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The Rise and Fall of Cooperative Credit in Colonial Burma

Author

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  • Sean Turnell

    (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)

Abstract

Cooperative credit was the British Empire's all-purpose answer to problems of rural poverty and indebtedness, usury, and land alienation. Originating in the idealism of the 'Rochedale Pioneers' and in schemes from rural Germany, cooperative credit was imported into India with an evangelical zeal to solve all manner of perceived economic and social ills. With only slightly less moral fervour it was transplanted from India into Burma in the first decade of the Twentieth Century, and by 1920 several thousand cooperative credit societies had mushroomed across the country. The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of cooperative credit in Burma from these promising beginnings, until the near collapse of the movement on the eve of the Great Depression. The paper explores the way in which cooperative credit was seen by the imperial authorities as a device to limit the role of Indian money-lenders in Burma, and as the basis for the establishment of formal rural credit markets. The paper concludes that poor implementation, on top of official myopia as to the cultural, historical and economic differences between India, Burma and Europe, brought about the demise of a movement that promised much.

Suggested Citation

  • Sean Turnell, 2005. "The Rise and Fall of Cooperative Credit in Colonial Burma," Research Papers 0509, Macquarie University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mac:wpaper:0509
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    File URL: http://www.econ.mq.edu.au/research/2005/co-opTurnell.pdf
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. False Histories: Microfinance and its non-Lineage of German Cooperative Banking
      by philmader in governance across borders on 2011-09-14 14:26:20
    2. The need for a longer (but not too long) history of microfinance
      by philmader in governance across borders on 2015-06-12 19:11:07

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • N25 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Asia including Middle East

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