The Making of a Periphery: A Response

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ABSTRACT: This rejoinder is part of the round table discussion on the book The Making of a Periphery: How Island Southeast Asia Became a Mass Exporter of Labor. It pays tribute to the development economist and Nobel Prize winner Arthur W. Lewis, who studied the predicaments of plantation societies. The rejoinder addresses critical observations made about the above-mentioned book by Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Pim de Zwart, Corey Ross, and Alberto Alonso-Fradejas. It underscores the importance of the role of demography and long histories of labour coercion to explain processes of peripheralization and mass emigration. It also points out the limits of classical development economics, namely a relative neglect of the ecological damage attending plantation exploitation. The commodity frontier approach is suggested as a way to address this shortcoming.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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