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Empires of ViceThe Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia$
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Diana S. Kim

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172408

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172408.001.0001

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Disastrous Abundance in French Indochina, 1920s–1940s

Disastrous Abundance in French Indochina, 1920s–1940s

Chapter:
(p.153) 6 Disastrous Abundance in French Indochina, 1920s–1940s
Source:
Empires of Vice
Author(s):

Diana S. Kim

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691172408.003.0006

This chapter looks to Indochina in the 1920s, when the French colonial state was reporting comparably high shares of revenue from opium taxes to British Malaya. It identifies a very different set of concerns animating local administrators who misreported official revenue numbers while struggling to manage an opium monopoly that ran itself into bankruptcy. The chapter traces a process through which a minor accounting measure in 1925, originally designed to allow emergency liquidity for purchasing foreign opium, became an entrenched mechanism for artificially balancing the budget, which slowly accumulated into a crisis of overdrawn accounts and unpaid debts that threatened the financial viability of colonial government. These were known as the cessions fictives. While at first a minor accounting practice within the legal boundaries of colonial administration, these cessions fictives were repeated in following years and became an entrenched mechanism for balancing the colony's budget.

Keywords:   French Indochina, French colonial states, misreporting, bankruptcy, emergency liquidity, cessions fictives, accounting practices, colonial budgets, Indochina

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