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European employers found it impossible to get the necessary supply of labor without maintaining the practice current under the culture system, of relying upon official pressure rather than on the native's sense of his own advantage to lead him to work. An author who had been in the Dutch official service, but who was at the time of writing a tobacco planter, exposed the fallacy of the idea that freedom of contract in labor relations was established at a stroke. The native overseers on the plantations secured the good will of the district chief, the native official next above the village head men in rank, and through his influence got any number of laborers desired. Another observer, writing at the same time, describes political influence as the determining factor in the chance of starting any undertaking. All depended on the attitude taken by the Dutch and native officials; if they were favorable to the undertaking, the people obediently made the desired contracts. As a natural result of the way in which the laborers were engaged, they proved slippery and unreliable, seeking every opportunity to evade their obligations." The system by which contracts could be made with a whole village at once tended to increase the chance for an abuse of political power. After 1863 the contracts had in form to be with individuals, but the influence of the chiefs still remained an important or decisive element in the labor question, especially in districts where communal property prevailed.

In 1882 a writer gave as the impression left by a journey through Java his belief that the problem of securing labor without the connivance of the head men had been solved, but even then all authorities did not agree with him.

In their relations with the really free laborers of Java, those who are not subject to the influence of some political chief,

to engage themselves as free laborers." Ward, Report on the Progress of Neth. E. I., in Rep. of H. M. Sec. of Embassy, Lond., 1863, 6: 145. Cf. Bickmore, Travels in the E. I. Arch., N. Y., 1869, for a description of much the same state of affairs in Amboyna. D'Almeida, Life in Java, 1:269, says that the natives in Boedoeran were emancipated from forced services in cutting and carrying cane a few days before his arrival there ; he found the industry in straits for lack of laborers and the cane often left till over-ripe.

'De Economist, 1862, Bijblad, 347, 334. 'De Economist, 1882, ii, 1122.

As a

European employers have experienced two great difficulties, which will now be considered separately.

At the start the difficulty is encountered of getting men to bind themselves to work for wages who see any chance to continue their independent existence. Travelers in Java are all struck with the productiveness of the island, with the ease with which the natives can manage to live. Their scale of life would appear hopelessly low if measured by western standards, but their wants are so small that it satisfies them. The lower their scale of living, in fact, the more likely they are to rest content with it so long as they are not absolutely starving. In practice it has been found impossible to secure the services of the native population by any appeal to an ambition to better themselves and raise their standard. Nothing less than immediate material enjoyment will stir them from their indolent routine. result, it is the universal practice among employers to offer a large part of the wages for any period in advance; if the native takes the bait he can be held to labor (in theory, at least), until he has worked out the debt that he has incurred. The system of advances to secure the services of laborers is described as universal, down to the present time. Employers and officials deplore it, but recognize its necessity; even the government makes advances when it requires the services of wage laborers. As an example of the process the following contract can be cited, long in use by sugar planters to effect the transport of the cane. The advance figures as the price of the cart and draught animals, which the native declares to have sold to the employer with the right reserved to himself to buy them back at the end of the season, and under condition that he shall have the use of them in the meantime. The transport charges are paid for only one


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See especially Pol, Indische adviezen in de Staten-Generaal, De Gids, 1877, iii, 257 ff. A number of reports from Dutch officials are quoted there (p. 281), in which the system is described as a necessary evil, 'demoralizing but unavoidable,” etc. Peelen, De Gids, 1893, i, 392, speaks of the system as “ een ware kanker,” but says that it is practically impossible to get laborers without advances. The sugar contract cited is from van den Berg, De afwijkingen van het Mohammedaansche vermogensrecht op Java en Madoera. Bijdragen tot de taal- land- en volkenkunde van Neêrlandsch Indië. 1897, 6 volgr. 3:127.

day out of five or seven, and the rest goes to the repurchase of the outfit; if it is not enough at the end of the season to repay the original advance the debt will run over to the next year. This contract is peculiar in that the employer has some security for the advance that he makes. In the case of ordinary labor contracts he has only the person of the native, and these contracts are the most common of all.

It is evident that this system could readily lead to a permanent subjection of the native to the European employer, like the credit bondage that was formerly common in the native organization. In securing laborers for the spice islands, who were to receive wages of 6 florins a month, it was customary to pay 50 to 100 florins in advance, and a case is given in which a cook, whose wages were to be i florin a month, was given an advance of 30 florins at the time when he was engaged-nearly three years' pay. The government intervenes to protect the laborers by a regulation prescribing that contracts cannot be made for a term exceeding five years, and that they must contain full specifications of the services to be rendered and the pay to be given. Every contract must be recorded with the government, and its terms are investigated and their proper fulfilment assured by government officials.

In fact, however, the natives seem competent to protect themselves against European employers. The second great difficulty experienced by planters in their relations with the laborers is the tendency of the natives to break their contracts and leave their work, whether for good reasons or for no apparent reason at all. Under the culture system, which identified the economic and political organization, and applied all the police power of the state to hold laborers to their work, it was possible to check the untrustworthiness and fitfulness of the natives. Whatever influence the discipline of the system may have had, it certainly did not effect any radical reform in their character. Laborers would take advances on their wages and then desert; some laborers hired themselves to two or three undertakings at once, to get the advances. When they did not leave an undertaking

Lans, Rosengain, Rotterdam, 1872, p. 16; van der Linden, Banda en zijne bewoners, Dordrecht, 1873, p. 45.

entirely they worked only as the fancy seized them; in one residency an official report stated that a man who would work fifteen or twenty days in a month was considered a good hand. The loss caused to planters by the lack of the workmen on whom they had counted, and often at the very time when their labor was most needed, led in 1872 to the publication of an ordinance punishing the breach of a labor contract with a fine of 16 to 25 florins, or forced labor on public works for seven to twelve days. The justification of the ordinance is apparent in the fact that during three years of the period in which it was in force almost 9,000 cases of breach of contract were punished under its provisions. Opinion in Java seems to have been unanimous in upholding the ordinance, but in 1877 the Second Chamber of the States General passed a resolution against it, that led to its repeal. This action was regarded as an unwarrantable interference of the Dutch legislators in a question which they had not studied and which they did not understand; they followed their own theories in defiance of the opinion of practically all the jurists and officials in India who were conversant with the difficulties against which the Dutch had to contend. Since 1879 breach of contract has been punishable only in case it can be proved that the native had intent to desert at the time when he made the contract, and the law has been practically inoperative.

Individual natives, not bound by contract to a planter, have shown little desire or ability to produce for the European market. Java presents in this respect a contrast to British India, and the cause is apparently the same as that of so many other contrasts between the two countries, the greater productiveness of the land in Java, and the lack of pressure on the population. Chinese traders scour the country for export products, buying up coffee, tobacco, rice, hides and a few other commodities, but the total amount thus brought into the channels of the world's

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Pol, Ind. adv.; De Economist, 1878, i, 392 ff. ; 1891, 386. Peelen, De Economist, 1893, i, 394, hoped for a reimposition of the penalty, as the government had announced that it was not averse to such action; but nothing had been done when de Louter wrote, in July, 1895, and the agitation of the question was still continuing.

trade is small in comparison with the amount that is produced under the direction of planters.

The Chinese deserve special consideration in this study of the organization of production in Java. They form only about one per cent. of the population, but they have an importance disproportionate to the place that they take in the census enumeration. With qualities differing from those of both natives and Europeans they form a link between the two races, that alone would be separated by an almost hopeless distance; they are the natural middlemen of the East. Of all the Chinese in Java very few are coolies or field-laborers; they live by their brains, not by their hands.

They are a permanent element of the population, with a settled residence, and a family life that has been established for generations. Whatever their general moral character may be—no two authors agree in describing it—there can be no question as to their economic virtues. In contrast to the natives the Chinese have tastes which, if not refined, are at least expensive. Those who can afford it love to live in style, impressing the rest of the world with their houses and their equipages, and even the poorer ones seek what luxury they can afford. All love enjoyment, and—this is the important pointall are willing to work for it. Their steadiness and intelligence put them on a plane above the natives, who have never shown the ability to compete with them on equal terms in trade or industry. They seem to lack the breadth and boldness of conception that would enable them to enter large enterprises as rivals of the Europeans, but between the two races they have an assured position. Business houses in Java find them indispensable in marketing the goods imported for native consumption; it is only they who have the patience and cunning fitting them to bargain with the petty agents who enter into direct relations with the native consumers. The Europeans have been loud and constant in their complaints of the business methods of the Chinese, whose frequent bankruptcies are notorious and are

Of the total exports, amounting to over 200,000,000 forins, it is estimated that the natives by themselves produce only about 5,000,000. (Van der Berg, Java's bevolking, De Economist, 1894, i, 29.) It is possible that this estimate does not include the native-grown coffee. It is found now that when natives are freed from the obligation of growing coffee they let the crop decline in quantity and quality. (Begrooting van Ned. Ind., 1900, Bijlage, 35, p. 7.)

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