chapter  10
18 Pages

THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAPITALISM AND THE MAKING OF THE WORKING CLASS IN COLONIAL INDOCHINA, 1870–1940

WithMartin J. Murray

The formation of the working class in colonial Indochina was a heterogeneous process that did not really begin in earnest until after World War I. The French colonisers shared similar aims with other European colonial powers, namely, to force the peripheral zones of the capitalist world-economy to produce, among other things, those export commodities in high demand in the metropolitan centre. In colonial Indochina, metropolitan capital was frequently left with little or no choice but to organise production directly. The metropolitan organisation of agromineral production along strict capitalist lines coincided with the emergence of the migrant labour system. By 1910, the colonial administration had granted an estimated 61,268 hectares in Cochinchina for rubber cultivation. Indochina assassinate wealthy mandarins, to burn colonial offices, and to seize hoarded rice stores. During the colonial period in Indochina, rural inhabitants represented a varied collectivity of social categories and social classes.