37
8. Holdings of Immigrants (1881-1891) ... ......... 45
9. Total Number of Holdings (1905-1948) ... 45
10. Number of Slaves according to Profession (1853) ... 49
11. Number of Absentee Plantation-Owners (1813-1861) .... 55
12. Arrival and Repatriation of Asian Immigrants .. .. ... .. .. 75
13. Number of Holdings on Settlements (1901-1918) .. .. .. .. 76
14. Size of Holdings of the Three Ethnic Groups in Nickerie (1951) 77
15. Production Situation of Sugar in the 19th century ...... 80
16. Composition of the Export Packet (1863-1950) ... ... 83
17. Investment Scheme of the Original Ten Year Plan (in Sf. 1000) 119
18. Sector Allocations under the Ten Year Plan (Sf. mln) ..... 124
19. National Income of Surinam, 1954-1958 (in Sf. min) .. .. .. 148
20. Abridged Balance of Payments, 1954-1959 (in Sf.mln) .150
21. Composition of the Export and Import Packets (1954-1959) 152
22. Expected Growth of Public Finance, 1960-1964 (in Sf.mln) .166
GRAPH 1. Planned and Realized Investments under the Ten Year Plan .160
2. Planned and Proposed T.Y.P. Investments (1960-1965) .. 169
3. Anticipated Domestic T.Y.P. and Brokopondo Investments with
Foreign Capital (1960-1965) ............... .. 170


Gladly I comply with the author's request to add a short preface
to this book, which has served as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Economics at the State University of Groningen to crown
his successful pedagogical, juristic, sociological and ethnological
studies at the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam.
In the title of his book the author has accentuated the fact that
it was his foremost concern to view in historical perspective the
measures taken in the course of time to promote Surinam's welfare.
More than in the presenting of new data the core of the framework
of the study is constituted by 'the grouping of the extant material and
in its placing in a particular connection, so that automatically certain
insights are gained, about which some misunderstanding did exist
Dr. ADHIN has made it clear, not only that especially the absence
of deliberate planning, directed towards a 'balanced growth', has
often tricked the Dutch government with regard to the welfare policy
pursued by it, but also that this failure was partly the result of an
incorrect diagnosis of the disease. As he himself says, he has "tried
to correct the wrong notion that the economic problem of Surinam
was exclusively a labour problem and that her economy declined as
a consequence of the abolition of slavery".
It is now for the critical reader to judge, whether by presenting
this view so forcefully, the emphasis may not have been placed some-
what one-sided again, though the author himself also refers to other
impeding factors (such as the backward traffic structure). But in
itself it is a considerable merit that again a vicious circle, of which
there have existed so many in thought and action with regard to
Surinam, has been broken through.
In the course of long years much has been written about the
problem of Surinam's development, either in one-man books or by a
team in more or less voluminous reports. But almost always it was
by (mostly Dutch) authors from outside, or, in so far as they belonged
to Surinam, by writers from the thin, completely Dutch-oriented
stratum of planters or others. Only in comparatively recent times this
literature was bent in a distinctly Surinam direction, and therefore,

it breathes a different atmosphere. Beginning with VAN LIE the
PANDAY, and now ADHIN. So, there is the remarkable phenomenon of
an increasing participation in the discussion by the other groups of
the Surinam population.
Especially noteworthy in Dr. ADHIN'S case is the fact that he knows
how to keep the distance from his subject matter, so that his book is
detached from the sentiment, which could easily have been aroused,
just because of such a critical perspective of the welfare policy in
the past. For, though the author is well-conscious of his Indian origin
(as a matter of fact, he studied philosophy at the Panjab University,
India), he is a full-fledged Surinamer; and for a Surinamer it is
naturally difficult to view his country's past exclusive of any value-
judgement. The more so it is striking that the author is always
attempting, not only to criticize, but also to explain the policy pursued
by the Netherlands in any period, as resulting not from ill-will but
from a narrowing of vision exponent of a predominantly liberalistic
For this reason I wish this book on Surinam, which for once has
not been written by a Dutchman, in the hands of many persons, both
in the Netherlands and abroad. For, the opinions expressed in it are
in every way acceptable to all not one-sidedly minded readers in this
country and they may clear away many a misunderstanding, while in
Surinam and in the West Indies so frank a discussion may remove a
number of emotional resistances.
Perhaps the greatest interest of this work, however, will accrue
from its distribution in other countries. On the one hand, because
they are, often stronger than here, more directly concerned with the
problems of underdeveloped countries, whose political and economic
independence has not been entirely completed they can learn the
lesson from it under the motto: "One man's fault is another man's
lesson". But, on the other hand, the book may also contribute to a
correcter judgement of the Dutch colonial policy in the past, now
under the motto: "Tout savoir, c'est beaucoup pardonner".

VooRBURG, 26th June 1961 JOH. J. HANI TH


The past decade has shown a steadily increasing scientific interest
in Surinam, the country with its fascinating heterogeneous population
and its many cultural, social and economic problems. A study of her
history reveals that in the 17th and 18th centuries Surinam was a
very prosperous country. These days of abundance, however, were
short-lived, for towards the end of the 18th century decline set in
which gained momentum in the next century, and in the second half
of the 19th century Surinam's economy had already become stagnant.
This state of affairs continued almost unchanged till about the middle
of the 20th century, so that to-day Surinam is one of the many under-
developed countries in the world.
It is interesting enough to inquire into the causes which occasioned
the catastrophic decline of the erstwhile prosperous economy. But we
did not set ourselves primarily to this task (though incidentally the
subject has been touched upon), because this problem has already
been more or less sufficiently dealt with. We only tried to correct
the wrong notion that the economic problem of Surinam was ex-
clusively a labour problem and that her economy declined as a
consequence of the abolition of slavery. We attempted to show that
the inherent weakness of Surinam has always been her total depend-
ence on external supplies of both capital and labour, and that decline
had set in long before there was any talk of abolition of slavery
at all.
The special purpose of our study has been the analysis of the
economic history of Surinam from the viewpoint of planning. We
wanted to tackle the question why decline was not checked and why
stagnation could continue for about a century. And we have en-
deavoured to prove our assertion that the fact that the Dutch govern-
.ment was possessed by the spirit of laissez faire must be mainly held
responsible for not having found a solution to Surinam's problems
all the time. The policy-makers in the Netherlands, committed as
they were to this doctrine of non-interference with the economic
process, were not able to create welfare in a country with such a
peculiar structure, where the free play of the market forces was

constantly pressing towards stagnation. It is for this reason that for
our study we used an appropriate motto from the famous Artha-
Shistra, a Sanskrit treatise on political economy from the 4th century
before Christ.
Our concern, however, has been a purely scientific one. When
advancing our thesis we are not accusing the Dutch government or
putting the blame on any one. For we know that the Dutch govern-
ment had been willing enough to alleviate Surinam's problems, but
was not able to do so because of its inadequate approach. It is,
therefore, not a question of malignance, but of ensnarement in the
historical currents of the time, which prevented the government from
compiling a development plan based on a more or less comprehensive
picture of the existing resources and needs of the country.
Although our discussion proceeds within a general chronological
framework, yet it is not a chronological narrative, but is based on a
definitely analytical approach. We showed that Surinam's economic
history can be divided into two sharply distinct periods, with the
Second World War as the caesura the first period ( 1650-
- 1940) in which development was automatic and unplanned, and
the second period (after 1945) in which there is a planned approach
to the problems. Though for the purposes of our study only the 19th
and 20th centuries were relevant, we nevertheless briefly discussed
the earlier ones also for the sake of providing a general background
in order to acquire a better perspective.
The opening chapter, dealing with the need of planning in under-
developed countries, contains, in a sense, our economic creed. Our
value-premise has been the assumption that the achievement and the
preservation of a 'democratic way of life' is desirable, that 'economic
integration' (i.e. realization of the ideal of equality of opportunity)
should be aimed at, and that planning should be directed towards
the attainment of greater freedom.
The second and third chapters present in a fairly detailed manner
the (unplanned) developments from the 17th century upto the
Second World War. An analysis of the government policy with regard
to the factors of production and of its population policy and a
discussion of the many abortive attempts to arrive at a planned
approach, serve to substantiate our central thesis that the laissez
faire attitude must be considered the greatest single obstacle in the
way of economic development of the country. It was only during
the Second World War that a radical change of attitude took place,

and thus the post-war period is characterized by determined attempts
to formulate a comprehensive development plan for Surinam.
In the fourth chapter the Ten Year Plan is analysed. This plan,
though containing some weak points, must be considered a compreh-
ensive and integrated one. A discussion of the achievements in the
first five years of plan-execution reveals that some progress has been
made, but also that serious errors were committed. The important
amendments proposed by the 'Advisory Board' are also subjected
to a critical review.
In the concluding chapter some general aspects of economic
growth and development programming are considered. A few dynamic
models, which may be of some use to Surinam, are discussed, since
for the avoidance of large practical errors it is thought important to
apply programming techniques also for development planning in the
near future.
Lest the wrong impression might be created, as if the ideas on
planning are entirely ours, we have made ample use of quotations
and references, in order to bring out clearly that ours has only been
a determination of standpoint in the midst of ideas already enunciat-
ed. As to Surinam's economic history, we can claim no originality
for the subject matter, which in some form or other has already been
presented elsewhere. Such novelty as may exist relates only to the
arrangement of the material, since it has been written from our
specific point of view of planning.
To enhance the readability of the text, all passages quoted from
Dutch or other works have been translated into English, and only
those remarks have been included as footnotes, which should be read
along with the text, while all other notes and references are given at
the end of the book. To avoid repetition an abridged form of notation
has been followed the books and articles cited in the text are
numbered, and when referring to them the relevant number is used,
instead of mentioning the name of the author and the title of the

UTRECrr, 26th June 1961 J. H. ADHm




General Characteristics

The economic problems of the underdeveloped countries provide
a topic of special interest to the modern economist. This interest,
however, is a recent phenomenon. Only a few years back the problems
of the 'backward' countries were seldom mentioned. But now they
receive considerable attention of technical journals, learned societies,
international conferences, and also in economic theory, as is shown
by BASTER's discussion of the recent literature on the economic
development of backward areas. )
This changed attitude has been effected by several reasons political,
social, economic, and moral. As an illustration of this 'great awakening'
we may remind inter alia of the three following occurrences. In the
first place there is the 'Charter of the United Nations' in 1945 a
large number of countries pledged themselves to promote higher
standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and
social progress and development. 2) Then there is President TRUMAN'S
famous 'Point Four Policy Statement' of 1949 ), which in 1950
culminated in the passing of the well-known 'Act for International
Development' 4). And in 1951 the United Nations Experts' Com-
mittee ) called upon the governments of the underdeveloped
countries to create the preconditions and international framework
required for economic development, invited the economically ad-
vanced nations to formulate commercial policies which may foster
the economic development of underdeveloped countries, and called
upon the 'United Nations and other international organizations to
play an important role in this direction through direct and indirect
In response to the changed situation after the Second World War
a new concept of 'world development' emerged and became polit-
ically significant in the interests of world peace. The already.

mentioned 'Act for International Development' observes "that the
Peoples of the United States and other nations have a common
interest in the freedom and in the economic and social progress of all
peoples. Such progress can secure the further growth of the
democratic way of life, the expansion of mutually beneficial
commerce, the development of international understanding and good
will, and the maintenance of world peace". 6) And the General
Assembly of the United Nations 7) acknowledged "that a more rapid
development of underdeveloped countries, in particular an increase
in their production, is essential for raising the level of productive
employment and the living standards of their populations, for the
growth of the world economy as a whole and for the maintenance
of international peace and security".
Although the individual underdeveloped countries differ widely
from each other, so much so that VAN BEUKEING 8) could remark that
the study of the problem of their development resolves itself into as
many problems as there are underdeveloped areas, yet they have
certain characteristics in common which justify their grouping
together under one name. Generally, by 'underdeveloped' countries
are meant those countries, where national income, productivity,
capital investment, literacy, nutritional standard and expectancy of
life are low in comparison with the level of development of he U.S.A.
and of Western Europe, and where the standard of living of a
substantial portion of the people is at or near subsistence level. A few
figures may serve to illustrate the discrepancy which existed between
the developed and underdeveloped countries in the early years of the
'great awakening', and which still exists, constituting a major threat
to world peace.
Taking a national per capital income of U.S. $ 300 per year as the
dividing line between developed und underdeveloped, we find that
North America, Oceania, Europe and the U.S.S.R. are the developed
continents (with per capital incomes of $ 1.100, 560, 380 and 310 in
1949), and that South America, Africa and Asia are the under-
developed continents (with per capital incomes of $ 170, 75 and 50
respectively). Relating income percentages to population percentages,
the existing inequity becomes glaring in 1949 North America with
only 9 % of the world population enjoyed 43.6 % of the world income;
for Oceania these figures were 0.5 % and 1.5 %, for Europe 16.6%
and 27.3%, and for the U.S.S.R. 8.1% and 11.0%. Asia with 53%
of the world population had only 10.5 % of the world income; for

Africa these figures were 8.3% and 2.6%, and for South America
4.5 % and 3.5 %. 9)
As calory consumption is probably a direct function of per capital
income, nutritional standards in the underdeveloped countries are
consequently very low. In 1950 the calory consumption in the
developed continents of North America, Oceania and Europe was
3225, 3380 and 2596 calories respectively; for the Near East and the
Far East this figure was 2543 and 2005 respectively 1). Low income
and sub-normal nutrition can hardly enable the inhabitants to live
to a decent age. HANATr 11) has shown that there seems to exist a
direct correlation between per capital income and life expectancy.
Consequently, expectancy of life in the underdeveloped countries is,
as a rule, very low the lowest (27.0 years) in India, as against
69.4 years in the Netherlands. 2)
Generally the percentage of economically active population in the
underdeveloped countries is about 40% of the total population. 13)
The working period is very short, hardly 10-15 years on an average.
This fact, coupled with the lack of adequate education and equipment,
may well account for the low productivity of labour. In addition,
the underdeveloped areas are mainly agricultural countries, which
implies a further decrease in the level of productivity, as in the
agricultural sector productivity is generally lower than in the industrial
sector, which is mainly due to the low capital per head in the
production process. Thus a heavy pressure on land is exercised,
especially in the densely populated countries, keeping the peasants
in a state of constant poverty, and creating the well-known problem
of 'disguised unemployment' *).

Criteria of Development
From the above succinct discussion the appalling conditions of
the underdeveloped countries may have become clear. No wonder
that the gravity of this problem of international inequality alarmed
the thinking section of mankind, and led to a radical changing of
the attitude towards the 'backward' countries. In essence, the new
attitude means a radical breaking down of the hitherto existing
economic and cultural isolation a recognition by the formerly

*) It would seem to us that it is better not to describe this phenomenon as
an employment problem, but to regard it as a problem of social organization.
(Cf. lit. 180. Lect. I).

contented advanced nations of the need of a rapid economic develop-
ment of the backward regions, and a demand from the formerly
silent and passive masses in the backward countries for greater
equality of economic opportunity and fuller participation in the
modern civilization. This changed attitude is reflected in the general
acceptance of the dynamic term 'underdeveloped countries' to replace
the static term 'backward countries'.
Apart from this dynamism, this term was also discredited, because
many peoples living in the 'backward' areas, felt that the term
conveyed both an unjust judgement and a reproach. In the words of
STAMP 14): "Might it not also be that areas classed as backward in
material progress were sometimes the homes of ethical, moral and
religious codes which had much to teach to the Western world? So,
with official endorsement by the United Nations, the word 'backward'
has been dropped and the word 'under-developed' substituted. 'Back-
ward' involves subjective judgement, 'under-developed' is merely an
objective statement".
In so far as the (real or alleged) element of contempt and
condescension implied in the term 'backward' is no longer felt in the
word 'underdeveloped', we think the latter term much superior *).
But this does not mean that 'underdeveloped' is not a value-loaded
term at all. It is, since it implies that the development (whatever that
may mean) of those countries is assumed to be desirable. Many
discussions about the correct meaning of this term reveal a deplorable
lack of clarity on methodological issues. In the social sciences our
main concepts are value-loaded by necessity, and !they must be
defined in relation to axiological premises. There seems to be no
other way of studying social reality than from the viewpoint of
human ideals. A purely 'objective' definition, supposedly free from
any association with value-premises, cannot exist. 15)
When viewed in this way the above-mentioned opinion that
"'under-developed' is merely an objective statement" seems to be
incorrect, because it obscures the axiological issue. It is not merely
objective, since it also implies a value-judgement that development
is desirable. As FRANKEL 16) has rightly remarked: "Indeed, to speak
of development, or lack of it, at all, is to assume that the society to
which the term is applied is proceeding, or is failing to proceed, in
a certain direction towards a preconceived foreseeable goal or end,

*) Sometimes even this term is resented; in Indonesia the euphemism 'new
countries' is used instead.

the attainment, or partial attainment, of which will indicate a more
desirable state of affairs than that now being experienced, or than
that which the society experienced in the past. In other words, to
speak of the process of development is to assume, or imply,
consciously or unconsciously, certain standards or criteria of such
It has taken some time before the criteria of economic develop-
ment could be formulated in a fairly satisfactory way. In the beginning
only a few outward characteristics were mentioned (e.g. predomin-
ance of agriculture, occurrence of extreme 'poverty), but later the
underlying causes were also analysed and the criteria became more
refined (e.g. subsistence agriculture, low national income, and its
unfavourable distribution). In this way a large number of features
have been found, which are more or less characteristic for the under-
developed countries 17). Any critical analysis of the frequently applied
criteria, however, reveals their arbitrary and relative character. To
substantiate this point we shall discuss two of these criteria at some
The most obvious criterion is found by taking the word 'under-
developed' literally in the sense that national resources have not
been developed to the full extent possible. Land being the greatest
of all resources, this criterion would, in concrete terms, mean the
output per unit area. STAMP 1), after giving examples of regions
where the produce of a single square mile is sufficient to support
several thousand human beings, asks the question: "Can we possibly
class such lands as underdeveloped though the people may live in
conditions approaching misery, handicapped in every direction by
poverty?" Consistent application of the criterion of the output per
unit area leads to the paradoxical conclusion that maximum agricul-
tural efficiency is exemplified in the delta regions of China, in Java,
and in north-western Europe, whereas the United States, Canada,
Argentina and Australia should be classed as the great underdeveloped
countries of the world! 19)
Frequently applied is the criterion of per capital income. An
important U.N. Document 20) states: "We use it (i.e. the term 'under-
developed countries') to mean countries in which per capital real
income is low when compared with the per capital real incomes of the
United States of America, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. In
this sense, an adequate synonym would 'be 'poor countries' ". But
even this very useful criterion cannot be considered wholly satisfactory.

An increase in per capital income, and also in productivity, need not
be sufficient to justify the conclusion that there has been an increase
in economic welfare. A great mass of appalling poverty may still be
prevalent, as the numbers of the illiterate, diseased und under-
nourished people living at the margin of subsistence or below, may
have grown steadily together with a rise in the average income and
production of the population as a whole.
ViEm 21), whilst inclined to regard the prevalence of a great mass
of crushing poverty as the one great economic evil, is conscious of
his exceptionary view: "Were I to insist, however, that the reduction
of mass poverty be made a crucial test of the realization of economic
development, I would be separating myself from the whole body
of literature in this field". Approximately the same view is expressed
by SNUNU ), who first regarded an underdeveloped country as one
which did not fully utilize its technically possible resources, but
later defined it as a country "where the productive capacity, even
with a humane distribution, does not permit the elimination of
Substantially, almost the same standpoint is held by RA 23), who
considers unemployment a special development problem to be
speedily solved by mobilizing the greatest possible extent of man-
power and limiting the number of capital-intensive projects, even at
the expense of a rapid rate of growth. HANmATH24) agrees with this
view in the case of India and of densely populated countries in
general, but hesitates with respect to the sparsely populated regions,
where increase in the quality of labour is an essential condition for
the possibility of capital formation, as has been pointed out by
NuRKSE25). Yet, for the development of a country with such a small
population like Surinam, it was thought perfectly justified to sacrifice
at least some increase in material welfare for the sake of achieving a
harmonious form of sociological structure 26).
Regarding an underdeveloped area as a region with a low level of
welfare in comparison with the advanced regions, DE JONG and RIJKEN
VAN OLST27) warn against interpreting this term in a narrow sense.
For welfare is essentially a psychic entity of a very complex character,
which broadly may be said to consist of four elements the average
real per capital income available for. consumptive purposes, the
distribution of income, the availability of employment, and some im-
ponderables (such as freedom, safety, security, style of living).
From the above discussion one thing has become clear that

economic criteria alone are not sufficient, and that economic develop-
ment seems also to be mixed up with social and cultural factors.
Since welfare is indivisible, as BORDEWIJK s) has remarked, we should
regard 'economic development' only as the economic aspect of the
process of development. Even the econometricians, who chiefly make
use of statistical techniques, are inclined to share this view.
TINBERGEN 29) emphasizes the fact that in drawing up a development
programme an effort should be made to understand something of the
cultural and social backgrounds, and at least some attention should
be devoted to the wider and deeper social aspects. For the compilation
of a satisfactory plan for economic development, therefore, we need
a more comprehensive view of development, which is not restricted
to purely economic phenomena, but also takes account of socio-
cultural factors. And we think the concept of 'economic integration'
suitable for our purpose.
'Economic integration' has been defined by MYRDAL s) as the
"realization of the old Western ideal of equality of opportunity", and
he regards an economy as not integrated "unless all avenues are open
to everybody and remunerations paid for productive services are
equal, regardless of racial, social and cultural differences". Economic
development in this sense means the gradual emergence of a
community with ever freer social mobility, based on a fuller realization
of the norms of equality and liberty. This concept of national
economic integration not only resolves the paradoxical situation
arrived at by STAMP 1), but also does justice to the interdependence
of economic and socio-cultural factors. That economic progress is
woven into the process of social change by being both cause and
effect, is a point well borne out by the economic history of the
western nations. In the advanced countries where economic in-
tegration has gone furthest, it has been the outcome of fundamental
changes in all social relations. 3)

The Nature of Underdevelopment
Although the concept of 'economic integration' is not very suitable
for practical purposes on account of its vagueness (so that it does not
lend itself to quantification), it is nevertheless very valuable because
of its multi-dimensional nature; especially in the case of the under-
developed countries, where there is, as yet, little or no differentiation
between social and economic activities, as was repeatedly stressed by

BoEKE33). The concept of 'economic integration' not only includes
the purely economic criteria and relates them to non-economic
criteria, but it also compels us to take a comprehensive view of the
problem of underdevelopment and focuses our attention on the
necessity of integrated planning as the only means to achieve a
satisfactory degree of development. The compilers of Surinam's Ten
Year Plan regarded as a very great advantage of a comprehensive
plan "that also the interdependences between the different sectors of
the economic and social life can be taken into account" 34).
Our above discussion of the relativity of the criteria of develop-
ment does not mean, however, that we think those criteria as devoid
of any importance. Of course this is not the case, for their significance
for practical purposes can hardly be exaggerated. We only tried to
put things in their proper perspective in theoretical respect. And now
we shall devote some attention to the nature of underdevelopment
itself. Historically, underdevelopment may be regarded either as a
permanent or as a transitory phenomenon. Both the static and
dynamic views have (had) their defenders among the economists, and
therefore we propose to deal succinctly with this controversial issue.
The static view is best represented by BOEKE, who regarded under-
development essentially as an everlasting, not as a historic phenom-
enon. In his view underdevelopment was bound up with innate
qualities of certain human groups and with lasting differences in
social structure. On this ground he could proclaim his theory of
dualistic economy and demand a specific economic theory for each
individual society. Both his assumptions, however, seem to be
defective his theory of dualism is partially based on certain racial
characteristics which have not been approved of by sociologists and
anthropologists 35), and his demand of a specific theory arose from
his inadequate understanding of the essence of economic theory 36).
In contrast to this static approach there is the view of the transitory
character of underdevelopment although economic conditions are
different in different regions, yet the existing economic structures will
in course of time disappear as the economy of the countries concerned
develops itself. This is inter alia the standpoint of KILSTRA 37).
Others, however, do not see any significant difference between the
economic structures of the developed and underdeveloped countries.
For them a different approach to the problem of underdevelopment
is out of the question. This view, for example held by 'KooL 38), ignores
the peculiar structural and socio-cultural difficulties of the under-

developed countries, as has been pointed out by a number of
economists 39). The neglect of the differences between developed and
underdeveloped countries, however, must result in wrong diagnoses
and suggestion of wrong remedies 40).
Essentially different from the above-mentioned opinions is the
dynamic view of the permanence of underdevelopment. This is best
represented by MYDAL 41), who in contrast to BOEKE's static view
of permanence, holds that relative underdevelopment occurs every-
where and on every economic level, and that there is a tendency to
increase the inequalities when the market forces are left to have free
play. Through a cumulative process of circular causation the so-called
'back-setting effects' of economic expansion in one region produce
underdevelopment in other regions which tends to become permanent.
In this view there is no essential difference in the economic theory
for the various countries; yet it demands a different approach to
the problems of underdeveloped countries as long as they are not
economically integrated to a sufficient degree.
It must be almost self-evident that the view of the nature of under-
development has a direct bearing on the framing of an economic
policy for the underdeveloped countries. BOEKE'S static view led to
his well-known plea for re-animation of rural economy (dorpsherstel)
to prevent it from further disintegration42). Accepting KIELSTRA'S
view of the transitory character of underdevelopment, we are led to
his policy of patronage and 'ethical upliftment' 43), which is often
resented by the nations concerned because of the element of
humiliation it contains. If we see no difference at all between the
economies of developed and underdeveloped countries, then we are
perhaps justified to formulate a cold and hard economic policy, as
was done by KOOL 44) in the case of Surinam's Wageningen project.
MYBDA 's dynamic view of the permanence of underdevelopment
necessarily leads to a never-slackening welfare policy calculated to
achieve a satisfactory degree of equality of opportunity in the
shortest possible time. Even in advanced countries there is a continuous
need of adaptation to constantly changing socio-economic patterns,
and this need is particularly strong in the underdeveloped countries.
This dynamic view places the responsibility of national integration
on the national state, and of international integration on the 'world
state', i.e. the community of nations 4). We now propose to deal
with the reality of this assumption, which makes integrated planning
imperative for the underdeveloped countries.

The Necessity of Planning

We already noted that it has become a subject of increasing concern
that in the underdeveloped areas the people are living in conditions
approaching misery where food is inadequate and disease
rampant, where economic life is stagnant, and where inequality,
poverty and ignorance are dangerous handicaps. Whereas the highly
developed countries are rapidly developing further, the economic
development of the underdeveloped countries has been very slow, and
some of these countries are stagnating or have even moved backwards.
On the whole, the economic inequalities between developed and
underdeveloped nations have thus been increasing. HAAVELMO 4)
opines: "In the world economic picture that we can piece together
from current international statistics, perhaps the most striking feature
is that of economic dissimilarities". It is indeed probable, as SINGER 47)
suggested, that in spite of the spectacular progress in the highly
developed countries, the economic well-being of the average human
being in the world is lower to-day than it was in 1913 and perhaps
lower than in 1900!
This tendency towards increase in inequality is wholly contrary to
the demands of the theory of international trade, as has already been
pointed out by HLGERT48): "The fact that many underdeveloped
countries do not derive the advantages from modern transportation
and commerce that theory seems to demand is one of the most
pertinent facts in the present international situation and cannot be
easily dismissed". Now the theory of international trade can never
explain the reality of economic development and underdevelop-
ment 49), since it is based on unrealistic assumptions, especially on the
wrong notion of 'stable equilibrium' that the social system reacts
to primary changes in such a way that economic relations constantly
are on the move towards an equilibrium where they would remain
unchanged if no new primary changes occurred ").
To all students of problems connected with development and
underdevelopment the phenomenon of functional interdependence of
various factors is well-known. There are cumulative processes, which
are continuously pressing levels downwards, and where one negative
factor is at the same time both cause and effect of other negative
factors. We may only remind here of the frequent occurrence of what
is generally known as the 'vicious circle of poverty', but which we,
with VAN PHmIPS 51), could better denote as the 'vicious spiral of

poverty'. As WINsLOw 5) writes: "Men and women were sick because
they were poor, they became poorer because they were sick, and
sicker because they were poor". NURKSE 53) also refers to a circular
constellation of forces tending to act and react upon one another in
such a way as to keep a country in a state of poverty: "A situation
of this sort, applying to a country as a whole, can be summed up in
the trite proposition: 'a country is poor because it is poor' ".
Analysing this phenomenon MYDAL 4) arrives at the conclusion
that, ordinarily, the social system is not steering towards an
equilibrium at all, but seems constantly en route away from it. If
such a process is stopped, it is only by virtue of policy interference,
planned and applied for the very purpose of stopping the movement.
Economic expansion in one locality has 'back-setting effects' in other
localities and thus produces regional underdevelopment. There are
also 'spread-effects' of expansionary momentum from the centres of
economic expansion to other regions. But since these spread-effects,
operating inter alia through increased demands, are a function of the
relative level of development, they tend to be weaker the poorer the
country is.
Against this background of the analysis of regional relations the
backwardness and poverty in the underdeveloped world need cause
no surprise. "If left to take its own course, economic development
is a cumulative process of circular causation tending to award its
favours to those countries who are already well endowed and even
to thwart the efforts of those countries which are lagging behind" S).
Hence the glaring international inequalities in the present world,
which can be mitigated only through planning. WILIAMS 5 ) has
repeatedly stressed that "the kind of development program now
needed for a better balanced world requires planning, whether or
not we like that word, because it would not be at all certain otherwise
how the parts might fit together".
Under the pressure of various circumstances the heavy anti-
organizational 'bias of the classical economists gradually gave way
to active interference with the economic process, resulting in a high
degree of integration within the national boundaries of the advanced
countries. In the beginning these interference were purely incidental,
but later on they were exercised on the basis of some kind of
economic plan. Two mighty policy trends, viz. the development
towards social security reforms and towards progressive taxation,
forcefully contributed to equalization. But this harmony is to a large

extent "created through policy interference by organised society
into the operations of market forces. ... Prices are manipulated; they
are not the outcome of the forces in the market; they are in a sense
"political prices", depending on the regulating activity of the state,
quasi-public and private organizations and private business" 57).
These policies were weak, and sometimes even absent, in the
underdeveloped countries, which were until, recently under political
domination of a colonial power. The colonial governments, as a rule,
did not pay much attention to the economic development of the
colonies, because they were primarily concerned with the interests
of the mother-country. And the colonists were mainly motivated by
a desire for speedily gained wealth and they yearned to return to
their homeland as soon as possible (animus revertendi). When
discussing the plantation economy of Surinam (in the next chapter)
we shall have occasion to deal with this point at some length. Here
we may say that "colonialism meant primarily only a strengthening
of all the forces in the market which anyhow were working towards
internal and international inequality" 58).
Now that these countries have emerged from the lethargy of foreign
political and economic domination, they are attempting to press on
with their development. And they may learn much from the economic
history of national integration in the advanced countries 9). The
strong forces released in the struggle for independence give an
emotional fervour to the nationalistic policies of the underdeveloped
countries, leading sometimes to unwholesome autarchic ambitions 60).
For a correct assessment of the problem, however, we should not
forget that the development of the now advanced nations took place
in one particular epoch of world history -and under very special
political and cultural circumstances. But the now underdeveloped
countries have to fight against heavy odds more urgent needs,
narrower margins, scantier resources, and above all, limited time.
The world situation is such that every country will have to do its
utmost to push on as fast as possible, since a slow rate of economic
development implies grave social and political dangers. VNER 61)
rightly remarked: "Most countries, if their people are to be satisfied
with their rate of progress, will have to move forward at a much
more rapid rate than did in the past century those countries which
are now the most advanced; and many of these countries have dis-
advantages of poor natural resources, unfavorable climates, and
populations already dense, which neither Western Europe, the British

Dominions, nor the United States had to face". In the case of Pakistan
DE V IES 6) opined: "And not only you do not have space but also
you do not have the .time, you cannot take a century for development
like U.S. did, you have to do it in a short time" *).
The underdeveloped countries, therefore, cannot adopt the relatively
liberal policies in their foreign economic relations that were followed
by the developed countries in the nineteenth century, and they are
compelled to give a more radical shape to their nationalistic policies
than those of the advanced countries after the First World War.
Planning for national integration is the most vital need of the under-
developed countries. But they should always be aware of and
constantly try to. steer clear of the danger: COLIN CLARK 03) has
emphasized: "While there is a good deal to be said for nationalism
so long as it remains associated with competitive enterprise, and a
good deal to be said for socialism so long as it remains internationalist
in outlook, the alliance of Nationalism and Socialism produces a
monster which threatens to devour the world, and Nazism is not the
only form it has taken or may take".


The Concept of Planning
Planning literally means a mental preparation for action. It can be
defined as consisting of two inseparable parts the picturing of the
goal and the tracing of a strategic outline for the achievement of the
goal. This intellectual procedure may occur both in individual life
and in society; and, therefore, planning has always been with us. In
a sense, even state planning is not new. VAN SICKLE 4) states: "Feudal
society rested on a clear-cut plan in which custom, secular and
clerical power all combined to preserve order and security with a
minimum of change. By contrast the Mercantilistic planning of the
next period was dynamic. Its aim was to increase to the greatest
possible extent the independence and power of the state".
In the period following on Mercantilism, laissez faire was used as
a planning device, and the determination of -general welfare was
sought to be achieved by leaving the consumer free to choose his

*) However, care should be taken not to push on too fast in order to avoid
unwholesome financial and monetary developments, and not to fix the targets
too high for political or other reasons.

wants and letting the price system do the rest. Now the state had
only some simple tasks to perform protecting society from enemies
from without and maintaining law and order within. It is well-known
that this system gave rise to a number of very serious evils, such as
great wealth alongside of appalling poverty, brutal exploitation of
colonies, and a periodical breakdown of the productive processes.
In the face of these evils the Marxian economic prognosis that
capitalistic evolution itself would inevitably lead to abolition of
private property and to control of the state by the proletariat, became
very popular. But since MARx's prophecies as to the inevitability of
the laws of capitalistic evolution did not come out, the socialists were
led to accept the 'democratic process' to achieve an equitable
distribution of wealth. It was in this atmosphere that planning
acquired a new and added significance.
Since the establishment of the U.S.S.R. and the adoption of
quinqennial plans by her and by other centralized planned economies,
the notion of planning in the modem sense has come to occupy an
important place in the minds of men, evoking strong sympathies as
well as deep aversion "s). But the last years have seen great changes
in socio-economic relations, and planning in some form or another
has come to stay in the most advanced countries. Apart from the
nationalization of the key industries, many countries have experienced
the necessity to resort to some kind of planning in order to add to
the protection of their citizens from economic hazard.
Our cursory treatment of the growth of the idea of planning will
have made it clear that the word may carry different meanings. The
U.N. Experts' Committee ") has distinguished four meanings of the
word 'plan': "First, in some countries it refers only to the making of
a programme for public expenditure, extending over from one to
say ten years; secondly, it refers sometimes to the setting of production
targets, whether for private or for public enterprise, in terms of the
input of manpower, of capital or of other scarce resources, or else
in terms of output. Thirdly the word may be used to describe a
statement which sets targets for the economy as a whole, purporting
to allocate all scarce resources among the various branches of the
economy. And fourthly, the word is sometimes used to describe the
means which the government uses to try to enforce upon private
enterprise the targets which have been previously determined".
In the same report two other meanings are given. Planning may
refer "to the working of an economy exclusively by central direction,

where each production unit uses the resources allocated to it by quota
and disposes of its product also by direction", and "In some of the
literature it is synonymous with geographical zoning, or "town and
country planning"." 6) Since it is not our intention to give an ex-
haustive account of the various meanings of the word 'planning', we
only make a passing reference to two more meanings. Frequently
used is the word 'family planning', i.e. the conscious regulation by
the individual families of the number of children they want to have.
And by 'regional planning' is meant the cultivation of habitability of
the regions of human settlement, or in the words of GLKSON s"), "the
regulation of relationship between human and environmental factors".
The variety of meanings attached to the term 'planning' is not
conducive to a correct understanding. Moreover, the political bias
with which it is often charged must make us unusually careful about
definitions. It is, therefore, necessary that we make clear in which
sense we will be using the word. Elaborating PEN'S concise definition
that "Planning could be described as macro-economic steersman-
ship" "), we mean by development planning the guidance of
economic activities by a public organ through a comprehensive
scheme which describes, in quantitative as well as qualitative terms,
the productive processes that ought to be undertaken during an
intended future period, and in which these productive processes
must be so chosen and designed as to secure the full use of available
resources and to avoid contradictory requirements.

Forms of Planning
Planning is a matter of degree; it is nowhere completely absent,
nor does it anywhere cover all economic activity. It must be of a
collectivistic nature, because it means co-ordination 'through conscious
effort, instead of the automatic co-ordination which takes place in
the market, and this conscious effort must be made by some organ
of society. The conscious regulation of the economic activities of
individuals by a community necessarily assumes different forms
according to the particular requirements and preferences existing
in different societies at different times. Plans, therefore, may be
classified according to different criteria. Considering the degree
of co-ordination we can speak of integral plans and partial plans.
In terms of their duration we may broadly distinguish between
perspective or long-term plans, medium-term plans and short-term

plans. Regarding the extent of specification we can speak of general
plans and detailed plans. With reference to the intensity of
interference we may distinguish between liberal plans and totalitarian
In the initial stages of planning the development plans in most
countries are primarily partial in scope some development
projects are being formulated and implemented by various govern-
mental agencies. The extent of co-ordination of these schemes is
often very limited. Moreover, they may not reflect the real develop-
ment needs of the economy as a whole, and they may add up to a
result which is completely unplanned. But in spite of their inherent
limitations these partial plans fulfil a valuable function in preparing
the way for integrated planning. When planning has reached a stage
beyond the initial approaches, a development plan should be
formulated on the basis of a comprehensive picture of the available
resources and the economic needs of the country as a whole.
Planning, as we already noted, is an activity of a collectivistic
character plans must be compiled and executed by communal
bodies, and this means governmental interference. But planning
should not be identified with government interference, as is frequently
done. For, while all planning is government control, not all govern-
ment control is planning! It is a truism that planning must be carried
out in 'two phases first, the plan must be formulated, and second,
it must be implemented. But it is necessary to lay stress on this
commonplace, because an inadequate distinction between plan
making and plan execution lies at the bottom of many misunder-
standings with regard to the intensity of interference. It is, therefore,
necessary to distinguish between economic planning and government
We should not lose sight of the simple fact that a very different
degree of comprehensiveness of government interference may be
required for the two spheres of planning. In formulating the plan
we must take into account all the processes within the body economic,
since each of them may influence the other. But in implementing
the plan it may be sufficient to apply special measures of persuasion
and inducement (or of compulsion and coercion) in some fields only,
whereas in other fields development is likely to follow the desired
direction without any government intervention. Thoroughness in the
sphere of plan-making may be fully compatible with application of
liberal means in the field of plan-execution. A development plan

should be all-inclusive only in a macro-economic sense, and it need
not be carried out by compulsion. A total plan may be realized by
methods which are not totalitarian at all.

Planning and Ideology
Planning is often regarded with suspicion, and many people
experience an uneasiness at the thought of much government control
in our individual and national life. This feeling is not wholly
baseless, because certain forms of planning associated with inter-
ference for its own sake and with detailed regulation and curbing of
individual freedom, truly give much reason to alarm 7o). Yet in essence
this attitude of rejection of planning is not well-grounded, since it
arises from a false conception of its nature. It is necessary to
distinguish clearly between planning-as-such and the ends it may
serve, and between the compilation of the plan and the methods
adopted in its implementation. Only then we will be able to see that
planning-as-such has nothing to do with the controversy between
reactionary and progressive or between capitalistic and communistic
ideologies. As TINBERGEA once jokingly remarked to the present
writer, we could even indulge in planning for laissez faire!
We cannot be blind to the uncontestable fact that planning is
being applied in the 'communist' as well as in the 'capitalist' countries.
This suggests that planning involves no intrinsic ideological com-
mitments, although it may be infused with either of the ideologies.
Close examination shows planning-as-such to be plainly a formal
concept, inherently neutral to both rivalling ideologies. With a slight
modification to adapt it to our subject, we may say with MERTON T1)
that "it is the evaluations which permit the pouring of ideological
content into the bottles of planning. The bottles themselves are
neutral to their contents, and may serve equally well as containers
for ideological poison or for ideological nectar".
Planning as such, then, has no intrinsic commitment to an ideological
position. But this does not preclude the fact that particular forms
of planning do have an identifiable ideological role. In social life
we have always to think in terms of human ends; hence we should
start form particular premises in formulating the plan and only adopt
particular methods in implementing it. In the words of LANDAUE 72),
"we can take a positive or negative attitude toward planning on
essentially the same grounds on which we can reject or accept the
use of any type of machinery. We may judge it superior and therefore

wish to use it for our own purposes... Evidently, whether we think
the development of planning is a blessing or a curse depends to some
extent on the likelihood of its use for purposes which we approve or
for those which we reject".
In this sense, planning cannot be free from value-premises. It has
to be linked up with values, for the plan has to be formulated in
view of certain aims which are desirable, and it has to be implemented
by methods which are in accord with the cherished values. Only
planning-as-such does not carry any sense; planning for the sake
of planning is a ridiculous thing. Always there is the question
'planning for what?'; and with MANwNH "3) we say that we should
plan for freedom. Our general value-premise is that the attainment
and the preservation of a 'democratic way of life' is desirable. This
implies that planning should try to reconcile to the greatest possible
extent the often conflicting interests of the individual and the group,
or in other words, to guarantee individual freedom and to reduce
government interference as much as is possible and compatible with
the wider interests of society.
Our value-premise and the spirit behind planning have been
beautifully formulated by HUMAYUN KABm 74): "The basis of the
welfare state is recognition of the dignity of the individual. It is
because each individual is recognized as uniquely valuable that the
state seeks to interfere with the normal functions of society to assure
him certain inherent and inalienable rights. It is significant that the
concept of the welfare state emerged only as a further development
of the concept of democracy. Democracy was at first only a political
concept and sought to regard all individuals as equal in the eye of
the law. For purposes of political decisions, it laid down that each
one must count as one and no one as more than one. It was however
soon discovered that this equality would remain illusory unless
backed by equality in other fields. This led, on the one hand, to
restriction on the individual's right to exploit others, as seen in labour
and social legislation. On the other hand, it made the state provide
on an increasing scale the welfare services which equalize opportunity
for all citizens".

Role of the State
In spite of the different attitudes towards planning taken in the
advanced countries, it is an interesting fact that all advisers to
underdeveloped countries, who have acquainted themselves with their

problems (expert teams, international agencies, social scientists).
unanimously recommend central planning as a first condition for
progress. They all ascribe a very important role to the state to bring
about the necessary socio-economic changes. Although many
economists usually belong to the general critics of centralized
planning in their own countries, yet, faced with the peculiar problems
of the underdeveloped countries, they all become zealous planners!
RosTow 7) remarks: "It has been a minor irony of the postwar
experience of the United States that its agents, both in Europe and
in the underdeveloped countries, have found themselves urging an
increased role for government planning in the economies of the
areas where the American interest was engaged... This was a realistic
response to the nature of the societies where a sustained rate of
economic development was sought in the American interest".
Vnrma "), too, shares the general view: "In some countries the
masses of the people are probably too poor, too ignorant and too
bound by old patterns of behavior to do much for themselves; and,
if there is to be progress, it must be initiated and, for a time at least,
largely conducted from above". And BUCHANAN77) opines: "The state
rather than the drive of private enterprise in pursuit of profits will
determine the major features of industrial development in the (now)
low income areas. Domestic savings and investment, labor training
and mobility, imports and exports, foreign borrowing and home
finance will be guided by the visible hand of the state in the quest
for higher incomes through industrialization".
In most underdeveloped countries the greatest task of the state
consists in bringing about a 'social revolution' not the violent
overthrow of existing institutions, but their adjustment to make
progress possible by initiating large-scale reforms of the social
structure, such as land reforms and progressive taxation. An important
U.N. Document 78) states: "In our judgment, there are a number of
underdeveloped countries where the concentration of economic and
political power in the hands of a small class, whose main interest is
the preservation of its own wealth and privileges, rules out the
prospect of much economic progress, until a social revolution has
effected a shift in the distribution of income and power". The urgent
task, therefore, is one of 'institution building' social change must
be initiated, and a stagnant economy must first be given momentum,
so that it can take better care of itself.
The cultural and social changes, however, have to be planned and

to a certain extent even to be induced without cutting the historical
roots the inherited 'way of living' should be adapted, not abolished.
The principles of socio-economic reorganization, as TARLOK SINGH ')
has remarked in the case of India, "should be in accord with the
character, traditions and genius of Indian rural society, and should
at the same time lead, over a period of years, to economic efficiency,
social justice and democratic freedom". For a country like Surinam
with her heterogeneous population this principle demands that
planning must take into account the existing cultural patterns and
that there should not be uniformity of approach. VAN Ln s80) is of
the same opinion: "When compiling a welfare plan for Surinam
account should be taken of the character and the previous history of
the different groups of the population".
The hope of the underdeveloped countries for a rapid economic
development largely depends on the state's being able to plan and to
direct, and even to invest and to produce. The constant danger is
continued stagnation, because capital is scarce and private enterprise
is almost absent or very weak and not showing an appreciable
tendency to develop by itself. As STALEY "s) has pointed out: "Private
enterprise fails to function effectively in most underdeveloped
countries, not so much because it is repressed or interfered with as
because it does not yet exist in the modern sense in which Americans
automatically think of it". This lack of entrepreneurial spirit compels
the governments of the underdeveloped countries not only to plan
and to guide, but also to invest and to produce.
This state of affairs, however, need not continue for ever. A wise
government must do its utmost best to avoid overcentralization and
excessive control. It must exploit every possibility of pushing
responsibility on the shoulders of local authorities and specialized
organs. Instead of smothering individual initiative, it must jealously
guard whatever entrepreneurial spirit may be present and try to
nurture it. All development need not necessarily be imposed
arbitrarily from above; with much profit use can and should be made
of. existing initiatives. HUMAYUN KABIm ) has rightly remarked that
"the planning of the welfare state can be the result of the interplay
of the wishes, desires and hopes of all its citizens. The fact that
society and the state are organisms in which the individual members
act and react on one another and determine the nature and direction
of their development makes such democratic planning not only
possible, but the only form of planning that can serve the real

interests of the individual and the community". In this connection we
may also refer to the tentative conclusions reached by TmIBERGEN 8)
in his discussion of the theory of 'the optimum regime'.
With respect to the degree of obstruction of 'the market mechanism
by the government, KooPMANs 4) has distinguished three types of
planned economies type A, the centrally conducted economy in
which barter as such is entirely abolished and planning comes wholly
from above; type B, the national economy in which barter is possible
and private property exists, but only the power to dispose of goods
and services is curtailed; type C, the national economy in which the
government tries to realize certain aims via the market mechanism
by influencing the economic process indirectly; here there is only
planning from below. Starting from MARCHAI'S conception of the
'faustian state' 8), GOEDHART 6) distinguishes two types of economy -
the economie dirigee (corresponding to the above types A and B),
in which there is excessive government control, and the economie
orientee (corresponding to type C), in which there is only indirect
planning (planning from below).
At the present moment, if the underdeveloped countries are ever
to develop, the state will inevitably have to take most of the initiative.
But instead of resorting to compulsion and coercion, use should be
made of persuasion and inducement. And gradually, as private
enterprise develops itself, a liberalization of economic policy should
take place. The way will then be paved to attempt 'joint venture' and
'direct investment' as instruments of development, of course within
the general framework of the development plan, in accordance with
the desired direction and rate of growth. This tendency is already
visible in some-large countries like India and Pakistan, where there
is talk of "promoting free enterprise and abolition of administrative
controls and overall planning". 87) In Surinam, too, attempts are made
to promote direct investment, and an example of joint venture we
find in the execution of the 'Brokopondo project', in which an
American firm (SunALCO) is participating.
A considerable degree of interference is necessary in the initial
stages of development, but this should be directed towards greater
freedom, not greater bondage. Though in the underdeveloped
countries some form of economie dirigee (preferably type B) seems
indispensable as yet, it should be gradually replaced by the economie
orientee (type C). In this connection we may also remind of
KoESuTER's 'law of relative maturity of the masses' 8). Together with

HANATH 89) and TINBERGEN' ) we hold, therefore, that the entre-
preneur has also a right to exist in the underdeveloped countries.
Long ago SCHUMPETER 91) described him as das aktive Element, who
effects new combinations of factors of production and pushes through
innovations in the economic field. In the underdeveloped countries,
at least in the later phases of development, the entrepreneur may
fulfil essentially the same function as in the advanced countries.


An Underdeveloped Economy
In the preceding sections we discussed at some length the problems
of underdevelopment in general and emphasized the necessity of
planning for the sake of development. Now we shall devote our
atteritIon to one underdeveloped country Surinam, formerly a
Dutch colony, but since 1954 an autonomous partner of the 'Kingdom
of the Netherlands'. Not always Surinam has had an underdeveloped
economy; in the 17th and 18th centuries she was a very prosperous
country occupying a high place in international economy. After a careful
assessment of this position in the 18th century HEATON 9) writes:
"Dutch Guiana became a large producer of coffee, sugar, cacao and
cotton". But towards the end of the 18th century her economy started
deteriorating, and in the 19th century it became stagnant. In the
words of PANDAY 9): "The days of abundance and prosperity
disappeared leaving some ruined plantations to mark the past glory.
To-day Surinam is one (of) the many underdeveloped countries".
I Several factors have contributed to the rapid decline of Surinam's
economy. The suggestion often made, even in recent and authoritative
literature on the Ten Year Plan "),that agriculture dwindled away
only after the abolition of slavery, cannot be said to be based on
facts. This wrong notion finds it main basis in at least two other
wrong notions which keep cropping up in the older literature on
Surinam. First, the assumption that the major, and even the only,
economic problem of Surinam consisted in the supply of labour for
the plantations. And second, the belief that the Creoles have an
aversion from agriculture which led them to flee from the plantations
after the abolition of slavery. Both assumptions, however, are wrong
'as we shall have occasion to show in the next chapter. From our
analysis of the factors of production it will-ibecome clea that the

inherent weakness of Surinam's economy, owing to its complete
reliance on other countries for the supply of labour and capital,
coupled with certain unfavourable external developments and
especially an unimaginative economic policy, must be held responsible
for its decline, and that the abolition of slavery only aggravated the
It would not appear out of place here to consider briefly to what
extent the already mentioned general characteristics of underdevel-
oped countries are applicable to Surinam, who after the decline of
her economy has joined their ranks. Although Surinam's per capital
income of more than US. $ 200 per year compares favourably with
many other underdeveloped countries, yet it is considerably lower
than may be regarded as the minimum for a reasonable standard of
living. Productivity of labour is not very high, especially in the
agricultural sector. There is a considerable amount of 'disguised
unemployment' both in the rural centres and in the capital (Parama-
ribo). Illiteracy is not rampant and the quality of general education
is satisfactory, but vocational training is inadequate. General health
conditions compare favourably with almost all tropical countries and
even with many countries in the moderate zone, but nutritional
standards are not always satisfactory and partial undernourishment
is frequent. 95)
The most striking characteristic of Surinam's economy is the small
size of the population (about 260.000 in 1960) and its heterogeneous
racial composition, as is shown in table 196).

Racial Composition of Population (31 Oct. 1950).

Race Male Female Total

Creoles (Black and Coloured) 33.091 38.172 71.263
Hindustanis . 31.929 30.219 62.148
Indonesians . .. 18.304 16.890 35.194
Chinese . .. 1.468 903 2.371
Europeans (mostly Dutchmen) 1.342 1.224 2.566
Amer-Indians . .. 838 940 1.778
Other Races .. .... 797 859 1.656
Race Unknown .. . 58 55 113
Total 87.827 89.262 177.089

The consequences of this small and heterogeneous population for
the economic life are many. First, the size of the internal market is
very limited, so that industrial development must necessarily be
confined to very small-scale factories catering for domestic needs
and to modem industries basically oriented towards exports. Second,
there is scarcity of both labour and capital, and this fact may be
regarded as the main cause of stagnation scarcity of labour was
a handicap for investment projects, and because of scarcity of capital
there was not much incentive for new immigrants. Third, the level
of wages is relatively high owing to scarcity of labour (making extra-
inducement necessary) and to the small supply of consumption goods
(resulting in a high import rate for these goods). Moreover, on
account of racial heterogeneity with its accompanying difference in
the patterns of consumption, the already meagre internal market
becomes more unfavourable for industries producing for local con-
Another characteristic of Surinam's economy is the overwhelming
importance of agriculture as a means of subsistence and the very low
productivity of labour in the agricultural sector, as may be seen in
table 2 97).

Production Value and Labour Force in Various Sectors (1950).

Net Production Value Engaged Labour Force Value per capi-
Economic Sectorlue p p
in Sf. mln % in thous. % ta output (Sf.)

Agriculture 20.9 25.7 63.0 84 330
Industry 21.0 26.0 5.6 7 3.750
Mining 26.1 33.0 3.6 4 8.700
Trade & Others 12.4 15.3 3.6 5 3.400

From this table it appears that 84 % of the total labour force
engaged in agriculture contributed only 25.7 % to the national income,
whereas the contribution of mining with only 4 % of the labour force
was not less than 33 o. This means that although Surinam's per
capital income compares favourably with many other underdeveloped
countries, the per capital income in the agricultural sector is very
low. This situation, mainly due to the primitive methods of farming,
the small capital per head in the production process, and the

large amount of 'disguised unemployment', makes the peasants
relatively poor. The sharp disparity in income distribution creates a
tendency among the agricultural people to drift away from the rural
areas to the only significant urban centre (Paramaribo).
A specific characteristic of Surinam's economy is its one-sidedness,
because since 1936 bauxite has been exercising a dominant influence.
The export of bauxite began in 1922; in 1936 its export value was
56.4 % of the total export, and in 1940 this figure was 83.5 % 98). Not
only does bauxite constitute the major share of exports, in other
respects it is dominating as well. Although a meagre 4 % of the total
labour force is engaged in mining, yet bauxite alone contributes
about 33 % to the national product. Bauxite mining and shipping are
directly responsible for 30% of the tax revenue, and this figure
increases to 50 % when we also take into consideration the income
tax on salaries and wages earned in bauxite production. 9")
A peculiar characteristic of Surinam is the 'economic over-
deepening' *) of her transport currents in relation to the world trade
routes in her neighbourhood. The consequence of this situation is
that the main transport current is not affected by- the tiny side
current from Surinam, because the latter is not interesting enough.
A change for the better can only be achieved, when the side current
cuts itself as deeply as the main one. And this would only happen
when the Surinam goods, both quantitatively and qualitatively, will
be able to make an essential contribution to world trade.

Laissez Faire and Planning
Above enumeration of the characteristics of Surinam's economy
is far from complete. 10") But it was not our intention to give an
exhaustive account of them, for later we shall have occasion enough
to go somewhat deeper on many points. Here we were only con-
cerned with some important characteristics to show that Surinam,
too, is .an underdeveloped country. And from our discussion it will
have become clear that the economic problems of Surinam are of
some magnitude, and that important structural changes are required
to enable Surinam to face the' present and future difficulties. Her
economy, however, does not carry in itself the forces which might
lead to an automatic development in the desired direction. Hence

*) This concept was introduced by BOERMAN and has been elaborated by
HAnRTH (Vide: lit. 14; lit. 80a. I. pp. 8, 9).

the necessity of planning on the basis of a comprehensive picture of
her resources and needs.
The view that only deliberately planned changes would lead to
economic progress became predominant in the late forties of this
century. Through the creation of a 'Prosperity Fund' attempts were
made to overcome stagnation and to put Surinam on the road of develop-
ment. And after some years of research and adjustment a Ten Year
Plan was compiled on an integral basis, which is now being executed.
Strictly speaking, a development plan need not always be necessary,
if we want to effect changes in a stagnating economy. For the
bottlenecks may be overcome by incidental interference, and
development may well continue without being directed. But more
than a century of economic history of Surinam has shown that the
policy of laissez faire, every now and then interrupted by incidental
government interference, was not able to create forces strong enough
to make progress possible. On the contrary, Surinam's economy kept
deteriorating till it reached its lowest point in the period before the
Second World War.
The present development problems of Surinam can only be under-
stood in the light of her economic history. There is not much to be
said about her earliest economy ( 1500-- 1650), i.e. from the
discovery of Guiana till the first permanent settlement of European
colonists. In the next period which lasted over a century (1650-1773)
the plantation colony became a wealthy country, and her prosperity
was so striking that it easily led to exaggerations, as is the case with
FER MN'S oft-quoted statement that Surinam was "beyond comparison
the richest and most valuable colony belonging to the United
Provinces, owing to the vast treasures it continually pours into the
scale of commerce" 101). But after this period a gradual deterioration
of agriculture set in and led to the stagnation of Surinam's economy.
It does not fall within the scope of our study to present an
exhaustive analysis of the economic history of Surinam. Ours is but
a limited task to study her history from the point of view of
planning. We propose to show that the laissez faire attitude must
be considered the greatest single factor responsible for the continued
stagnation of Surinam's economy. It is comprehensible that in the
period of abundance the people were too intoxicated by wealth to
discover the inherent weaknesses of the country, which in less
favourable circumstances would inevitably lead to disaster. When
international conditions grew less favourable for Surinam, these

factors started operating almost unchecked by a wise policy and thus
led to deterioration. But during this very period of serious decline
the doctrine of laissez faire had a very strong hold on the minds of
the policy makers in the mother country. When problems arose half-
hearted attempts were made to remedy the symptoms, but the deeper
causes were left untouched. It has taken about a century and a half
after decline had set in, before official economic policy underwent
a radical change and development planning became accepted as the
only means to solve the complex problems of Surinam's stagnant

;- .




The Earliest Economy
Before the discovery of America by COLUMBUS (1492) the dense
forests and the alluvial coastal belt of Guiana were the uncontested
domain of different tribes of Amer-Indians. Owing to lack of records,
since the Amer-Indians did not have a script, the pre-Columbian era
belongs to the prehistory of America. As the material culture of the
now existing Amer-Indian tribes in Surinam has not undergone much
change in the course of time, through a study of it we may acquire
a fairly reliable picture of the economic life of the people of Guiana
prior to the arrival of the earliest European colonists. Since from
the point of view of our study the earliest economy is not important
at all, we shall here only make a passing reference to certain aspects
for the sake of providing a general background.
The Amer-Indians of Guiana were semi-nomadic people. The most
important means of subsistence were hunting and fishing and agri-
culture, and these were carried out with the help of primitive
implements. In the New World the wheel was not known, and this
was a serious obstacle for handicraft (ceramics and textiles) rind for
transport (in the more civilized regions such as Peru and Mexico).
The plough was also unknown, and agriculture was carried out with
the help of 'hoes and sticks and other primitive tools. The method
of shifting cultivation was applied, and crop rotation was not known;
in certain regions human, animal and fish manure was used. In semi-
arid and mountainous areas methods of soil and water conservation
were known (e.g. terrace-building by the Inca and the Hopi Indians).
The history of Guiana begins around 1500, when the territory was
discovered by the Spaniards and afterwards became known as the
'Wild Coast'. The rumours about El Dorado, the gilded monarch, led
to many expeditions from the European continent, which turned out
as many failures 1). However, keen interest in these regions was

aroused, and soon the Dutch, the English and the French were found
to be competing with the Spaniards and with each other; outstanding
in this respect is the name of Sir WALTER RALEGH *) who travelled
across these parts. As early as 1581 Dutch merchants established a
trading post on the Pomeroon in Essequebo, which is now a part of
British-Guiana 2). In 1593 the Spaniards took possession of Guiana
on .behalf of the Spanish king, but the Dutch seemed to have a
strong hold in Surinam about 1614 there were many 'factorijen'
(trading-centres), e.g. one Amsterdam settlement in the Amer-Indian
village 'Parmarbo' or 'Parmurbo'3) which is Paramaribo nowadays.
Dutch enterprisers tried to establish volksplantingen (colonies) on
the Wild Coast early in the 17th century4, and on a map of about
1639 the whole coastal territority from the Amazone to the Orinoco
rivers was shown as belonging to the Netherlands. 5)
It is not exactly known when the first European settlers came to
that part of Guiana which is now Surinam. Before 1650 there seem
to have been 14 attempts to colonize the Wild Coast, six of which
are mentioned by Major Scorr 6). DE VRIES 7), who made a voyage
with the ship 'King David' along the coast of Guiana (1634-1636),
also visited 'Sernanie', where he came across 60 Englishmen under
Captain MABSHALL ) who were engaged in 'houthandel' (timber-
trade). But these settlements were not long-lived; therefore, Surinam's
economic history may be said to have begun with the first permanent
settlement in 1650. In that year. Sir FRANCIS WILLOUGHBY, at his own
expense, attempted a 'wilde kolonisatie' (unofficial colonization), and
in 1662 Surinam was presented to WILLOUGHBY and HIDE by King
CHARLES II of England9). In this period a number of Jew refugees
settled in Surinam, who with their agricultural knowledge and their
wealth were a valuable asset to the colony o). In 1654 there were
only 350 Englishmen, but soon the population numbered about 4000
persons. The settlers, with their slaves, were mainly engaged in cane-
cultivation on a considerable number of plantations. The economic
development of Surinam had begun.
Surinam, however, did not remain a British possession for a long
time. In 1667 she was occupied by the Dutch under Admiral CIJNSSEN,
and though recaptured by Admiral HARRISON, she was confirmed as a
Dutch possession at the peace-treaty of Breda (1667)U ). Except for

*) This famous name is spelt in not less than 74 different ways; we followed
the spelling of the manuscript of his own book (lit. 181). Cf. lit. 201, pp. 180
et seq.

two brief periods of interregnum during the Napoleonic wars (from
1799-1802 and from 1804-1815), when she was once again ruled by
Britain 2), the history of Surinam has ever since been exclusively
Dutch. In 1950 she attained internal autonomy, and in 1954 she
became an autonomous partner of the 'Kingdom of the Nether-
lands' 13). It is of interest to note here that Berbice, Essequebo and
Demarara (which now constitute British-Guiana) were also Dutch
possessions until the cessation of the Napoleonic wars. When after
the London Convention (1814) and the Treaty of Paris (1815)14) the
British interregnum came to an end, only Surinam was given back to
the Netherlands; the other territories became British, much to the joy
of the (Dutch) plantation-owners and merchants 1). Even in our
days many traces of the Dutch influence in British Guiana and of the
English influence in Surinam are present.

Character of the Colony
When the first European colonists settled in the New World they
adopted some of the agricultural techniques of the Amer-Indians;
this was e.g. the case with planting corn in hilly regions, using of
fish fertilizers, etc. But very soon these techniques were abandoned,
and attempts were made to introduce European ones. There were,
however, serious difficulties in the way of introducing European
methods of cultivation. It was not easy to turn the large tracts of
virgin land into arable land,, and there was shortage of workers who
were able to perform manual labour in a tropical climate. These
circumstances led to the emergence of the plantation as the most
suitable form of economy. Therefore, this type of agricultural colonies
in tropical regions has rightly been called 'plantation colonies'.
Some characteristics of such plantation colonies may be given
below. There is little emigration of Europeans to such a colony, the
number of colonists is small, and the majority are men. The colonists
do not love the new environment, they are primarily motivated by
a desire to gain wealth speedily and then return to their homeland
(animus revertendi). They do not cultivate the land themselves, but
make use of forced labour. Agriculture is the mainstay of economy,
and it is directed towards production of staple-goods for export to
markets overseas. It is extensive rather than intensive, and this implies
non-restoration of soil and even non-rotation of crops. The system
of plantation-culture, to quote KEMLER 16), is "a ruthless and wasteful

one, not only of soil but of men. It is what the Germans graphically
denominate Raubbau". LERoY-BEAULIEU 17) has given to this type of
colonies the name of 'exploitation colonies', where "the soil was
exploited to the utmost in view of only one product;... the oppression
of a multitude of people without rights who were considered as
instruments and who were recruited by trade..."
In order to be remunerative the plantations had to take to large-
scale production of staple-goods for the European markets. In an
age when machines were not known, this meant that a sizable labour
force was required, and therefore the planters resorted to the use
of forced labour. According to NmBOER18) slavery occurs only in
regions with 'open resources', where subsistence depends on resources
of which the supply is not limited, so that they are open to all. This,
now, was the case with the Guianas, where land was abundant, but
labour and capital were scarce. The forced labour with Amer-Indians,
however, failed miserably, because these nomadic people were not
accustomed to regular work 9). An attempt to contract 'poor whites'
as labourers in the British West Indies also did not meet with
success 20). A satisfactory solution to the problem of labour was found
in a suggestion by DE LAS CASAS to fetch Negroes from Africa. This
led to the practice of slave-trade and slavery, which began to
flourish, until in 1808 and 1863 respectively they were abolished in
Surinam. After this the problem of labour was sought to be solved
by the supply of Asian and other immigrants Portuguese, Chinese,
Hindustanis, Indonesians, etc. In this way Surinam's population
became the heterogeneous mixture of ethnic groups it is to-day.
The fast spread of plantations was occasioned by the availability
of vast tracts of virgin land. It is sometimes suggested that plantations
in Surinam came into existence only after the Dutch had settled there:
"Special mention should be made of the introduction of plantation
farming by the Dutch" 2). This statement, however, does not seem
to be true. We already made a passing reference to the existence of
a considerable number of plantations in Surinam at W .iLOUGHBY'S time
(1650-1667). Of this period WOLBEBS ") writes: "Now for the first
time plantations proper were laid out, and soon their numbers ran
into 40 or 50". At the time of CIJNSSEN'S victory (1667) there were
already 178 plantations (mostly cultivating sugar), as is shown on
an old map of that year23). VAN Lnr 2) correctly states: "The
plantation was the form of business, in which already under the
English the country of Surinam was exploited for the export to the

markets overseas"; and again: "The English brought the fast spreading
plantation system to Surinam".
We may, therefore, safely say that it was the English who in-
troduced plantation farming in Surinam, and in this way laid the
foundation of the prosperity of the country. However, considerable
improvements were effected by the Dutch who were in the possession
of superior know-how of exploiting low coastal land and who in-
troduced the system of polders in Surinam. In the British period
the plantations were situated deep in the interior of the country;
on the Boven-Suriname, in the centre of the cultivated area, lay
Thorarica, Surinam's capital of those days "). But the Dutch im-
poldered the alluvial coastal area, so that this could also be cultivated.
A network of drainage canals (trenzen) within dykes (dammen) cut
the country into rectangular-shaped plantations. The land was divided
up into small beds, and drainage was provided by one or more sluices
near the river according to the size of plantations, which varied in
acreage mostly from to 200 to 400 hectares 26).
The majority of the early colonizers came from the lowest rung
of European society. According to JEAFFRESON 2) the West-Indies
were peopled by "broken traders, miserable debtors, penniless
spendthrifts and discontented persons, travelling heads and scatter-
brains". People were "gathered about the streets of London and other
places, clothed and transported to be employed on the Plantations" 28).
And VENABLS"9) called the island of Barbados "the Dunghill whar
one England doth cast forth its rubidg". The same, perhaps in a
lesser degree, also applies to Surinam.
Gradually a planter aristocracy emerged, but the life they led was
far from being commendable. MALOvET 3) opined: "There is a general
ease, there is a relative luxury; the climate appeases or inclines to
rest; cupidity awakens and controls laziness; assuidity is active, the
whole world is busy". HERuL 31) described the dolce far niente of
the planters' wives who did nothing but "calling for their obliging
house-slaves, who carry the names of Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and
many other waggishly picked up names". About the luxurious life
Governor NEPVEu 32) wrote: "The profusion with big Meals, Dancings,
etc. is indescribable. Tables on which there are a few hundred
Covers, must be strewn as densely as possible with all kinds of Meat,
Fruit, etc. upto two and three hundred dishes, or else one would be
ashamed". STEDMAN 33) gave a vivid picture of the daily routine of a
planter in Surinam, an almighty potentate, but "who, in all

probability, was in his own country, Europe, a nothing". Although
these and other descriptions of the luxury of the planters seem to be
somewhat exaggerated, as may be gathered from other writings "),
yet they are an indication of Surinam's prosperity in the second half
of the 18th century.

A Prosperous Country
It may seem paradoxical that the 'golden age' of the plantation
colony was created by such unskilled and inefficient planters, who
did not take much interest in the welfare of the colony and their
labourers, and whose conspicuous way of living not only meant a
great liability to the estates, but also contributed to slave uprisings
and to the flight of many slaves (Maroons). But there were a number
of favourable factors which contributed to the steady expansion of
Surinam's economy in the 17th century, until the colony reached its
peak point of prosperity in the course of the 18th century.
Surinam's economic history of the 17th century is exclusively a
history of sugar, which product became of importance after
WILLOUGHBY'S settlement. In 1663 it was said that "The Chiefest
commodity is sugar and better cannot be made" "). Surinam was the
leading sugar-producing colony in the West, also in the early part of
the 18th century, when other products (coffee, cotton and cacao) had
been introduced. As HERLEIN36) says: "Among all Crops which exist
on the Surinam Coast, and of which the number and diversity of
species is almost indescribable, none is cultivated with more advantage
than the far-famed Sugar-Cane".
Favourable external and internal conditions prevailing at that time
form the explanation of Surinam's prosperity. Sugar prices in the
international market were very high" ), because the product was
considered a luxury in Europe, where supply could not catch up
with the demand. Sometimes even the State had to intervene in order
to restrict the consumption of sugar, as may be gathered from a
regulation from early 17th century, in which, on the advice of the
thirty-six counsellors, it was ordained by the lords of the court that
no apothecaries, pastry-cooks, confectioners, bakers or any one else
were allowed to make in sugar any marchpanes, pies, cakes pastry
or loaves, etc. 83).
Due to lower costs of production and lower costs of transport,
Surinam's bargaining position in the world-market was much stronger

than that of the other sugar-producing countries. The abundance of
fertile land and the unrestricted import of slave-labour made cheap
production possible, so that the West Indies could successfully
compete with those countries where such labour was unknown. In
the case of Indonesia VAN DEN BosCH 39) opined "that enterprisers on
Java, working with free labourers, will not be able to keep up the
competition with West Indian planters who have negro-slaves at their
disposal". Moreover, the trade-route from the West Indies to the
European markets was shorter than that from the East. Among the
colonies in the West Indies Surinam occupied the most favourable
position, owing to a number of technical reasons. The British built
their ships at double the cost of the Dutch ships. Dutch skippers
paid 3% on loans, but the British skippers had to pay 6%. The
Dutch used a crew of 8 to 10 men in an ordinary trading-ship,
whereas about 30 persons were employed in a British ship of 'about
the same burthen'. The iDutch paid lower wages to their sailors and
their custom charges were usually a small fraction of the English
rates 40).
These favourable internal and external factors were very conducive
to economic development, and in a relatively short period Surinam
became a wealthy country. The agricultural expansion is reflected
in the rapid growth of the number of plantations. In 1688 there were
only 23, in 1738 the number was 430 and in 1788 there were 591
plantations 41). We already noted that in the 17th century only sugar
was responsible for the prosperity. It is, however, very difficult to
form an adequate picture of the economic progress in this period,
because statistical data are not only scarce, but also unreliable.
Table 3 4) shows that Surinam was making headway as a sugar-
producing colony.
This situation of only one export product changed in the 18th

Export of Sugar in the 17th Century (in Amst. pounds).
Year Quantity Year Quantity

1677 432.800 1687 5.297.400
1678 484.000 1689 6.053.800
1679 613.000 1692 3.333.890
1683 3.472.500 1695 9.964.050

century, in which cotton, cacao and coffee appeared on the export
scene. Sugar, however, remained the dominant product, though its
exports did not increase substantially; and coffee came to occupy
the next important place. The peak years of export, and consequently
of prosperity, were reached in the second half of the 18th century,
as is clear from table 4 4).

Export of Agricultural Products in the 18th Century.

Yer Sugar Coffee Cotton Cacao
(in metric tons) (in pounds) (in pounds) (in pounds)

1705 5.030 --
1715 7.610 1.780 400
1725 9.050 46.086 865 390
1735 6.680 1.376.335 316 3.875
1745 8.950 7.592.779 528 674.744
1755 6.350 2.872.562 1.803 85.332
1765 7.860 160.530 50.780
1775 7.970 13.300.000 144.428 73.338
1785 6.370 12.913.462 1.020.587 560.194
1795 12.142 11.193.690 1.223.170 350.444
1805 5.865 6.100.755 5.105 273.488

Perhaps the objection will be made to our procedure of deducing
prosperity from export figures of agricultural products alone. But we
should not forget two points. First, that agriculture was the mainstay
of economy. As VAN SYPESTEYN 4) writes: "The colony of Surinam has
always been indebted to agriculture for welfare and prosperity". And
second, that the colony was primarily producing for external markets.
The export figures, therefore, may be taken as very reliable indicators
of Surinam's welfare in those days.

A Declining Economy

Unfortunately, the years of abundance were short-lived; after
something more than a century of welfare the days of prosperity
became a thing of the past. Towards the end of the 18th century
Surinam's economy started deteriorating; rapid decline set in in the
second half of the 19th century, after which the economy became
completely stagnant. This decline is clearly reflected in the decrease
of the number of plantations. We earlier noted that in 1788 there

were 591 plantations; after that their numbers began to decrease, and
according to TEENSTuA4) not less than 80 plantations were closed
down within the sixteen years before 1832. Table 546) gives an
illustration of this process.

Decline of Plantation Culture (1793-1950).

Number of Plantations
Year Coffee Cotton Cacao Sugar Mixed Total

1793 104 6 88 192 390
1820 176 72 122 46 416
1860 38 14 4 78 2 136
1900 1 4 45 4 66 120
1932 56 6 10 72
1950 21 3 24

The objection might be made that a decrease in the number of
plantations in itself need not be an indication of a decline of economy,
for the size of the plantations also counts; and even if the area
under cultivation decreases, the output may well have increased, e.g.
as a result of the introduction of better crops and new techniques
and of modernization and expansion of the existing equipment. This,
in fact, was the case with cane-cultivation towards the end of the
19th century in 1886 the area cultivated by cane was 2637.1 ha
(1 ha is about 2 acres) and the output was 6.982.249 kg; for 1887
these figures were 2079.0 ha and 8.416.616 kg respectively47). Yet,
in general, we may take the number of plantations as a fairly reliable
indication of the degree of Surinam's prosperity in the 18th and
19th centuries, because on the whole there was neither any significant
expansion of the cultivated area per plantation, nor any appreciable
modenizatiop of techniques and equipment 48).
The stagnation of Surinam's economy in the 19th and 20th centuries
is very well reflected in the persistent deficit in the balance of trade,
as is shown by table 6 49). Although the exports show an upward trend,
yet the balance of trade is unfavourable. In the light of the
consideration that the small internal market underwent no appreciable
expansion and no services were rendered to foreign countries, the
stagnant nature of Surinam's economy becomes apparent. The

Value of Exports and Imports (1865-1938).

Period Import Export Deficit
(in Sf.) (in Sf.) (in Sf.)

1865-1874 4.017.729 2.775.945 1.241.784
1875--1884 4.051.690 3.295.072 756.618
1885-1894 5.212.757 3.917.650 1.295.107
1895-1904 6.079.083 4.843.063 1.236.020
1905-1914 7.069.250 6.775.959 293.291
1915-1924 8.700.443 7.517.905 1.182.538
1925-1934 7.814.054 7.623.659 1.903.955
1935-1938 6.224.691 5.830.098 394.593

abnormal economic condition is also reflected in the unfavourable
position of government finance, as is shown by table 7 50).
This table reveals that, although government income constantly
increased, there has been a perennial deficit on the budget since
1865, the year in which Surinam acquired financial autonomy 51). The
administrative machinery is made expensive by a small population
scattered over a relatively large territory. Tax-income is not sizable
because of the small number of tax-payers and of the poor purchasing-
power of the small population. Government expenditure is going up
as a result of increased provision for education, health and other
social services. 5) Surinam, however, was not able to repair the
deficit from her own means. Hence the necessity of the mother

Government Income and Expenditure (1865-1938).

Average Figures Per head of Population
Period (in Sf.) (in Sf.)
Income Expenditure Deficit Inc. Exp. Defic.

1865-1874 841.729 1.264.821 422.992 16.5 24.7 8.2
1875-1884 1.097.890 1.417.854 3.199.964 20.7 26.7 6.0
1885-1894 1.488.187 1.662.599 171.712 25.2 28.1 2.9
1895-1904 2.411.379 2.683.984 272.605 33.4 37.2 3.8
1905-1914 3.570.088 4.389.563 819.475 39.6 48.7 9.1
1915-1924 4.117.713 7.156.111 3.038.398 38.1 66.2 38.1
1925-1934 4.432.903 7.532.466 3.099.563 33.5 57.0 23.5
1935-1938 4.014.708 6.686.375 2.671.667 26.7 44.5 17.8

country to allocate substantial subsidies every year in order to
balance Surinam's budget.
From our analysis it may have become clear that the decline of
Surinam's economy started towards the end of 'the 18th century,
gained momentum in the 19th century, and had become completely
stagnant in the second half of it. Both external and internal factors
have contributed to this rapid deterioration53). As we saw, some
internal limitations were the grand style of living and the inefficiency
of the planters and the frequent attacks by the Maroons, but in spite
of these impeding factors agricultural expansion continued. In
addition the country often had to suffer from weather-whims and
from crop-diseases which brought ruin in their wake. Severe blows,
however, were inflicted by external factors the crash of the Am-
sterdam Bourse (1773), the abrogation of slave-trade (1808), the many
international conflicts (Anglo-American war, Anglo-Dutch war,
French revolution, Napoleonic wars), the amputation of the colony
(1815), the abolition of slavery (1863), the opening of the Suez Canal
(1869), the dominating position of beet-sugar (in the second half of
the 19th century).
From 'the earliest beginnings in the 17th century Surinam's economy
has been suffering from a number of inherent limitations. Internal
factors (abundance of fertile land, a not unfavourable climate,
absence of population-pressure) went a long way in making
agriculture a great success. But the same factors which made for
strength, were also a source of weakness. The sparsely populated
country was not able to provide for its own labour force and had
to rely on external supplies. The country was also not able to raise
its own capital and had to depend completely on external financial
supplies. The limited size of the home-market made it necessary to
produce for foreign markets. As long as the favourable conditions
continued, Surinam's economy was thriving. But when the steady
supply of capital was rudely shaken, when supply of labour became
halting, and when the comparatively shorter trade-route to the
European markets disappeared, the economy started deteriorating
rapidly and became stagnant.
The days of prosperity were made possible by a ruthless and
wasteful system of plantation-agriculture by colonists who were
possessed by the animus revertendi they had come to become
wealthy and to return to 'their homeland as soon as possible. Often
they were no planters at all, and they did not take much interest

in the welfare and the development of the colony. Life in Surinam
was dominated by the interest of the planters, who were very
powerful and influential, and the government primarily had to
comply with their wishes. The Governor and his officials frequently
came into conflict with the mighty planters, and more often than
not the latter were victorious 5). With reference to the government
it has rightly been remarked that a 'plantocracy' existed in Surinam55).
VAN Ln 56) has correctly stated that till 1920 the approach to the
problems of Surinam was completely dominated by the view of the
It is obvious that in such an atmosphere not much attention
could be paid to the development of the colony. No appreciable
attempts were made to widen 'the basis of economic life and to
provide for an alternative market. The greatest weakness of Surinam
has always been the fact that of the three factors of production
only land was abundantly available, whereas both for labour and
capital she was wholly dependent on external supplies; this inherent
defect made her economy extremely vulnerable. And the wrong
notion that agriculture in Surinam succumbed because of labour
shortage alone, has contributed much to the neglect of a study of
other weaknesses, and hence to an inadequate policy. In the days of
abundance no thoughts were bestowed on the inherent limitations
of the country's economy, which at any time could start operating
and render the prosperity a thing of the past. And when a combination
of unfavourable internal and external factors crippled the plantation-
agriculture, decline inevitably followed.
Owing to many factors, among which an unimaginative policy
on the part of the Dutch government was not the least, deterioration
could continue almost unchecked. Official economic policy seemed
powerless to find a solution to the problems which kept emerging.
Lack of insight in the true nature of these problems and reluctance
to interfere with the economic life of the colony prevented the Dutch
government from compiling a welfare-plan to remove the inherent
defects and to overcome stagnation, so as to make development
possible. Liberal ideas reigning at that time ruled out such an
energetic approach to the economic problem of Surinam. The
doctrine of laissez faire had so strong a hold on the minds of the
policy-makers in the mother-country that they were unable to see that
the stagnant economy of Surinam did not possess forces which would
automatically lead to development.

It is our central thesis that the attitude of laissez faire must be
mainly held responsible for the fact that Surinam's economy could
remain stagnant for about a century, and we propose to substantiate
this assertion in the following sections. Since it is not our intention to
present an exhaustive analysis of the history of the factors of
production, we shall only deal with the official policy concerning
land, labour and capital and discuss the population policy at some
length. For the purpose of our study only the policy in the 19th and
20th centuries is important, but for the sake of providing a general
background we shall also pay some attention to the policy in the
earlier periods.


Allocation of Land
The history of land policy in Surinam may roughly be divided into
four periods. The first period comprises the early land policy of the
English and the Dutch from the first settlements till Surinam
became a colony of the Societeit ( 1630-1683); the second period
covers the land policy of the Society (1683-1795); the third period
comprises the official policy till the regulation of 1863; and the
fourth period covers the land policy after the abolition of slavery,
especially with respect to the Asian immigrants.
We already noted that in the beginning of the 17th century there
were many Dutch 'factorijen' (trading-centres) on the Wild Coast
(i.e. Guiana). It seems that these early Dutch settlers acquired
property of the occupied land under article 18 of the Zeeuws
Charter 57), in which it was laid down that they, with the approval
of the Director and the Board could choose as much land as they
were able to cultivate reasonably, and that they could keep it in full
ownership for themselves or for their masters provided they paid
some money. These Dutch settlements, however, were short-lived.
Other attempts made by the British (1630) and the French (1640)
met with the same fate.
WrILovGHBY's 'wilde kolonisatie' (unofficial colonization) with 300
English planters from Barbados marked the beginnings of a permanent
settlement in Surinam (1650). The colony was presented to WILLOUGHBY
and LAURENS HIDE by King CHAMuE II of England 58) as a 'free
tenure', and WILOUGHBY was empowered to give parts of it to
tenants as 'freehold estate'. The Surinam planters who had suddenly

become freeholders of WILLOUGHBY, got discontented and a number
of them wanted "to desert the Collony to some place, where they
might not be Tenants at Will" 5); as a matter of fact, 200 persons
left the colony in 1665 6). It seems that in this period land was made
available free of cost to those colonists who came to Surinam at
their own expense, whereas colonists whose travelling costs were paid
by WILLOUGHBY, had "to hold their land on condition of paying after
the 2 d. yeere a tenth part of the profits there of either in kinde as
it riseth, or at a rate compounded for" "6).
After CRIJNSSEN's victory (1667) Surinam became a possession of
Zeeland. The Dutch presented arable land free of charge to persons
who wanted to settle, and even free of tax for five years; waste lands
were given for nothing. But the owners were under the obligation
to cultivate the land, as was ordained in the grondbrieven (warrants):
"bound to plant and to cultivate the same for Himself' (1669);
"provided to bring the same under Cultivation" (1674); "provided to
have the same cultivated within the period of one Year and six
weeks" (1682 and 1683) "). These provisions reveal an evolution of
the 'cultivation clause' at first there was only the duty to cultivate,
but later on a time limit of one year and six weeks was set. It may
be taken for certain that above measures did contribute to a serious
cultivation of the fertile land, and so helped building Surinam's
economy. This may be gathered from the fact that in 1671 there
were already 60 sugar- and 51 tobacco-plantations in full swing 63).
In 1682 Zeeland sold the colony to the West-Indische Compagnie,
which received a special charter ('octroy') from the Staten-Generaal
(Parliament) with a view to make the colony prosperous. It was
assumed as official policy not to discourage the colonizers by
exacting too much from them, but to treat them with consideration,
and even to give them assistance ('hulpe ende assistentie'), ".. .that
they are completely reassured that they... will not be exacted or
exhausted by tributes..." 6). Zeeland, however, was not able to
keep Surinam alone, and in 1683 she shared her possession with
Amsterdam and with VAN SOMMELSDIJCK; these three partners ('drie
respective Leden') became known as the Geoctroijeerde Societeit van
The land policy of the Society was substantially a continuation
of the policy of the West Indian Company. VAN SOMMELSDIJCK, who
became Governor of Surinam, was directed to pay close attention
"that to no one more Land and soil was distributed and shared out

than one will be able to manage properly and in the interest of the
Colony in general and to bring under useful and fitting cultivation"65).
When making land grants due account was taken of the area which
could be cultivated by the planter, and at the same time the economic
direction of the plantation was mapped out. In this way a proper
utilization of the land and a maximum contribution to economic
expansion were sought to be attained. And since other conditions
were extremely favourable, Surinam became a prosperous country.
When towards the end of the 18th century the economy started
declining, many plantations were abandoned. In view of the existing
unfavourable circumstances the government was compelled to remain
passive in this respect the duty to cultivate the land was no longer
enforced, and from this it was wrongly concluded that the
compulsion to cultivate was no more operative. In the meantime
new ideas had gained momentum, and much criticism was levelled
against the colonial monopoly 6e). These and other factors led to the
liquidation of the Society in 1795. Shortly afterwards, Surinam came
under British rule, but the English continued the same land policy.
During the British interregnum practically no new land grants
occurred, probably as a consequence of the restriction of slave-trade
culminating in its abrogation (1808).
After the British period a new rule of colonial administration was
instituted. In 1820 it was ordained that new land should be allotted
only to those who were capable of cultivating it; and the Governor
had to see to it that no land was made available to impecunious
persons or to speculators, "because it is our earnest will that the
Estates should not come into the hands of speculators, who without
cultivating it, would sell the same again" 67). The minimum purchase-
money, fixed at Sf. 3000 per lot, proved a major handicap to
agricultural expansion, and there were practically no new land grants
between 1825 and 1835. The seriousness of this handicap may be
judged from the official advice submitted by LEERS, Administrator
of Finance, in which he stated "that when it is attempted to promote
Agriculture here and to encourage it in all possible ways, in my
opinion this is difficult to bring into line with the measure followed
so far,... as this, instead of encouraging Agriculture in these days,
rather tends to discourage the same" 6). The payment of purchase-
money, therefore, was abolished in 1835 69).
The land policy after emancipation (1863) shows a definite shift
from plantation-agriculture to population-agriculture, mainly necessit-

ated by the desire to keep the (Asian) immigrants as labourers in
Surinam. The policy of granting small plots of land, however, dates
already from 1842, in which year the acting Governor DE KANTER,
who wanted to encourage the manumitted persons (slaves who were
set free by their masters) to settle as small farmers in the
neighbourhood of Paramaribo, made it possible for them to acquire
such kostgrondies (livelihood-plots') to produce their -means of
subsistence. A number of freed slaves had already settled on such
plots, as is clear from the following statement by TEENSTRA 7o): "On
small gardens and livelihood-plots outside Paramaribo live here and
there black Freemen, who now and then market some bananas,
groundnuts, coconuts, hens, fish, crabs etc. in the town, and barter
salt, tobacco or pipes for them..." According to BOONACKER 71) these
Creoles also produced small quantities of rice for the local market.
The government thought it necessary to develop a class of free
agriculturists, and started promoting the settlement of small-scale
farmers through the regulation of 1842, by which "the laying-out of
Rice- and livelihood-plots, mainly in the surroundings of the town
of Paramaribo, and the breeding of Horned cattle and Sheep is
encouraged by the offering of premiums" T2). From this time onwards
the liberated slaves could acquire, free of cost, small plots of land
in the periphery of the town, and premiums were given to the best
farmers. More facilities were offered in 1845, when "exemption from
import duties (was) given in the case of the import of working-cattle
and of implements" 73). The regulation of 1846 4) covered the entire
country; now lands could be acquired for 3 to 10 years under payment
of a yearly rent of Sf. 10 per hectare (1 ha is about 21 acres).
Freedom from payment of this rent could be obtained under the
regulation of 1855 75).
In 1862 7) the government lotted out the former plantation
Totness in Coronie to grant small plots to Creoles (who had been
liberated by some English planters at the time of abandoning their
estates), and with this the policy of establishing vestigingsplaatsen
(settlement-centres) made its appearance. A further step in this
direction was taken in the decree of 1863, "regulating the conditions,
under which the settling of persons and families- as agriculturists in
the colony of Surinam may take place" 77). Three categories of
interested persons were covered by this regulation European
immigrants (landverhuizers'), (Asian) immigrants after fulfilling their
contracts (wrongly denoted as 'emigranten'), and emancipated slaves.

The interested persons could obtain lands for agricultural purposes,
free of cost, for a period of six years, and if proved deserving after
an experimental period of two years, they could even acquire the
outright ownership of the allotted lands.
Above-mentioned measures show that much pains was taken to
develop the kleine landbouw (population agriculture), especially for
the benefit of the immigrants. After the miserable failure of the
notorious colonization project with Dutch farmers (1845), the govern-
ment thought it wiser to encourage small-scale farming, because
experience had taught that plantation agriculture "was beyond the
reach of immigrants, who had to earn a living through manual
labour" 78). This development naturally meant a serious disadvantage
to plantation-farmling. The planters, therefore, were opposed to the
new policy 79), and the Koloniale Staten (House of Representatives)
gave their consent only after much struggle. The new regulation,
however, failed to attract much interest of the former slaves and the
European immigrants. It was only after the arrival of the first
Hindustani immigrants (1873) that some appreciable use was made
of the possibility opened by the regulation the plantations Nieuw-
Amsterdam and Domburg were parcelled out in 1877 and 1878
respectively s).
Although the Creoles were the first to start with small-scale
farming, yet it may be said without exaggeration that the Hindu-
stanis played the most important role in changing the pattern of
agricultural production in Surinam. The treaty between Great Britain
and the Netherlands (1870), under which emigration from British
India to Surinam took place, provided for granting a plot of land to
the immigrants who wanted to remain in Surinam. The Hindustanis,
who were largely interested in outright ownership of the land, could
in the beginning only obtain land on lease on the settlement-centres,
and had to wait till 1916 before they could realize their dreams.
Table 8 81) shows the development of small holdings in the 19th
In 1894 the government bought the plantation Alkmaar 82) to use
it as a vestigingsplaats for the benefit of the Hindustani immigrants;
and the model-contract was drafted in 189583). The 500 hectares
(about 12.500 acres) of land were divided up into plots of about
1% ha, and the Hindustanis could obtain them, free of rent for ever
and free of personal taxes for six years; and they got a premium of
Sf. 100 when they gave up their claim to free repatriation. After this

Holdings of Immigrants (1881-1891).

Ye Number of Area a Number of Area
Immigrants (in ha) Year Immigrants (in ha)

1881 4 7 1887 8 16
1883 6 14 1889 54 106
1885 32 69 1891 16 31

period the number of settlement-centres increased rapidly, the more
so when Indonesian immigrants began to arrive from 1890 onwards.
- in 1901 there were 1229 holdings on settlements; this figure was
already 3956 in 1908 and 6487 in 1918 84).
In 1916 85) it was stipulated that the immigrants on the settlement-
centres had to pay a land rent of Sf. 6-10 per ha, and those outside
the settlement-areas had to pay Sf. 2 per ha. The latter now could
not only acquire the above-mentioned premium of Sf. 100, but also
a plot of land of 10 ha in outright ownership after an experimental
period of two years 86). Later some changes in the land policy were
effected in 1918, and again in 1937 and 1938 7). Under these
regulations the kleine landbouw, mostly practised by Hindustanis
and Indonesians, could expand undisturbed. That the number of small
holdings increased rapidly, may be illustrated by table 9 s).

Total Number of Holdings (1905-1948).

Year Number of Holdings Year Number of Holdings
1905 8.223 1940 22.852
1920 12.754 1948 19.155
1930 14.832

From the above discussion it must have become clear that the
early land policy of the government cannot be called defective, since
it was calculated to promote agriculture. In the first part of the 19th
century, however, a great degree of shortsightedness was displayed
in instituting the payment of purchase money, which affected the

economy adversely. And in the second half of the 19th century,
compelled by the existing unfavourable conditions of labour and
capital, the government tried to promote small-scale farming. But
this policy failed to make agriculture a lucrative enterprise for both
the Creoles and the Asian immigrants. Surely, we cannot say that
the government policy in this respect was an imaginative one, for the
size of the holdings was too small to be able to provide adequate
means for a reasonable level of living. This policy becomes the more
objectionable, when we take into account that the government did
not modify it even in the late thirties of the 20th century, when most
plantations had been abandoned. We shall have occasion to return
to this question somewhat later s9).

Supply of Labour
A peculiar characteristic of the plantation-colony, as we already
pointed out, was the small number of colonists who cultivated the
land with the help of forced labour. Since the plantation had to
produce staple-goods for foreign markets, a sizable number of persons
who could perform manual labour was required. An important
weakness of the colony has always been its small population, and
since early 19th century shortage of labour has constituted a serious
threat to Surinam's economy. For such an essential factor of
production as labour Surinam was wholly dependent on external
supplies. Therefore, since the days when the settlements in Surinam
had assumed a permanent character, ways and means were looked
after to provide labour for the plantations and to populate the
country. In the course of Surinam's history three methods have been
attempted to accomplish this end colonization, slave-trade and
slavery, and immigration. When dealing with the population-policy
(in the next section) we shall discuss the various attempts at some
length. Here our only concern is to focus attention on the problem
of labour shortage in order to acquire some perspective of the existing
labour situation.
At the time of CmJNssEN's conquest (1667) there were already 178
plantations, probably cultivating sugar-cane. And the output must
have been sizable, judging from the ease with which the contribution
(of 100.000 pounds of sugar) levied by CmjNssEN, was paid. The
British, not being able to swallow the defeat, came back and
plundered the colony, "so that the Dutch shall have little reason to

glory of their purchase" 90). And their appeal to the planters to leave
Surinam together with their slaves, met with success in 1667 about
600 persons left the colony for Barbados, taking also the sugar-mills
along with them 9). This serious drawback necessitated Zeeland to
take measures to populate the country. These proved successful, for
in 1671 there were 111 sugar- and tobacco-plantations in full swing.
In 1677, however, 10 Jew families together with their slaves (322
persons in total) left the colony; and earlier about 1200 Englishmen
(including Jews) had left for Jamaica 9).
The policy of attracting white immigrants to Surinam has been
termed kolonisatie (colonization)), as against the immigratie (im-
migration) of Asians and others (which started in 1853). Colonization
was expected to serve two ends first, it would reinforce the
number of the white population in the colony; and second, it would
make agricultural expansion possible. Therefore, colonization attempts
undertaken by various Europeans (Frenchmen, Germans, Swissmen,
etc.) were encouraged; and in one case the venture was even planned
by the Dutch government. All these attempts, however, fell short of
the expectations, and most of them turned out dismal failures. After
the fiasco of the notorious Saramacca project (1845), there were only
two unimportant attempts by Germans (in 1896 and in 1935) *), and
the idea of colonization was abandoned. Only after the Second
World War another attempt was made to settle Dutch farmers in
Nickerie; but this is a different matter altogether, because this
'Wageningen-project' has been formulated within the framework of
a general development plan.
Colonization, however, was not able to solve the problems of
labour supply, because it was not primarily meant to provide labour
for the plantations. The abundance of fertile land and the shortage
of labour favoured the institution of slavery. A thriving trade in
African slaves provided for cheap labour and made agricultural
expansion possible. The abrogation of slave-trade (1808) meant a
serious blow to Surinam's economy (which was already declining as
a result of certain factors, such as the collapse of the money-market
and the turmoil created by the Napoleonic wars). Clandestine trade
continued to provide slaves, but at higher costs. Increase of the
relative price of one of the input factors resulted in higher costs of
agricultural production; and in view of the low prices of agricultural
*) The ventures of KAPPLER and MONTE CATTINI cannot be called colon-
ization attempts, because there was no intention to settle permanently (Infra p. 63).

products in the world-market, Surinam's economic position had
grown difficult.
With the exception of the Spanish American colonies, abrogation
of slave-trade was accomplished by all colonial powers before 1814,
and this had foreshadowed the extirpation of the inhuman institution
of slavery in the near future. The expectation did not prove wrong -
Britain took the lead in 1834, and other countries followed suit 9).
Uruguay declared slavery unlawful in 1842, and in 1843 the eman-
cipation of the slaves in Argentina took place. Slavery was abrogated
in the French and Danish colonies in 1848, while involuntary servitude
in Peru was prohibited in 1854. In the Netherlands, too, movements
in behalf of the liquidation of slavery began to take shape during
the early forties of the last century, and after heated discussions in
the Parliament, slavery in the Dutch colonies was abolished in 1863.
These developments had created a kind of fear-psychosis among
the Surinam planters. Even before slavery was liquidated an
atmosphere was reigning which was anything but congenial for
agricultural production. It was in these days that the unfortunate
Saramacca colonization-project was launched (1845). The complete
failure of this attempt took away much confidence of the planters
in the agricultural future of Surinam, and they were of opinion that
abolition of slavery would lead the country to its doom. It is obvious
that ways and means had to be sought and found to ameliorate the
rapidly deteriorating state of affairs and to call a halt to the in-
creasing shortage of labour.
It must strike us as queer that, in spite of this disturbing labour
situation, no measures were taken to check the luxurious and wasteful
way of living of the planters, which meant a serious liability to the
country. A large number of slaves had to perform domestic and
other services for their masters, and so were withdrawn from
productive agricultural work. For 1784 BLOM 94) estimated that about
43% of the total slave force was not productive on the plantations
of average size, and 41% on the small plantations! And in 1853
about 37% of the total slave force in the colony was improductive,
as is illustrated by table 10 95).
In view of the prevailing conditions the only way to keep agriculture
alive was to acquire sufficient numbers of labourers from other
countries, and so recourse was taken to immigration. But this method
of labour supply, which involved various difficulties (agreement with
foreign countries, selection and shipment of the immigrants, adequate

I _

Number of Slaves according to Profession (1853).

Profession Men Women Children Total

Field-Slaves .. 6.219 6.944 1.527 14.690
Craft-Slaves .. 2.657 1.163 1.175 4.995
House-Slaves 1.110 1.880 1.495 4.485
Without Profession *) 2.611 3.168 8.596 14.375
Total. 12.597 13.155 12.793 38.545

contracts, etc.) was wholly left to private initiative and could not
elicit much confidence. Many planters were convinced that the
immigration attempts would not lead to an appreciable solution of
the labour problem. And they became firmer in their conviction,
when the bold steps taken by some daring planters to acquire
Portuguese and Chinese immigrants (1853) fell short of the expect-
ations the Portuguese immigration failed altogether, and the
Chinese immigration did not lead to any substantial provision of
Events, however, did not wait, and in 1863 slavery was abolished.
Since it was assumed that the labourers would leave the plantations
after emancipation, a provision was made that the former slaves
would remain under State Supervision for a period of ten years. This
was a wise measure, for it not only prevented a complete collapse
of agriculture, but also furnished some time in which a satisfactory
solution to the problem of immigration could be worked out. We
remind here of the regulation of 1863, which also offered many
attractive facilities to immigrants (Europeans or others). As we
already saw, the offer did not meet with much success in the
beginning. And only now it dawned upon the Dutch government
that immigration under private control alone would never be satis-
factory. So it evinced willingness to bear the responsibility of
acquiring new labourers. But it was only in 1870 that a treaty
between Great Britain and the Netherlands was signed, and in 1872
laws about the execution of the treaty were passed. Now the way
was cleared for a regular supply of labour from British India. The

*) Of these slaves without profession 427 were leprous, and the rest
consisted of old people, diseased persons and young children. But it is highly
probable that the plantation-owners gave higher numbers for this category of

first batch of Hindustani immigrants arrived in June 1873 (followed
by four more batches in the same year), just in time to fill the open
places after the end of the State Supervision period (July 1873). In
this way continuity in the supply of labour was preserved, the
difficulties were partly allayed, and a complete collapse of the
economy was averted.
It is sometimes held that the Dutch government must be blamed
for not having learned the lesson from the British and French
experiences in the matter of labour shortage after emancipation, and
for not having provided for labour in time 96). This charge, however,
is not wholly fair and only partly true. It is true that the Dutch did
not seem to learn from the British and French experiences with
respect to immigration under private control. But it is not true that
the Dutch government did not provide for continuity in the labour
supply. Although prior to the emancipation the Dutch definitely
followed a shortsighted policy of watching with folded arms how
private immigration experiments met with failure, they nevertheless
corrected their reticent attitude just in time, i.e. before the
termination of the State Supervision period.
Great Britain had abolished slavery in 1834, but it was not until
after 17 years of unsuccessful private experiments that the State
intervened and created facilities to promote immigration (1851).
France, obviously benefitting from the British example, assumed in
1852 the responsibility for immigration, only four years after the
liquidation of slavery in her colonies (1848). So these colonies had
to face serious difficulties immediately after emancipation on account
of discontinuity in labour supply. In Surinam, however, no such gap
occurred, and there was continuity in the provision of labour. This
is proved by the following statements 97): "It may be regarded as a
fact that the arrival of the first ship with labourers from British India
before the abrogation of State supervision, has exercised a beneficial
influence on the working-class in Surinam". And again: "Thus it
became possible that almost everywhere agriculture was continued
on the same footing and the transitions of the numerous working-
class to complete freedom took place almost without shocks for large-
scale farming". In this respect, therefore, the Dutch government
should be given the credit it deserves.
From 1873 onwards regular shipments of Hindustanis to Surinam
took place, till in 1916 the last batch arrived and in 1918 the
immigration was discontinued. In the meantime, immigration from

the Netherlands East Indies had been undertaken. The first batch
of Indonesians came in 1890, and from that year regular shipments
arrived, till in 1939 this immigration was also discontinued. Later,
immigration from the islands of the West Indies was attempted,
without much success, however. We shall discuss the immigration
attempts at greater length when dealing with the population-policy.
Here our cursory treatment of the subject must have revealed that
the labour policy of the Dutch government cannot always be called
an imaginative and wise one. Especially in the case of immigration
the laissez faire attitude prevented it from tackling the problem of
labour speedily and efficiently, much to the detriment of Surinam's

Supply of Capital
Since economic development is not possible without capital, it is
necessary to pay some attention to the history of advancing loans
for the expansion of agricultural production in Surinam. This may
be divided into three distinct periods the first period covers the
earliest policy upto 1750; the second period (1751-1773) is
characterized by brisk business, in which loans were advanced
indiscriminately; the third period, beginning with the crash of the
Amsterdam Bourse (1773), is dominated by the phenomenon of
'absenteeism' and its aftermath, and may be said to have lasted till
the outbreak of the Second World War.
It is not exactly known, how the plantations were being financed
during the early period, but it seems that not insignificant amounts
of money were somehow furnished for the upkeep and cultivation
of the plantations. Especially the Jews were in possession of
considerable wealth, which, together with their superior agricultural
knowledge, they used for the development of the country. We know
that in the second half of the 17th century Surinam's economy was
thriving and that many profits were being made by the planters.
Early 18th century it was stated that the plantation-owners were
able to push on with the cultivations and derived much wealth from
their estates: "For the land which is distributed to the Planters
without their paying something for it, not only returns the Capital
for planting of the same, but within few years also yields very
considerable amounts of profit, of which there are enough living
examples of People who did not have much themselves, (and) had

to lay out and start everything mainly with the helpful Credit
that the 'Edele Maatschappij' grants to the new Planters; how within
few years they have got out of the imposed debts and possess a
fairly wealthy state" 98).
From this statement it appears that loans were being advanced
by the 'Edele Maatschappij', which was another name for the
Geoctroijeerde Societeit van Suriname 99). But it seems that the policy
of the Society was largely confined to money advances to the large
plantations, and that the small estates which were not very
remunerative, received small loans from some merchants in the
Netherlands. This is illustrated by the following passage100): "But
those who wholly without fortune of their own with small credit from
particular merchants and but few Pennies want to lay out a Plantation
have to work for long years to bring the same in state".
It is necessary to bear in mind that investments in the plantations
were largely made by the Dutch, who were mostly possessed by the
animus revertendi. Their desire to return to their home-country after
having acquired a fortune was not only strong, but was actually put
into practice. This ambition led many planters to expand their
agricultural activities often with borrowed capital. Since around the
middle of the 18th century Surinam had become a wealthy country,
much confidence was created in the minds of the money-lenders in
the Netherlands, who started advancing considerable loans to planters
in Surinam. This liberal policy of negotiatie101) marked the beginning
of a new period in the economic history of Surinam, which was to
end in a serious deterioration of agriculture, of which the country
could never fully recover.
Since prices of agricultural products (especially coffee) in the
world-market were favourable and attacks by the Maroons were
minimized in intensity, Surinam experienced a boom in her economy
(for the period from 1745-1770 the average export to the Nether-
lands amounted to not less than Sf. 10 million) 10). Surinam's good
name led Dutch trading-companies to advance large sums of money
to the planters. This liberal policy was initiated by DErrz, a famous
Amsterdam trader and banker, who in 1751 advanced Sf. 1.000.000
to Surinam planters 103). He introduced a system of granting loans
to the extent of five-eighths of the total estimated value of the
plantations under a number of conditions, of which the following
were the most important the interest on capital amounted to 6 %,
the money had to be repaid within 20 years (the repayments must

be made in the second decade, amounting to 10 % of the total debt
per annum), and the planters were compelled to send their produce
to DEmTZ, who first subtracted the interest and then took commission
for himself amounting to 2% of the proceeds 104). In 1757 the central
charge of the money-agency in Amsterdam was taken over by
MA~SEUS, who continued the liberal policy.
The central money-lending machinery in Amsterdam, however,
followed a shortsighted policy, which spelt disaster for Surinam's
agriculture, because serious mistakes were committed. Firstly, money
was advanced without much discrimination, so that all kinds of
adventurers could realize their desire of becoming planters and earn
much money in this way. Secondly, large amounts were granted
without sufficient knowledge of the value of the plantations. And
thirdly, after finalizing the transactions the agency did not care much
about the use of its capital, so that the borrowers could squander the
money to their hearts' content lo5). From the financial point of view
the negotiate policy was a case of over-investment in the plantations,
leading to unwholesome developments in the Amsterdam money-
market 106).
In 1758 a great stir was created by the circulation of a pamphlet,
which stated that the planters owed huge debts to the money-lending
agency. Though this statement was called "erronneus, valsch en ge-
supposeert" (erroneous, false and supposed), it nevertheless weakened
confidence in Surinam. At the same time rumours were being spread
by interested persons that Surinam's agriculture was doomed because
of severe attacks by the Maroons. It seems that these false rumours
were effective the prophecy of collapse led to its own fulfilment
('self-fulfilling prophecy')o'7), and in 1763 the money-market broke
down reducing many speculators to poverty. No need to say that
belief in the creditworthiness of the colony was considerably shaken.
In the meantime MABSEUS had received reports of trickery in the
valuation of plantations. In 1764, therefore, it was decided "to tighten
up the instruction of the valuers and especially to enforce the
provision that the Court would verify each valuation, of which
decision the Directors of the Society were informed, with the request
to support to the best of their ability the tottering credit of the
colony" 10).
But the manipulations had already caused much harm; they had
created a bad name in the Netherlands, and the money-lenders shrank
from granting loans to planters in Surinam. Largely through the

untiring efforts of BoCK (who had resided in Surinam for 32 years),
this reticent attitude was overcome, and the trading-agency of VAN
DE POLL was persuaded to advance Sf. 1.000.000 (at the rate of 6%)'
for the benefit of the Surinam planters 109). Soon the difficulties were
forgotten and in the late sixties talks of granting loans were going on
everywhere in Surinam. As the authors of Historische Proeve 110)
remarked: "It was as if the golden age were opened up for the
colony again; the disasters of the previous war, the adversities, even
the hostilities of the Maroons, everything was, in a word, forgotten,
and the colonists, drunk with imagined prosperity, reckoned them-
selves already the most fortunate of whole America".
These feverish activities, however, were not destined to last long.
The planters in Surinam were blinded by the vision of great wealth
dangling before their eyes, and no thoughts were bestowed on the
lack of soundness of the money dealings. The situation was so
unnatural that even penniless shoemakers and butchers could obtain
loans and become planters: "Then every man, Christian, Jew, artisan,
nay, even shoemakers who had no penny in the world to buy the
necessary leather for his trade, wanted to become planter; and
mister agent made with one single stroke of the pen farmers and
planters much faster than in former times Pyrrha could make men
by throwing stones; so that one heard of nothing else but of buying
and selling, and shoemakers, rakes, butchers and similar sorts of
people turned bigwigs" 111).
The policy of negotiate ended with the crash of the Amsterdam
Bourse (1773). This meant a severe blow to the welfare of the colony,
and the death-bell was sounded for a considerable number of
plantations. The planters were compelled to do away with their
estates, which automatically went into the hands of the Amsterdam
creditors the period of 'absenteeism' had begun. As WOLBERS 112)
wrote in 1861: "The reahn of the Surinam planters was wearing away
quickly, that of the Administrators, which continues even to-day,
began". In 1780 the number of absentee-owners was 350 out of a
total number of 452 plantations 13), and in 1800 most of the plantation-
owners were living outside Surinam 114).
Although there were also some other unfavorable factors during
the seventies and eighties of the 18th century (such as the bad harvest
of 1770, the severe Maroon attacks in 1771, the low prices in the
world market mainly due to the turbulent international situation),
yet we may regard the financial crisis of 1773 as the first effective

blow to Surinam's economy. A good picture of the miserable economic
condition, into which Surinam was plunged immediately after the
crash, may be obtained from the Official Reports of the sessions of
the Hof van Policie (Court of Politics) 11). And in 1776 Governor
NEPVEU could write: "Nowadays such a great poverty is prevalent
here that many whites of whom one would not think so, have to
pinch with a dry banana" 116).
After this financial debdcle a strict procedure was followed, and
loans were advanced on a limited and sound basis. The declining
tendency, however, could not be checked. A reorganization of the
administration of the colony did not bring much relief either. In 1792
the West-Indische Compagnie was liquidated, because it had so many
debts that it was not able "to pay even the interests of its contracted
debts, so that the Company itself had become totally discredited".
And in 1795 the Geoctroijeerde Societeit van Suriname was also
dissolved on the ground that a threefold administration meant "a
great disadvantage to the colonies and a considerable burden to the
expenses" 117). Henceforth the administration of Surinam was exercised
by a 'Committe tot de zaken van colonian en bezittingen op de kust
van Guinea en in America' 1s).
Special mention must be made of the problem of absenteeism, the
impact of which extended over a very long period. In 1842 LAN 119)
wrote that most plantations belonged to "anonymous societies, or
through intestacy had become the property of a number of partners".
And in 1854 VAN SYPESTEYN120) stated: "A number of proprietors,
especially of the large and interest-bearing plantations in Surinam,
are residing in the Netherlands, while their interests in the colony are
looked after by administrators". The magnitude of this phenomenon
may be gathered from table 11121).

Number of Absentee Plantation-Owners (1813-1861).

Total Number of Plantations owned by Absentees
Plantations Number Percentage

1813 369 297 81%
1824 340 268 79%
1835 267 195 72%
1861 142 89 63%

From this table it appears that although the number of absentee-
owners was declining, yet the majority of the plantations belonged to
that category. Moreover, their plantations were much larger than
those of the local owners in 1861 the 89 absentee-owned plantations
had 16.700 slaves as labourers, whereas this number was only 7.700
on the 53 plantations of Surinam owners 12). We may safely assume
that absenteeism contributed a good deal to the decline of Surinam's
economy 123). The absentee-owned plantations were run by admini-
strateuren, and sometimes only one person was charged with the
management of 50 or 60 plantations 24). These administrators were
bent on earning much money and on leading a luxurious life; they
did not care much for the welfare of the plantations, and they
frequently cheated their employers 12). The multitude of absentee
shareholders also proved a serious drag on the renewal of production
techniques in the first half of the 19th century 12).
A peculiar feature of Surinam's history is that credit facilities
offered by banks have not played a significant part in the promotion
of agriculture. In 1829 the Particuliere West-Indische Bank was
created, which was the first bank to aim at granting credits to
Surinam farmers; but before the bank was able to embark upon its
scheme, it collapsed in 1831. Only in 1865 the Surinaamsche Bank
was established, which was primarily a bank of issue and a central
bank; it provided, however, credit facilities for trade and commerce,
but dit not pay much attention to agriculture, and the advanced
credits have been negligeable on 31 December 1939 the total
amount due to farmers was only Sf. 83.000. In 1903 the Koloniale
Postspaarbank was instituted, which has been granting credit to
small farmers under the mortgage-system; but the amounts advanced
have been insignificant in relation to the existing needs. In 1918 the
West-Indische Cultuurbank was established, which explicitly aimed
at promotion of agriculture; but owing to the foolish policy of
advancing credits rather indiscriminately this institution failed to
contribute much to economic progress "').
With the abolition of slavery and the arrival of Asian immigrants
the foundations of a healthy social order were laid 28). This led to a
special development, viz. to a kind of financial independence for
the first time local capital was available to finance agriculture. The
total amount of money in the colony was increased by about Sf. 10
million (owing to the compensations received by the slave-owners for
the liberation of about 33.000 slaves). The emancipists and the

immigrants (who were receiving wages) had created a sizable class
of buyers, so that the merchants who were leading a languishing
existence, could thrive now. These businessmen started advancing
loans to planters who were in need of financial help. The conditions,
however, were not very conducive to agricultural progress, for the
planters had to dispatch all their agricultural products to their credit-
ors, who bought these commodities at prices fixed by themselves 19).
This new development of relative independence was the result of
a changed economic relationship between the Netherlands and
Surinam. So far practically all credit had come from the mother-
country. Due to the decline of agriculture private capital withdrew
from Surinam and focused its attention on the Netherlands East
Indies, which provided the extensive market needed for the rapid
industrial expansion 130). And the Dutch government, possessed as it
was by the spirit of laissez faire, did not attempt any deliberate
investments to ameliorate the steadily worsening condition of Surinam.
Now that the colony was deprived of attention from the mother
country, it had to find a way-out and drifted towards a state of a
poor kind of 'self-sufficiency'. Economic decline could not be checked,
and Surinam's disease acquired a chronic character with the stagnat-
ion of her economy.
After emancipation a new Regeringsreglement was proclaimed in
1865, in which Surinam was given a small degree of autonomy, not
only in political affairs (by the institution of a House of
Representatives, the Koloniale Staten), but also in matters of public
finance: "Autonomy would be an idle sound without say about own
finances", was the opinion of Minister FRANSSEN VAN DE PUTITE131).
But at that time the country was in a deplorable state, as must have
become clear from the foregoing analysis. We already saw 132) that
the Surinam government could not make much of this financial
autonomy, so that assistance from the mother-country became in-
The Dutch government, however, lacked the initiative and the
boldness to take measures calculated to overcome the stagnation of
the colony. Its contribution to the solution of the economic problems
consisted only in granting yearly subsidies to balance the Surinam
budget. And this unhealthy state of affairs continued till the Second
World War, after which there came an end to the allocation of annual
subsidies, as SEDNEY 13) remarks, "not because of improved economic
conditions in Surinam, but only because nobody wanted to accept

any longer the humiliating political consequences of the prewar
The earliest Europeans to come to Guiana were no colonists
wanting to settle there, but they were adventurers chasing after the
gold of El Dorado. The oldest plan for colonization was from
USSELINX, who in the years between 1595 and 1600 introduced a
remonstrancee for the sake of the populating of the coast of Guiana"
in the Dutch Parliament; but his plan was never executed. In the
meantime the Dutch had settled on the 'Wilde Custe van Suid
America', and in the beginning of the 17th century there were many
'factorijen' (trading-centres) in what is now Surinam 34). In the
twenties of the same century Zeeland was giving serious thought to
colonization 35). This led to two attempts (in 1626 by PP&VOST and
VAN RIJEN to Cayenne and in 1627 by VAN PERE), which were both
unsuccessful. We already noted that before 1650 there seem to have
been 14 attempts to colonize the Wild Coast.
The first successful attempt was the unofficial colonization by
WILLOUGHBY with 300 planters from Barbados (1650), which laid the
foundation of Surinam's economy. From now on the population of
the country acquired a more or less permanent character, but its
size was insignificant. And the colony received a serious blow when
after CRIJNSSEN's conquest (1667) many Englishmen with their slaves
left for Barbados and Jamaica. The government of Zeeland, therefore,
took much pains to populate the country ('peupleeren') and offered
many facilities to colonists. Their liberal land policy seemed to have
met with success judging from the fact that in 1671 there were already
111 plantations under cultivation.
An increase in the white population of Surinam was considered
essential for the welfare and the stability of the colony, and there-
fore, time and again facilities were offered by the Dutch govern-
ment to attract European settlers. All these attempts turned out as
many failures, mainly because the ventures were undertaken in a
haphazard fashion and planning was either defective or wholly
lacking. To substantiate this point we shall now discuss the various
colonization attempts at some length. Before dealing with colonization
in that part of Guiana which is now Surinam, we want to discuss
succinctly an important attempt in Cayenne.

In an optimistic mood the Dutch government decided to attempt
a colonization under PRICE, a preacher from The Hague, in Cayenne
(1676), "to open new trading-towns, to extend the territory of the
state and to provide a means of subsistence to poor and beggarly in-
habitants" 13). The first 38 colonists, for whom an amount of
Nf. 100.000 was earmarked, were very enthusiastic about the new
country. So PmRCE asked for more men, and a second batch was sent
(for these colonists a sum of Nf. 350.000 was provided). Soon after
their arrival quarrels broke out; the French made avail of this
opportunity to recapture the colony and to transport the colonists to
Martinique. In this way the venture, which had cost tons of money,
failed completely. Easily to understand that the Dutch government
refrained from sponsoring colonization projects for a long time to
Governor VAN SOMMELSDIJCK (1683-1688) was untiring in his efforts
to attract European colonists to Surinam. As a consequence of his
encouragement a number of Frenchmen settled in the country; and
even to-day many French names of plantations remind us of
them 37). It was also during his rule that a colonization attempt was
made by the 'Labadists', a religious sect, to which three sisters of the
Governor belonged. Together with VAN SOMMELSDIJCK a delegation
of the sect had arrived in Surinam (1683) to explore the possibilities
of a settlement In spite of the difference of opinion as to the
advisability of colonization, a sizable number of settlers arrived under
ROBIJN. VAN SOMMELSDIJCK offered many facilities, but contrary to
his advice they settled far from Paramaribo at a site which they
named 'La Providence'. This was a serious mistake, because the
colonists were now exposed to attacks by the Amer-Indians and
Maroons and to mortal diseases. When the second batch arrived
they found "instead of an Eden, as they had imagined, a hospital" 13S).
Some colonists returned to their country, others left for North America,
and within a few years the settlement was abandoned 139).
After the fiasco of the Cayenne and La Providence projects there
were no pew attempts for about half a century. It was only in 1727
when the Societeit decided to appoint a committee for contriving
means to encourage the settling of Europeans in Surinam. The
possibility of German colonization was proposed by PmHuP HACK,
and Governor DE CHEUSEs was of opinion that the project would have
the most chance of success when small coffee-plantations were
established in the interior. In 1733 some 16 Germans arrived in

Surinam, in 1734 followed by 4 other families. The colonization proper
began in 1739, when not less than 19 families (96 persons) came to
Surinam, causing much embarrassment to Governor VAN DEN SCHEPPER,
who had not been notified of their arrival. The colonists were sent to
the Boven-Cottica; within a few months, however, the lazy drunkards
returned to Paramaribo and the settlement was abandoned 14).
Around this time the attacks by the Maroons had increased in
intensity, and the need was felt to establish settlements of Europeans
in the interior of the country as a cordon of defence against them,
especially in behalf of the newly created Mineraal Compagnie, which
also needed men for further exploration of the country. MAURICIUS,
who was appointed Governor of Surinam in 1742, was directed to
make a study of the possibilities of such a project. After some
hesitation he submitted his report in 1745, advising to create a settle-
ment deep in the interior "boven den blaauwen berg" (beyond the
blue mountain, now Berg-en-Dal). His recommendations resulted in
the arrival of two groups of colonists Paltzers and Swissmen. When
the Paltzers arrived (1747) no preparations for their settling had been
made. They were provisionally accomodated on the plantations, where
they stayed for about half a year causing some trouble to their
hosts; thereafter they were sent to the Boven-Suriname. MAURICIUS
complained about the poor quality of the Paltzers who were no
farmers at all. When giving his advice he had thought of "straight
farmers who on account of the death of the beasts had been reduced
to poverty", and he asked to send better men in future 41).
In the meantime a colonization-scheme of Louis BussY had been
approved by the Directors of the Society. In 1748 two ships (with
82 Swissmen) arrived in Surinam, and the colonists were settled on the
Para river. As they were industrious farmers the venture seemed
promising. But their untidiness favoured the outbreak of diseases,
and they kept quarrelling among themselves, with their leaders and
with the Governor x'). Within a couple of years most of the colonists
had fled from the settlement, which in 1753 was taken by surprise
and looted by the Maroons. The wretched colonists were transported
to some other part of the country, and in 1754 a military colony was
established at the Oranjepad (Pad van Rama) under the leadership
of VON BiiLow. This 'desperate post' meant a sure cemetery for
soldiers, peasants and slaves, and it was abandoned in 1755143).
Even our cursory discussion of the above colonization attempts
reveals the fact that all these ventures mainly failed because of lack

of adequate planning, and a truly amazing degree of indifference.
and stupidity did the rest. In all the cases almost the same mistakes
were committed first, the choice of the sites was wrong, as they
were situated far from Paramaribo exposed to diseases and Maroon
attacks; second, there was practically no selection, so that the quality
of the settlers was mostly bad; third, leadership was either poor or
lacking, so that the initial preparations were mostly insufficient and
the settlement could not last for a long time. 44).
For about a century no new ventures were undertaken. But when
around the middle of the 19th century the economic situation had
become desperate, mainly because after the abolition of slavery in the
British colonies (1834) a kind of fear-psychosis had caught hold of
the planters which paralysed the country's economy, the Dutch
government was compelled to give up its attitude of indifference. In
order to make head against the mounting problems, a plan for
colonization was formulated in 1843145). This was a very laudable
endeavour, but the incomprehensible fact is that in the case of this
Saramacca-project almost the same mistakes were perpetrated again!
Needless to say that the whole venture ended in a dismal failure,
taking away much confidence in the economic future of Surinam.
The Dutch government took up the financing of the colonization
project and three clergymen, VAN DEN BRANDHOF, BETIMNG and COPIJN,
were put in charge of it. Accompanied by three 'landbouwers'
(farmers) BETriNG left for Surinam in May 1843. They were much
disappointed by the sight of a tropical country and stated that ex-
ploitation of it would present unsurmountable obstacles. Soon two of
the farmers returned to the Netherlands and 'BETTING expressed his
inability to accept the responsibility of the project. A special
committee was appointed by the Governor-General to examine the
impediments, and after some study it strongly recommended to
continue the scheme. BETI NG was asked to hurry up, and he advised
the purchase of the deserted plantation Voorzorg in the Saramacca-
district. Considerations of fertility had impelled him to deviate from
the tentatively formulated plan to settle in the vicinity of Groningen.
Another deviation from the original scheme was that, contrary to
the initial arrangement, BRANDHOF and COPIJN on their own insistence
accompanied the expedition of the first 50 families (370 persons),
who arrived in Surinam in June 1845. There they encountered many
difficulties the trip to Voorzorg was dreadful (due to neglect of
transport facilities) and on the site the indispensable necessaries had

still to be provided (only 13 of the 31 dwellings to be constructed
were ready, so that many colonists had to live for some time in small
dungeon-like rooms in a deserted barrack). Soon a contagious disease
exacted a heavy toll from them within a few months the colony
was almost halved (189 persons died, among whom D. CoPIJN). The
remaining colonists were transported across the river to Groningen
where they settled. Their leader BRANDHOF, however, was not capable
of making the colony flourish, so that after expiry of their contract
the colonists migrated to Rama or to Paramaribo. The government,
therefore, decided to discontinue financial support from 31 December
1852. This decision meant the death of the settlement, which was
abandoned in 1853146).
The colonists, who from 1849 onwards had migrated from Gro-
ningen, had settled in the vicinity of Paramaribo. Their numbers
were reinforced by a new batch of 50 families, who followed the
advice of Governor VAN RADERs and also settled near the capital.
According to A. CoPIJN 147) there were 73 colonists around Paramaribo
on 1 May 1855, whereas 75 colonists had settled elsewhere in Surinam.
Owing to their perseverance these colonists attained some degree of
well-being, and their descendants nowadays belong to the class of
well-to-do farmers in Surinam; they are also found in other professions
as well.
Although the colonization plan was not ill-considered, the project
nevertheless failed because an extreme degree of carelessness and
stupidity was displayed in its execution. Nothing was learned from
the previous failures, and the same blunders were committed again.
First, the selection of Voorzorg (which, ironically,means 'Precaution'!)
was wholly wrong, especially from the point of view of health.
Second, the necessary preparations in Surinam were not performed
in an adequate manner. Third, leadership was poor since none of the
clergymen had any experience of such a task. Fourth, the selection
of the colonists was defective many of them were not suited for
labour in the tropics (they were not examined medically), team-spirit
and solidarity were lacking (they hailed from 25 different municipal-
ities!), their age-composition was unfavourable ,(only 27% of the
colonists were between 18 and 35 years, more than 60 % of the family-
heads were too old, and about 54% consisted of children), and their
quality as farmers was poor (only 55% of the grown-ups were more
or less acquainted with agriculture, but the majority of them were
not accustomed to independent farming) 148).

After the failure of this project, only a few unimportant private
attempts were made. In 1853 four Germans (DUTT~HOFER, NOACK,
SCHUNK and VoLTz) came to Surinam to examine the possibilities of
colonization; but the abandonment of the Groningen settlement
convinced them of the hopelessness of such an undertaking, and the
scheme never materialized 149). In the same year KAPPLEu made an
attempt with Wurtemberger woodcutters. But this was not a true
colonization, as it was not intended to be a permanent settlement.
When diseases broke out and timber-trade did not prove remunerative,
the venture was given up in 1856 1"). For the same reason the attempt
by MoNTE CATrm, who was also trying to carry on a timber-trade
but left the country after seven years'51), cannot be called a true
colonization. The only real though unimportant colonization attempts
were made by small groups of Germans in 1896 and again in 1935.
Against all advice, in both cases they settled near Berg-en-Dal and
had to abandon it, owing to the outbreak of diseases, to which they
fell a ready victim because of their curious ideas about medicine 152).
The debdole of the Saramacca-project had led to the conviction
that no European colonization attempt would ever be successful. Yet
Surinam was in crying need of a larger population; hence recourse
was taken to immigration. The Saramacca-project was the first and
the last venture of this kind to be attempted by the Netherlands. It
was only after the Second World War that a new colonization plan,
the Wageningen project, was initiated. But this is a different story,
because it was formulated within the context of a general development

Slave-Trade and Slavery
Soon after the Europeans had settled in the newly discovered
regions of America, it became clear that they needed a sizable
number of persons who were able to perform manual labour in the
tropics. We earlier pointed out that these regions fulfilled the
necessary conditions demanded by NIEBOER'S law, so that slavery
emerged 1'). The attempts with Amer-Indians ('red slaves') failed, as
did also the experiments with Europeans under contract ('poor
whites'); very successful, however, proved the attempts with Negroes
('black slaves'). Transport of slaves from North Africa to Spain was
in vogue already in the Middle Ages; in 1502 the Spaniards began to
transfer these slaves from Spain to their possessions in America. 'Red

slaves', however, continued to be used on the plantations till around
the middle of the 18th century 114), but after that the trade in 'black
slaves' had become all-important.
Slave-trade began to thrive after the creation of the West-Indische
Compagnie (1621), which obtained trade monopoly on the west coast
of Africa (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Cape of Good Hope)
and America (save for a small part in the north). Under the charter
of 1682 the company was bound to provide the required number of
slaves, who were to be sold in public markets: "That because the said
Colony cannot be continued otherwise than by means of black Slaves
or Negroes, and that no one except the said Company in these Lands
is entitled to fetch some Slaves from the Coast of Africa, where alone
it is traded in them, therefore the said Company shall supply yearly
such a number of Slaves as may be required there" 15). It seems that
America has received about 10 million slaves, of which about 380.000
came to Surinam 15).
In those days slavery and slave-trade were only regarded from the
economic and not from the human point of view, because slaves had
no legal personality. The Negroes themselves were accustomed to
slavery, which was a very old institution in Africa. No wonder that
slave-trade was considered a respectable occupation. GALLANDAT 15)
estimated that in 1767/1768 not less than 36 slaveshios left the Dutch
ports (especially Flushing), which purchased 350 slaves on an average;
they allowed for a loss of 25-30 % of lives, and even then the profit
was never less than 50 % and often about 150-200%! This prosperous
trade provided the cheap labour to the new colonies. In Surinam the
slaves worked in the town or on the plantations as house- or craft-
slaves (for various domestic and other services) and as field-slaves
(for agricultural work). As a rule, the town-slaves were not treated
badly, but the plantation-slaves had a very hard lot as).
The population of the country consisted mainly of two distinct
groups masters and slaves. The masters were not only the owners
of the slaves with a right to sell them whenever they liked, but they
had also 'huiselijke jurisdictie' over them x19). This domestic juris-
diction was restricted very early in Surinam's history in 1686160)
Governor VAN SOMMELSDIJCK demanded a human treatment of the
slaves and prohibited mutilation and death-penalty. Successive
proclamations in the first half of the 18th century 16) imposed further
restrictions on the slave-owners. In 1761162) the use of sticks to mete
out punishment was forbidden, and only whips "na 's Lands

costume" (as was customary in the country) were permitted. Already
in 1694 the slaves were exempted from labour on Sundays, but this
ordinance was often not obeyed by the masters, so that it had to be
published again and again (in 1736, 1771 and 1783) x3). The separate
sale of mothers and children was prohibited in 1782.114), but the
notification had to be published again in 1828 1). A comprehensive
proclamation was made by Governor MATRoos in 17841'"), to which
'ampliatie' (amplification) was given in 1799167). Article 17 demanded
as the "principaalste zorg" chiefestt care) the regular supply of
sufficient food to the slaves "being the soul of the plantation". But
it seems that these regulations were not always observed, so that in
1817 16) it was necessary to remind the "Owners, Planters, Ad-
ministrators, Directors and further Servants, who could be employed
on the same"- of the existing ordinances and to threaten them with
heavy fines.
A healthy population-policy was proposed by Governor WICHERS
(1784-1790), who was dissatisfied with the two methods which were
applied to solve the population problem (viz. the import of slaves
and the recruitment of white colonists), and who wanted to create a
middle class of coloured people. He, therefore, suggested to set free
"ipso jure with their foetus" all female slaves who were pregnant
by their white masters, and to provide facilities for legitimation of
the marriages between the 'couleurlingen' (coloured people). Apart
from the many obvious advantages, this policy would also lead to
an increase of the number of inhabitans, the "Basic sinew of
prosperity" 16). Though these suggestions were not carried out, they
nevertheless had a profound influence on the human relations, as is
proved by the fact that between 1780 and 1790 the number of
manumissionss' (liberation of slaves) increased considerably. We
earlier remarked that in the first half of the 19th century many of
these manumitted persons had settled on small plots of land in the
vicinity of Paramaribo, where they could eke out only a bare
existence 1T). But gradually religious and educational facilities were
also extended to the liberated slaves in 1809 one of them, JOHANNES
VROUJK, returned to Surinam from his studies in the Netherlands,
and established a school of his own 171).
In the meantime the trade in slaves was being denounced in ever
stronger terms. In 1789 Danish subjects were forbidden to trade in
slaves with effect from 1 January 1803; in 1800 the United States
prohibited their citizens to carry slaves to foreign countries and in

1807 slave-trade within that country was declared illegal. In the same
year GRANVZLI's Bill was enacted after 1 March 1808 no slave
could be landed on British territory. This law was equally valid for
Surinam, who at that time was under British rule 12). When after
cessation of the Napoleonic Wars Surinam was restored to the Nether-
lands at the London Convention (1814) the British resolution on the
slave-trade was ratified by King WILLIAM 173).
The abrogation of slave-trade, which was fiercely opposed by the
planters and by others174), has exercised an adverse influence on
Surinam's economy. It marked the beginning of the pernicious problem
of labour shortage, which remains a serious handicap even to-day.
This is not to say that after 1808 there were no more imports of slaves
into Surinam. Clandestine trade was commonly practised, and it was
very difficult to keep effective watch over the long and densely
wooded coastal territory. Estimations reveal that in the period
between 1813 and 1823 not less than 1000 slaves were smuggled into
Surinam every year 17). It was only in 1826, when an improved
method of registration of slaves was introduced that an end was put
to this evasive business. Though the clandestine trade kept the
plantations alive, it resulted in a considerable rise in the cost of
production, so that Surinam could not command a strong bargaining
power in the world market, where the prices of agricultural com-
modities were rather low 176).
After the liquidation of slave-trade a serious problem of labour
shortage could arise, because the reproduction rate among the slaves
was negative, so that the total slave force was declining instead of
increasing. Starting from the estimation that on an average the
annual supply of slaves to Surinam was about 1500 from 1650 to
1682 77), about 2500 from 1682 to 1808178) and about 1000 from
1808-1826, we arrive at a total figure of about 380.000 slaves who
came to Surinam 79). Yet at the time of emancipation (1863) there
were only about 33.000 slaves! 180) STEDMA 11) writes that the
number of slaves imported annually was more or less equal to the
number by which they were decreasing every year (about 5% of the
total force), and he calculated that the whole slave population (of
about 50.000) would be extinguished in about 20 years, if no additional
slaves were imported.
A number of factors must be held responsible for the negative rate
of natural growth of the slaves. The first unfavourable factor was
the horrible treatment of the slaves during the 'middle passage' (i.e.

the transport from Africa to the New World), which had an adverse
influence on their health (about 10-20% died during the voyage)182),
so that at their arrival in the colony their physical condition was
not very good. In Surinam they had a hard life they were poorly
housed183), they had to perform heavy physical labour without
sufficient leisure (about 10-17 hours a day, often on Sundays also) 184),
their nourishment was insufficient and unsuitable 18), there was lack
of medical care 186), and they were frequently punished corporally
(the Surinam planters were notorious for their cruelty)187). No
wonder that many slaves fled to the forests; this not only meant a
weakening of the labour force, but had other negative effects on the
economy as well.
The abrogation of slave-trade and the rumours of an eventual
abolition of slavery led to a considerable improvement in the un-
happy situation. And the government, seeing that interference was
necessary, began to take more interest in the welfare of the slaves.
In 1851188) a decree was published, containing an extensive list
of regulations with regard to labour, housing, nourishment, discipline
of the slaves (e.g. only 10 hours of labour per day were allowed). A
new decree in 1853189) compelled the masters to provide their slaves
with proper clothing and food. The 'social legislation' became more
effective, when in 1856190) the Governor was empowered to raise the
food-rations fixed in the earlier decree, and severe punishment could
be inflicted on the owners for exacting heavy labour from their
The above-mentioned measures resulted in a marked amelioration
of the general condition of the slaves, which had a favourable effect
on the reproduction rate. In 1828 the percentage by which the slaves
were decreasing yearly had already dropped down from 5% to
about 3% 191), in 1842 this figure was about 2% 192); between 1844
and 1854 the average annual decrease was only % %, and in the period
from 1848-1863 there were even four years with a slight increase in
the natural growth of the slave population 193). But in spite of these
improvements the total labour force was diminishing gradually, and
even during the period of State Supervision there was often an excess
of deaths over births 194). This abnormal situation was mainly caused
by the preponderance of male slaves on the plantations, the lack of
proper care of pregnant women (resulting in frequent miscarriages),
and ignorance of infant care (resulting in a high child mortality) 95).
After emancipation the general health situation started improving

considerably 196), but even then it was not very satisfactory, as is
shown by LAPE's study 197).
In the meantime slavery had been abolished in the British and
French colonies (in 1834 and 1848 respectively); and in 1842 the
'Nederlandsche Maatschappij ter Bevordering van de Afschaffing
der Slavernij' was established in The Hague, demanding the liquid-
ation of slavery in the Dutch colonies 198). To study this question a
State Commission was appointed in 1853199), which submitted two
reports the first relating to Surinam (1855), and the second relating
to Curagao and the coast of Guinea (1856). Between 1856 and 1862
five bills regarding the abolition of slavery were rejected by the
Dutch Parliament, but the sixth bill was accepted in 1862 with
47 votes in favour and 11 against 2oo).
This Emancipation Act decreed that all slaves should be free from
1 July 1863. For every freed slave the owners were to receive a
compensation of Sf. 300; the emanicipated slaves, however, were to
be placed under State Supervision for ten years. The institution of
the State Supervision period was a wise measure, because in this way
immediate and disastrous effects on the economy were averted and
continuity in the supply of labour could be preserved (before the end
of this period the first batch of Hindustani immigrants arrived in
Surinam on 5 June 1873). But the provision in the Act to keep the
freed slaves as wage workers on the plantations for a decade or
more contained a number of flaws, which affected the economy
adversely. Here we propose to discuss succinctly three of these
shortcomings, which all favoured urbanism and subsistence economy,
thus resulting in a decrease of production and in further deterioration.
In a special publication which regulated the rights and duties of
the freed slaves, a period of three months was allowed for entering
into an agreement with planters of their own choice. This provision
overlooked an obvious psychological fact. It was natural that the
slaves wanted complete freedom and resisted any restriction; in some
places it came to open revolt, but fortunately Governor VAN LANSBERGE
could appease the rebels and thus prevent further difficulties. To
escape the memory of the unhappy past the emancipists left their
previous masters, with as result a mass trek from one plantation to
another. And it was mainly the younger generation, the cream of
the labour force, which was on the march. This to-and-fro-trek had
a special tendency to drift towards Paramaribo urbanism in
Surinam had begun 20).

A second defect of the qualifying clause of the Emancipation Act
was that the house- and craft-slaves were not compelled to take up
employment on the plantations. This section of the liberated
persons joined the trek to the town. Many settled in or around Para-
maribo and started peddling or became very modest traders ").
The planters being deprived of the services rendered by these people,
were obliged to employ a number of the former field-slaves to
perform the services so far carried out by the freed artisans and
domestic servants. In this way a sizable part of the already limited
labour force was withdrawn from productive agricultural work.
A third lapse in the Act was that it had not compelled the liberated
slaves to enter into contracts only with owners of plantations of
some significance. So it was possible that many agreements were
contracted with very modest farmers in the vicinity of the capital
(Pad van Wanica, Kwattaweg), where they rendered small services
and had a very low standard of living. A number of emancipists
settled in the neighbourhood of relatives in remote areas in order to
escape the supervision of the district authorities and to evade
plantation work. Others, especially women, concluded pseudo-
contracts so as to escape regular work on the plantations, and they
settled in or near the town earning a living with peddling or
trading 04). In this way the large plantations producing for the
international market were deprived of a considerable number of
labourers who had taken to subsistence economy.

When slavery was abolished in the British and French possessions
many planters surmised that the Netherlands would follow the same
course sooner or later, and they were confirmed in their belief by
the long-drawn discussions outside and inside the Dutch Parliament.
They feared that abolition of slavery would seal the future of the
plantations altogether, and their apprehension was strengthened by
the events in the British and French colonies, where agriculture was
declining after the emancipation. The dismal failure of the Saramacca
colonization project did also much to shake the confidence of many.
Loss of confidence necessitated a lot of planters to liquidate their
estates, and in this way much local capital found its way back to the
Netherlands, making Surinam poorer than she was already.
It was soon realized that the only way-out to ameliorate the des-

operate position lay in immigration, which had proved beneficial to
the neighboring colonies. But instead of drawing upon the British
and French experiences, where immigration under private control
had failed miserably and had become successful only when it was
conducted by the government, the Netherlands seemed to have
learned nothing, for immigration in Surinam was left to private
initiative! In 1879 FBAIssN ET 205) wrote: "It was as if it concerned a
new affair; as if the Netherlands were the pioneer in the abolition
of slavery instead of having lagged twenty-nine years behind England
and fifteen years behind France. Private persons had to give the
first impulse; only ten years after emancipation British Indian
coolies were supplied by government care, and even at this moment
the immigration is not yet properly regulated".
So the new method of labour supply by acquiring immigrants was
wholly left to private initiative. In spite of the prevailing malaise it
appears that there was no lack of private enterprise in this respect.
As early as 1853 some planters had succeeded in acquiring 120
Portuguese immigrants from Madeira to perform agricultural work
under a labour contract of two years, and most of them were
employed on three plantations (Boxel, Susannasdaal and Katwijk).
The Portuguese, however, were addicted to liquor, and non-attendance
to work because of drunkenness and of other lame excuses was
frequent; they displayed a truly disheartening apathy in their job 'io).
After termination of the labour-engagement, only in a few cases the
contract was renewed. Most of them became small shopkeepers or
took to subsistence farming. The immigration of Portuguese thus
proved a complete failure.
In 1853 another attempt was made 18 Chinese immigrants from
Java were imported, who were employed on the sugar-plantation
Catharina Sophia. But their number was very small, and in 1857 no
more than 3 were left in the country. In 1858 another batch of 487
Chinese arrived in Surinam, who were distributed all over the
colony. After this there were three more transports of Chinese
immigrants by the Surinaamsche Immigratie Maatschappij (807 in
1866, 516 in 1868 and 405 in 1869). The Chinese were stated to be
industrious, they performed their work rather well and gained the
good opinion of the planters 2'). But difficulties arose in the way
of this immigration, when the British and Portuguese closed- the
ports of Hongkong and Macao (from where emigration took place)
and the Chinese government prohibited emigration on a contract

basis altogether. In 1873 the Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij
repeated the experiment with 100 Chinese from Java, but had not
much success. After expiry of their contract a number of the
immigrants left the colony, and the remaining Chinese took to retail
trade 28). So it cannot be said that the immigration of Chinese was
In the meantime attempts were made to acquire labourers from
the British West Indies. Mostly from the densely populated Bar-
bados some 1.300 Negroes and Mulattoes were recruited. It was cat-
egorically stated that these immigrants were by far inferior workers
as compared with those from Asia. They were not accustomed to the
working methods in Surinam, and could apparently not adjust them-
selves to their local environment. They communicated their
disagreeable experiences to their relatives in their home-country,
and in this way further immigration from the West Indies was
prevented 09). So this experiment also ended in a complete failure.
And yet it seems that nothing was learned from the sad experience
with these West Indian immigrants, for in 1948 another attempt was
made to acquire persons from St. Lucia and Barbados, which again
failed completely.
The above immigration experiments were not able to solve the
problem of labour shortage in the colony. Since the entire undertaking
was a private affair and no official financial or other aid was given,
the number of immigrants who came to Surinam was insignificant
in relation to the demand. Between 1853 and 1873 (the year in which
immigration took place under government control), in total about
5.000 persons from China, Indonesia, Madeira and the West Indies
had arrived in Surinam. Selection was bad or entirely lacking, the
quality of the immigrants was on the whole not very satisfactory.
Moreover, immigration was an expensive affair, so that the planters
had a very hard time indeed in acquiring labourers.
The existing difficulties shattered the hopes of many planters, who
up till now had joined battle against the threatening collapse of
agriculture, and who now got embarrassed and disheartened. It was
increasingly realized that only government intervention could avert
the impending disaster. But the government, possessed as it was by
the spirit of laissez faire, had hitherto taken an attitude of reticence.
By the abolition of slavery, however, it was compelled to modify its
policy of indifference. Only then it evinced interest in the
immigration and wanted to take care of it. But owing to the notorious

amendment by VAN BOSSE, an influential member of the Second
Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, this assistance could only be
materialized at the end of the State Supervision period.
The situation of the colony had grown so desperate that in 1862
the government expressed its willingness to bear the responsibility
of acquiring 25.000 new labourers during the ten years of the
Supervision. This proposal, however, was vehemently opposed by
VAN BOSSE, who called it "the worst protectionism that one can
imagine... It is directly taking from the pocket of one tax-payer to
favour another", and who in strong words denounced the view "that
it is the vocation of the State to thrust now at once the system of
protectionism so sharply into the forefront"" 1). As opposed to the
original bill to make immigration an object of State's concern, VAN
BOSSE moved an amendment providing for the granting of premiums
to private persons for a period of five years, in order to encourage
the acquisition of immigrants. Since this amendment was accepted
by an overwhelming majority, immigration was again left to private
initiative 211)
When the immigration under private control turned out a complete
fiasco, the shortsighted policy was corrected just in time to preserve
the continuity in the supply of labour after expiry of the State
Supervision period. It is an irony of history that the very VAN BOSSE,
now Minister, had to sign the law charging the State with the
responsibility of immigration! A treaty between Great Britain and
the Netherlands in 1870 12) opened the way for Hindustani
indentured labourers to arrive in Surinam. It is generally held 23)
that this treaty was concluded as a compensation for the cession of
the Dutch possessions on the Gold Coast to England. Recent
historical research has falsified this contention, for it has revealed
that the treaty for recruitment of labourers in British India was
ready for signing when the subject of the Gold Coast was
broached14). The misunderstanding could arise, because three
treaties (the recruitment treaty, the Gold Coast treaty and the Siak
treaty) were simultaneously considered by the Dutch Parliament;
as a matter of fact, the three treaties were presented to the First
Chamber on the same day.
Although immigration had now become an object of State's
concern, yet even then the regulations were for the most part unsatis-
factory. The expenses had to be borne by the planters themselves,
and this was beyond the capacity of those with modest means; the

latter, however, could obtain 'voorschotten tegen billijke renten'
(advances at reasonable interests) to defray the costs of labour
supply 25). Following the example of British Guiana an unsuccess-
ful attempt was made to contract a loan on the Dutch capital market.
The Dutch government guaranteed a loan of Nf. 900.000 (in three
series), but subscriptions amounted to only Nf. 175.000. According
to FRAISSINET 216), Chief-Director of the Surinaamsche Bank at that
time, the sole reason for this failure was the fact that it was never
certain, whether the Surinam budget would carry the approval of
The Hague, so that it cannot be said that the loan was 'guaranteed'
by the Dutch government. Only after the institution of the Immigratie-
fonds in 1880 217) immigration was placed on a sound footing. The
creation of this fund was much criticized 21), but at least the stream
of immigrants, "who were indispensable for the welfare of the
Colony" '9), could now flow unhampered.
When in 1872 laws for the execution of the recruitment treaty had
been passed o), immigration of labourers from British India started.
On 26 February 1873 the first sailing-vessel 'Lalla Rookh' left Calcutta,
and 410 Hindustani immigrants disembarked in Surinam on 5 June
1873 *), in the same year followed by four more batches of 580, 652,
477 and 422 persons. As already noted, this sizable supply of
Hindustani labour was by and large sufficient for the then existing
demand. From 1873 onwards regular supplies of Hindustanis took
place, until in 1916 the steamship 'Dewa' brought the last batch of
303 immigrants. During these 44 years 34.304 Hindustanis had arrived
in Surinam 21).
The British Indian government always kept a vigilant eye on its
subjects overseas, and when a high mortality occurred among the
Hindustanis (probably owing to lack of adequate medical care), the
immigration was suspended in 1875. It was resumed in 1878, after
the atmosphere of doubt was cleared, especially by the untiring
efforts of the 'Agent-Generaal' CATEAU VAN ROSEVELT, who promised
better medical facilities. The system of district-physicians was
instituted in 18792), and in 1882223) a Medical College was
established for the training of these physicians.
With the growth of the nationalist movement in India, the

*) It should be noted that though these immigrants were the first Hindustanis
directly from British India, they were not the first Hindustanis to come to
Surinam. For, from British Guiana 46 Hindustanis had arrived in 1869, in 1870
followed by 24 Hindustanis from the West Indies. (Vide: Kol. Versl. of the
relevant years).

opposition against contract-labour became stronger and stronger.
In 1912 the great GOKHALE 224) stigmatized indentured labour as "a
monstrous system, iniquitous in itself, based on fraud and maintained
by force, a system wholly opposed to modern sentiments of justice
and humanity, and a great blot on any country that permits it". The
mounting opposition compelled the government of British India to
inform the Secretary of State that "the time had come for His
Majesty's Government to assent to the total abolition of the system
of indentured labour in those British colonies in which it still prevailed
and in Surinam" 22). And with the denouncement of the treaty of
1870 by the British government in 1918 ') the immigration of
Hindustanis in Surinam became a thing of the past.
Although the Hindustani immigrants encountered many difficulties
and at times created much trouble themselves 17), they were greatly
appreciated as industrious workers and have proved a valuable asset
to the colony 8). Without exaggeration it can be said, therefore, that
it was due to their arrival that the collapse of Surinam's economy was
averted. Already in 1886 it was stated that there was not a single
plantation, "which was not wholly kept up by coolies, or where the
labour force did not for the greater part consist of indentured or of
free coolies" ").And when this immigration had become impossible,
it was stated in 1919 by an authoritative source 20): "It remains to
be regretted that we, in comparison with Demerara, have availed
ourselves so little of the opportunity we have had for 45 years to
populate Surinam with British Indians".
In the meantime another chapter of Surinam's immigration history
was being written. In 1890 the Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij
recruited 94 Indonesians from Java (the first batch arrived in Surinam
on 9 August 1890). They were employed on the sugar plantation
Marienburg, and the experiment proved successful. Though the In-
donesians were not so industrious as the Hindustanis, according to
IsMAEL 21) they did their work peacefully and were appreciated by
the planters. So immigration of Indonesians could start under
government control; in 1894 a new batch of 582 persons arrived in
Surinam. From then on the immigration continued undisturbed, till
it was stopped in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
During these 40 years 32.889 Indonesians came to Surinam, and to
this number must be added 123 Indonesians (mostly of Chinese
origin) who had arrived in Surinam before 1890. In the beginning
the Indonesians came as contract-labourers (just like the Hindustanis),

but the last three shipments (in 1930, 1931 and 1939) supplied 1.967
Indonesians as free immigrants.
Both the Hindustani and Indonesian immigrants thus came to
Surinam under a contract extending for five years. On the expiry
of this period they had the option to choose one of the following
three courses renew the contract for another five years, return to
their country free of cost, or settle in Surinam on sinall plots. The
majority of the immigrants chose to settle in Surinam. Repatriation
started in 1878 (i.e. 5 years after the arrival of the first batch of
Hindustanis), and 20.131 immigrants left the country between 1878
and 1947. As in total 67.036 Asians had come to Surinam, the
immigration surplus was 46.905 (i.e. 70%). The distribution of
arriving and repatriating Asian immigrants over the decades is shown
in table 12 2).

Arrival and Repatriation of Asian Immigrants.

Arrival Repatriation
Period Hindust. Indon. Period Hindust. Indon.

1873-1882 6.596 123 1878-1887 2.449 -
1883-1892 8.633 94 1888-1897 2.576 18
1893-1902 7.643 5.026 1898-1907 2.737 960
1903-1912 8.358 5.489 1908--1917 1.772 1.467
1913-1922 2.821 10.575 1918-1927 1.978 543
1923-1932 10.715 I 1928-1937 165 4.240
1933-1939 990 1938-1947 13 1.213
Total 34.024 33.012 Total 11.690 8.441

The Hindustanis and'Indonesians had primarily been recruited as
labourers for the plantations, but their settling in Surinam resulted
in a complete change of the pattern of production the kleine land-
bouw (population-agriculture or small-scale farming) gradually
replaced the grote landbouw (plantation-agriculture or large-scale
farming). The population-agriculture was vehemently opposed by
the planters, who thought that the welfare of Surinam was wholly
dependent on the thriving of the plantations 33). The pressure of the
circumstances, however, necessitated the government to institute
measures for the promotion of small-scale farming, especially after

1895. In that year the former plantation Alkmaar was lotted out and
used as a vestigingsplaats (settlement-centre) for Hindustanis.
With the policy of settlement-centres (which had made its official
appearance in 1862, when the former plantation Totness was
populated by Creoles), the government tried to realize two aims -
to keep the people together for the sake of efficient control, and to
create a reservoir for the supply of labour to the plantations. In the
beginning not many settlements could be established, owing to the
limited demand for land, but after the arrival of the Asian immigrants
a considerable number of vestigingsplaatsen had to be created, and
the original purpose of reservoir-centre was pushed into the
background234). The Hindustanis, who were mostly interested in
outright ownership of land, gradually moved out and acquired plots
outside the centres; but the numbers of Indonesians increased.
Table 13 235) shows the development of small holdings on settlements
in some randomly chosen years.

Number of Holdings on Settlements (1901-1918).

Number of Number of Year Number of Number of
Year Holdings Persons e Holdings Persons

1901 1229 1223 1912 4787 4470
1903 1503 1496 1913 4296 4281
1908 3956 3934 1918 6487 6447

The government policy of granting small plots of land to the Asian
immigrants cannot be called a very wise one. In the first decade the
average holding was a little over 2 ha (i.e. about 5 acres), which
perhaps was sufficient to sustain an average family on a modest level
of living at that time. But soon a relatively greater demand resulted
in decrease of the size of the plots in 1899 the average size of
holdings in the settlement-centres was only about 2.8 acres, and in
1930 this figure was about 2.4 acres 2"). And that one family could
very seldom obtain more than one plot of land is made clear by the
above table, in which the figures indicate the total number of
holdings on settlements and the total number of persons (family-

heads). The government did not change its policy even in the thirties
of the 20th century, when most plantations had already been
abandoned (33 more centres were created in 1937). Table 14 3')
gives an adequate picture of this situation in one of the districts.

Size of Holdings of the Three Ethnic Groups in Nickerie (1951)

Ethc G p Area planted Number Average Size per
Ethnic Group (in ha) of Holdings Family (in ha)

Creoles 1.5
Indonesians 461 397 1.2
Hindustanis 2.862 1.023 2.8

It should be noted that the above table illustrates the situation in
the Nickerie-district where conditions appear to be most favourable,
and that the data relating to the size of the holdings belonging to
the three ethnic groups are taken from those areas, where the
respective groups are very strongly represented. In 1954 the situation
of population-agriculture in the whole country was described as
follows 23"): "The size of business in population-agriculture is 1.5 ha
on an average, but in most districts it is only 1.2 ha; western Nickerie
alone rises above the country's average with circa 2.5 ha". It is obvious
that the extremely small size of the holdings necessitated methods of
production which resulted in very low output.
Within half a century the pattern of production was almost
completely transformed from grote landbouw into kleine landbouw,
and the proportion of output by each system had been reversed alto-
gether. In 1900 the production of plantation-agriculture was 90%
and that of small-scale farming 10% of the total agricultural output,
but in 1930 these figures were already 29 % and 71%, and in 1950
they were 10% and 90% respectively 2"). Small and mostly
uneconomic holdings practising subsistence economy and catering
for the local market, had replaced the large and economic plantations
which had been producing for the world market. The economic
consequences of this change may be characterized as a decrease in
the per capital productivity and a relative decrease in exports, coupled
with subsitution of imports (which, however, could not influence the

balance of trade favourably). Thus population-agriculture, though it
averted the danger of total collapse, could not make an essential
contribution to the solution of the economic problems of Surinam.
This was mainly due to the foolish policy of allocating extremely
small plots to the Asian immigrants.
But the government stuck to its policy with a doggedness which is
truly amazing even the WELTER-KIELSTRA plan of 1938 provided
for the granting of holdings with a minimum size of 1 hectare (about
2- acres). Minister WELTE wanted to promote small-scale farming
for the improvement of the economic .situation. So he ordered
Governor KIEsTRA to formulate a plan, who suggested mass
immigration of Indonesians from Java (100.000 persons distributed
over 10 years). After WELTER'S objection that this plan could not be
realized because of the high costs (about Sf. 3.25 million), it was
modified, and now only 1000 to 1200 immigrants would arrive
annually. The Indonesians would receive a premium of Sf. 10
(children Sf. 2.50) and a plot of land (minimum size 1 ha!) free of
rent for five years; the right to free repatriation would expire after
10 years 24). This plan, however, could not be executed owing to
the outbreak of the Second World War.
Another instance of foolish policy is provided by the immigration
of labourers from the West Indies (1948). In spite of the fact that
many Creoles are seeking industrial employment in other countries,
it was decided to import 2.500 families from Barbados and St. Lucia
for reviving the grote landbouw and for promoting industrialization.
A Surinam commission 24) visited a number of West Indian islands
to study the possibilities of the immigration. When the plan became
known many competent persons advised against it, and in its
annual report of 1946 the Ondernemersraad voor Suriname (an
organization of enterprisers) gave vent to its pessimism, referring to
the dismal failure of the Barbadian immigration in 1863. Yet the
experiment was carried out 25 families from St. Lucia and 25 from
Barbados arrived in August 1948 and were employed on the sugar-
plantation Marienburg. Within two weeks the St. Lucians returned
to their country, and in the course of the year most Barbadians also
repatriated. Once more an immigration project had proved a complete
failure It seems that nothing was learned from past experience with
respect to colonization and immigration, for the same well-known
mistakes (poor leadership, poor selection, insufficient preparations,
etc.) were once more committed 24).


External Factors
From our discussion so far it will have become clear that a number
of external factors contributed to the decline of Surinam's economy.
We already dealt with many of these factors the crash of the Am-
sterdam Bourse (1773), the many international conflicts (between
1775 and 1815), the abrogation of slave-trade (1808), the abolition
of slavery (1863). We now want to devote some attention to three
other factors the amputation of the colony (1815), the competition
of beet-sugar (towards the end of the 19th century), and the opening
of the Suez Canal (1869), which all had serious effects on the
In the early years Surinam was a British colony, whereas Berbice,
Demerara and Essequebo (now constituting British Guiana) were
Dutch possessions. After CRIJNSSEN's victory (1667) Surinam also
became a Dutch colony, and this situation remained unchanged for
about three centuries. But after the cessation of the British
interregnum (which was instituted because of the Napoleonic Wars)
only Surinam had been given back to the Netherlands (1815). At
this time the economic situation of the country was not very
favourable, owing to many factors which we have already discussed.
Now the amputation of those parts, where the Dutch had settled
longer, meant a serious blow to Surinam. The mutilated country
with its small population was not thought worth while for economic
activities. All attention was turned to the Netherlands East
Indies 243), which promised large profits and provided an extensive
market for the industrial expansion. Surinam could neither attract
the attention of the private investors nor evince the interest of the
Dutch government to any marked extent. The worthlessness of the
colony was underlined by the fiasco of the Saramacca colonization-
project and by later developments with respect to the position of
From the beginning sugar occupied an important place in Sur-
inam's economy. The economic history of the 17th century is ex-
clusively the history of sugar; and in the 18th century, when other
commodities appeared on the export scene, sugar remained the
dominant product. Owing to a number of favourable factors, Sur-
inam's bargaining position in the world-market was very strong, and
without exaggeration it may be said that sugar was responsible for

the early prosperity of the country. Even in the 19th century, when
Surinam's economy was declining, sugar production kept expanding;
as a matter of fact, the highest export figures appeared after 1830,
and the output increased even after emancipation. This is illustrated
by table 15 2), which also shows the recession of sugar-output, after
the impact was felt of various factors (particularly the competition
of beet-sugar and the opening of the Suez-Canal).

Production Situation of Sugar in the 19th Century.

S Export Year Output r Output
Year (metr. tons) Year g) Year (kg)

1820 9.800 1864 9.959.939 1873 12.907.961
1830 16.500 1868 11.821.273 1883 10.193.240
1840 17.200 1872 12.576.371 1893 8.819.572

When only cane-sugar was known the cane-producing areas of the
world enjoyed a unique position; this changed after the emergence
of beet-sugar. Experimental work to extract sugar from the Beta
vulgaris was conducted first in Germany (at the end of the 18th
century) and later in France (at the beginning of the 19th century).
NAPOLEON, in order to make his realm independent of England and
the colonies, encouraged the large-scale production by the new
method245). Initially, development was rather slow, but introduction
of new production-techniques and better beet-varieties accounted for
rapid progress. In 1839 the production of beet-sugar amounted to
only 4.9 % of the total world sugar output, but in a few decades its
production outran the production of cane-sugar 32 % of the total
world output in 1869, 62.3 % in 1889 and 65.3 % in 1899 240). Needless
to state that all the cane-sugar producing countries of the world were
hit hard; and owing to additional difficulties the situation was worse
for Surinam.
When the Suez-Canal was opened on 17 November 1869, it had
serious economic consequences for the West Indies in general and
for Surinam in particular. Now the world-trade shifted from the
West to the East, as the distance between the West European and
the East Asian ports was reduced by about one third of the former
route. Figures advanced by KiELTRAs27) reveal that, the distance

around the Cape of Good Hope was 12.000 nautical miles for the
Amsterdam-Batavia route, 12.143 miles for the London-Calcutta
route, and 12.004 miles for the London-Singapore route, and that
the route through the Suez-Canal had reduced the distance to
8.500, 8.292 and 8.019 miles respectively. This development took
away the favourable position of Surinam with regard to the European
market, which in the past had contributed to her prosperity. Now
that the distance was no longer an advantage, the interest of Europe
shifted from the West to the East. Moreover, costs of production in
Surinam were higher than in the South and South-East Asian
countries, because after emancipation the former slaves were
receiving wages and immigrant-labour involved cost of transport
also *). As a consequence of all these factors Surinam could no longer
compete on the world market, with as result a further deterioration
of her economy.

Internal Factors

Our discussion in the previous sections has revealed that a number
of internal factors must also be held responsible for creating lots of
difficulties in the way of economic expansion and thus favouring
and aggravating the decline of the economy. We already pointed out
that a serious impediment has always been the limited size of the
internal market, which has given rise to many handicaps. We also
mentioned the grand style of living of the planters, which meant a
serious liability to the country. Not only did they waste much
money, which otherwise could have been productively used for
agricultural expansion and for improvement of material and
techniques of production, but they also withdrew a relatively large
number of slaves from productive work on the plantations, because
for the maintenance of their luxurious households (which they had
in Paramaribo also) they needed a conspicuously high number of
slaves for domestic services, since the number of attendants was one
of the indications of the masters' social standing! 248).
Another limiting factor was constituted by the frequent incursions
of the Maroons, which caused much damage to the plantations.
Partly the planters themselves were responsible for it, because it
was their cruel treatment that made the slaves seek their freedom in

*) Between 1853 and 1869 already 3.858 immigrants had arrived in Surinam.
(Vide: Kol. Versl.).

the dense forests. The number of Maroons was multiplied after the
French raid by CASSARD (1712), who had exacted a levy of Sf. 622.800.
In order to keep their share as low as possible the planters hid many
slaves in the neighboring forests, but after the turbulence was over
the latter did not come back. Around 1770 it was estimated that there
were about 6.000 Maroons 24.). The Maroon raids not only affected
the local situation adversely (it was stated that in 1772 they almost
dealt the 'finishing blow' to the colony)250), but also exerted a
harmful influence in Europe (it was the runours about the Maroons
that caused the collapse of the money-market).
An important factor, which contributed much to the decline of
Surinam's economy, was the occurrence of crop diseases. When
increase in cacao-production made expectations run high *), the
emergence of the 'witch-broom' disease (krullotenziekte) struck at
the very root of this product, and output per unit area was reduced
by about 70% in a little more than a decade 51). When after this
occurrence the production of bananas started expanding **), the out-
break of the Panama disease swept away many plantations, and
within a few years production was reduced by about 50 % 52). Now
attempts were made to intensify cacao-cultivation again, but the
appearance of the 'thrip' disease and the 'withering' disease (in-
stervingsziekte) dealt the finishing blow to it 253). After this drawback
much attention was paid to the cultivation of Liberia coffee (which
had been substituted for the Surinam coffee, because it required a
small number of labourers to gather the ripened fruit). This was also
attacked by a disease (zeefvatenziekte), but its effects were not very
pernicious and production did not suffer much on account of it254).
A very serious handicap has always been the small and one-sided
basis of Surinam's economy. Not only did agriculture constitute the
sole economic activity, but even in the agricultural sector the major
share was contributed by only one or two ever changing products,
so that stability for any one product could never be attained. Towards
the end of the 19th century mining (of gold) gained importance, and
since the thirties of the 20th century bauxite has been dominating
the economic scene completely. This caleidoscopic change in the
composition of the national product is reflected in the export
percentages, as is shown by table 16 255).

*) The highest output figure was 5.088.895 kg in 1896. (Vide: Kol. Versl.).
**) The highest output figure was 1.345.300 bunches in 1909. (Vide: Kol.

Composition of the Export Packet (1863-1950)

Period The two Main Products Percentage of Total Export Value
Period The two Main Products
Share of Each Product Total Share

1863-1870 Sugar-Cotton 72 10 82
1871-1880 Sugar-Cacao 66 19 85
1881-1890 Gold-Cacao 34 32 66
1891-1900 Cacao-Gold 41 26 67
1901-1910 Sugar-Gold 29 26 55
1911-1920 Balata-Sugar 30 29 59
1921-1930 Sugar-Coffee 31 22 53
1931-1940 Bauxite-Coffee 54 12 66
1941-1950 Bauxite-Timber 71 5 76

From this table it appears that the major share in the export was
constituted by only eight products belonging to agriculture (sugar,
cotton, coffee and cacao), forestry (balata and timber) and mining
(gold and bauxite). Although the frequent change of product is
indicative of the flexibility and variation possibility of production
and of the capacity of adaptation and initiative of the producers
(which in itself is a healthy thing), yet in the case of Surinam's
stagnant economy it reveals lack of planning. It shows a desperate
attempt to pay attention only to those products, which at least could
earn some income and in this way avert the danger of starvation,
instead of trying to change the economic structure of the country on
the basis of a well-considered development plan.

Shortsighted Policy
In the preceding sections we endeavoured to paint a fairly detailed
picture of the history of economic development in Surinam, which
was on the whole automatic and uncontrolled, with only incidental
interference from time to time. Our analysis revealed that very often
the government policy was not wise and imaginative; and the random
interference frequently affected the economy adversely. Perhaps it
will not be inappropriate to mention some of the most glaring
examples of this shortsighted policy here.
We know already that in the beginning of the 19th century the

country was not in a very favourable position (owing to e.g. the
financial crash, the Napoleonic wars, the abrogation of slave-trade),
and that additional difficulties were created, when only Surinam
was restored to the Netherlands. The Regeringsreglement of 1815
took away whatever autonomy the colony had acquired from 1682
onwards, and Surinam became wholly dependent on the mother-
country. One of the first deeds of the Dutch government was the
restoration of the trade monopoly. During the British period Surinam
had been free to choose the markets for her products, but now the
trade was resticted to the Netherlands and North America. Naturally
this decision meant a serious handicap to the colony. As REESSE 256)
remarks: "The trade monopoly might be beneficial for the Nether-
lands, it definitely worked at the expense of the colony; and against
this disadvantage there was not even a subsidy from the mother-
Instead of promoting a rapid expansion of agriculture to regain
the previous level of production, the Dutch government restored in
1815"25) the taxation-level which Surinam bore in her better days
(i.e. before the Napoleonic disturbances). In those days the duties
levied on sugar (2 % of the total export-value increased by 10 % of
the said value for stamp-duties, etc.) were moderate and reasonable;
but for the now deteriorating economy they were too high. And this
is not all in 1822258) the duties were increased to 3%, and in .
1826 "9) the level was put at 5 %. It was only in 1887 266), when sugar
had already lost its dominant position, that these duties were
abolished 21). This drawback of the progressively increasing export
duties was worsened by the strange method of fixing the price
of sugar according to which the duties were to be levied the
same rate (11 cents per pound) was maintained throughout, in spite
of the rapidly decreasing prices in the world-market 22). Needless
to state that this foolish policy exercised an unfavourable influence
on Surinam's economy.
But there was more in the Dutch policy of taxation, which cannot
be called very wise. Before the Napoleonic disturbances capitation
fees had amounted to Sf. 2.50 (for the age-group above 12 years) and
Sf. 1.25 (for the age-group between 3 and 12 years). These fees were
not only re-established in 1815, but in 1826 they were also increased
to Sf. 5 for both the age-groups. And on top of this, in 1828 a new
kind of tax was levied, being charges on account of the general
administration. This 'patentrecht voor administrateurs' amounted to

4% of the value of total production6. It seems that, instead of
encouraging economic activities in Surinam, the government was bent
on extracting as much as possible from the colony.
Around the same period the Dutch government was following a
kind of land policy, which (though it was well-meant) exercised a
negative influence on agricultural expansion. In order to check the
speculation in land, it was ordained in 1820 that new land should
only be granted to those who could cultivate it. To keep the land
out of the hands of impecunious persons and speculators the minimum
purchase-money was fixed at Sf. 3000 per lot. But the measure
overshot the mark, for it proved a serious handicap to agriculture,
and there were practically no new land-grants after its institution.
So in 1835 the payment of purchase-money was abolished 26).
A serious mistake was committed, when a new rule of colonial
administration ('nieuwe orde op zaken') was instituted by the Rege-
ringsreglement of 1828 to save expenses of administration Surinam
and the Dptch West Indian islands were brought temporarily under
one Governor-General"6). This measure aggravated the declining
tendency of Surinam's economy, for now "the colony not only had to
pay its own way, but also the expenses of the other West Indian
Colonies which were hardly able to contribute something, were for
a great part chargeable to it, though Surinam did not derive any
advantage from it" 26). The consequence of this shortsightedness was
that Surinam's resources were heavily drained for the sake of
maintaining the necessitous Dutch Caribbean islands. As EEKHOUT 267)
remarked: ". the profits which Surinam still yielded, were thrown
into the then empty exchequer of Curacao". When the joint
administration proved a failure, it was abolished by the Regerings-
reglement of 1845.
Another instance of stupidity is provided by the Saramacca
colonization project (1845). As already stated268), this experiment
failed miserably, because nobody seemed to have learned anything
from the past experience with the earlier colonization attempts. The
same old blunders (e.g. no adequate study of the situation was made,
the project was left in the hands of incapable persons, supervision
and control were insufficient or lacking) were once more
The Dutch government seemed to be totally devoid of the capacity
of learning. In the case of immigration, too, it did not show to have
learned the lesson from the British and French experiences, for it

left immigration wholly to private initiative and watched with folded
arms for about ten years, how the experiments one after another
met with failure. And when the desperate situation of Surinam
compelled it to give up its attitude of indifference, and it expressed
its willingness to bear the responsibility of acquiring a sizable
number of immigrants during the ten years of the State Supervision,
it was thwarted in this laudable attempt by the Dutch Parliament,
which thought the proposal the worst kind of protectionism that can
be imagined 69).
Not very wise either was the provision of the Emancipation Act
(1863) to keep the liberated slaves as wage-workers on the plantations
for a decade or more. As we earlier pointed out 70), it contained a
number of serious flaws. The net result of these shortcomings in the
Act was that urbanism and subsistence-economy were given a strong
impetus. Needless to say that this unhealthy development affected
both productivity and national income adversely, thereby creating
some social problems which could not be tackled satisfactorily up
to this day.
What strikes us as strange is that no banking facilities were
provided for after emancipation, though this was done in the other
colonies. In the French possessions banks were created together with
the abolition of slavery. For the granting of commercial credits a
National Bank was established, the capital of which was constituted
by one-eighth part of the indemnities paid for the liberation of the
slaves to the planters (who in this way became shareholders of the
Bank). For long-term credits a Socite6 du Credit Foncier Colonial
was created, and it'was mainly due to the agricultural and mortgage
credits advanced by this fund that new techniques of production
(invented by the CAL Brothers in Paris) could be introduced and
large sugar-factories ('usines centrales') could be established271).
Such an act of wise policy, however, did not occur in Surinam,
where the planters were crying for financial support. Even after
immigration had become an object of State's concern (1873), it was
not functioning satisfactorily. The expenses had to be borne by the
planters themselves, and to defray these costs they could obtain small
'advances at reasonable interests'. The attempt to contract a loan on
the Dutch capital market guaranteed by the government, failed
because of the peculiar political relationship between Surinam and
the mother-country. It was only seven years after the first batch of
Hindustani immigrants had arrived that after much struggle and

severe criticism an Immigratiefonds was established (1880), so that
from then on the stream of immigrants could at least flow
unhampered 272).
After the cacao-diseases had caused serious difficulties, the
government decided to take some positive steps to promote banana-
cultivation. It envisaged that within three years 3.000 ha would
be planted, and an amount of Sf. 750.000 was earmarked "with a
view to the help which in the 2nd year would be needed by
financially very weak enterprises for a regular upkeep of the planting
of the 1st year"273). It was thought that about 40 plantations would
each take to cultivation of 75 ha, for which Sf. 360 per ha would be
advanced at the rate of 4 % and an additional amount of Sf. 180 for
the upkeep (later increased to Sf. 276). To ensure the export the
government guaranteed to the United Fruit Company a weekly
supply of 30.000 bunches at a fixed price. But the scheme did not
work well only 8 plantations subscribed to a meagre 1.782 ha, so
that the contract with the Company could not be fulfilled. Truly
amazing is the carelessness with which the costly project was
formulated there had been no thorough study of the situation,
diseases were not considered, etc. And when the Panama disease
appeared, the whole venture ended in a dismal failure 74).
The arrival of the Hindustanis and Indonesians had unleashed
new social forces, which placed the Dutch government for un-
expected problems. And again shortsightedness was displayed in
allocating extremely small plots to the Asian immigrants, who with
their joint families 275) were mostly not able to maintain a reasonable
standard of living. In this way the transition from grote landbouw
to kleine landbouw (which was effected within half a century) had
serious economic consequences for the country, since the large and
economic plantations had been replaced by small and mostly un-
economic holdings 76). If the Asian immigrants had been granted
larger holdings, the picture of population-agriculture and the
economic position of Surinam would have been totally different to-

Laissez Faire Attitude
Our survey of the history of economic policy in the 19th and 20th
centuries drives us inevitably to the conclusion that there was lack
of an active policy calculated to overcome the problems of Surinam

by attempting to change the very economic structure of the country,
so as to make development possible. Generally speaking, we may
say that the Dutch government evinced an attitude of reticence.
When rudely shaken from this state of indifference, it was obliged
to institute measures which frequently proved wrong. The incidental
interference, even though they were well-meant, more often than
not exercised an adverse influence on the country's well-being. This
is easily to be understood, because they were performed in an
arbitrary and haphazard fashion, not planned on the basis of a more
or less comprehensive study of the existing economic possibilities
and development needs of the colony.
Liberalism had become very influential in the Netherlands with
the coming to power of the great THORBECKE. Owing to this
development a gradual change in the relationship between the
colony and the mother-country was effected. It began with the
abolition of the trade-monopoly (1848) -2), which was an important
step on the road to the liquidation of economic colonialism. The
reigning ideas about freedom further led to the abrogation of
slavery (1863), so that the foundations of a healthy social order were
laid. Another significant event was the institution of a House of
Representatives, the Koloniale. Staten (1865), which was an important
step towards political independence. Together with this, autonomy
was also given in matters of public finance. Owing to the deplorable
state the country was in, nothing could be made of this financial
independence, and the Dutch government had to grant subsidies
every year in order to balance the Surinam budget"7S).
But the same liberal attitude, which led to the above-mentioned
favourable developments, has proved the greatest single obstacle in
the way of Surinam's economic growth, since it prevented the
tackling of the problems by a vigorous economic policy. For the
responsible quarters in the Netherlands, on whom the doctrine of
laissez faire had a very strong hold, the compilation of a welfare-plan
for Surinam was taboo. They believed in the faultless efficacy of
the market-mechanism, and indignantly rejected the thought
of interference with the economic process for the sake of
development. They were struck with blindness with respect to the
fact that Surinam's economy, being of a peculiar structure, did not
possess the economic forces necessary for an automatic development.
The liberal Dutch government was placed before the task of
creating welfare in a country, where the free play of the market

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