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land, a measure often used as an indicator of the level of economic development, laggedbehind that of the leading Asian country, Japan.Table 1. Rice production (in the husk) per hectare, for various regions and periods.
Region Kgs per ha YearJava 1,650 1815Java 2,000 1900Burma 1,430 1930Indo-China 1,560 1910Thailand 1,630 1930Japan 3,000 1910These data clearly suggest that Java was far ahead of most Southeast Asian countries, butthat Japan was doing much better than Java in terms of yields per unit of land.I have also compared labour productivity (largely based on the production of rice peragricultural labourer, and other products converted to rice-equivalents) in Javaneseagriculture around 1815 with labour productivity in Europe around 1800. The results arepresented in table 2.Table 2. Productivity of labour expressed in millions of (net direct) calories per adultmale agricultural labourer around 1800, Java and selected Europeancountries.
Area CaloriesJava 3.2Portugal 3.2Finland 4.1United Kingdom 13.2Java, therefore, was doing as well as Portugal in terms of labour productivity, and came fairlyclose to Finland. These were the most economically backward European countries for which
The data were taken from Boomgaard & Van Zanden 1990, 41 (Java) and Cheng 1968, 28(all other areas).
Taken from Bairoch 1999, 136 and Boomgaard 2002, where the details of the calculationsfor Java are given.