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Chapter Summary

Apart from the role played by indigenous entrepreneurs in the cultivation of coconut palms and, later, rubber trees, the plantation economy in Ceylon has been dominated by European planters and investors. The availability of raw material is only a subordinate factor of production in an agricultural economy. Land is indeed the one factor of production that cannot be brought into a region from outside. After 1888/89, when the prospering tea industry had led Ceylon out of the depression caused by the coffee collapse, land became a rare commodity again. The plantation economy of Ceylon during the days of coffee and later tea had immense requirements of labour. Together with land and labour, the availability of capital is one of the prerequisites for the economically successful development of an industry. In the case of nineteenth-century Ceylon, the improvement of the transportation infrastructure serving the plantations enjoyed high priority.

Keywords:agricultural economy; capital; Ceylon; coffee; plantation economy; transportation infrastructure

10.1163/ej.9789004163614.i-338.41
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