From Colonial Agro-Industrialism to agro-industrialism: Game-changing evolution of the Dutch transoceanic cinchona-quinine Enterprise (1940's-1960s)

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Abstract

By the turn of the twentieth century, the Dutch colony of the Netherlands Indies dominated the worldwide supply of antifebrifuge (to reduce fever) cinchona bark, the raw material for quinine, an antimalarial medicine. Over the next four decades, the high-quality and laboratory-conditioned cultivation of cinchona became the backbone of a Dutch transoceanic cinchona-quinine enterprise that dominated the international quinine markets. However, in the two decades after the Second World War, the Netherlands Indies’ cinchona bark dominance ended, and the Dutch transoceanic cinchona-quinine production and trade network collapsed. How can we explain this shift? In this study, we argue that this change was part of a process of globalization of cinchona bark production that created new sources and transoceanic production and distribution chains and hence new networks of control that were increasingly less associated with a specific nation than with multinational companies. Colonial networks of control were replaced by new industrial networks of control, and the colonial agro-industrial system was reconfigured into a global agro-industrial system. At the same time, this study also shows that the economic decolonization of Indonesia forced a process of deglobalization that resulted in a translocation of the cinchona-quinine trade networks. As such, this study shows a mix of globalization and deglobalization happening in tandem with Indonesian decolonization and agricultural globalization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-125
Number of pages21
JournalItinerario
Volume40
Issue number01
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Keywords

  • cinchona-quinine
  • Indonesia
  • pharmaceutical industry
  • agro-industrialism
  • globalization
  • decolonization

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