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5.0 out of 5 stars How the West was Won, 18 Jun 2010
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Opium Regimes: China, Britain and Japan, 1839-1952 (Paperback)
Concise, well written an academic sociological, development book. This details the various components that led to shaping the East in the 19thC. It focuses primarily the double dealing, and intrigues of the Sino-British Opium Trade. It highlights the rigged markets, the bidding wars and how they were circumvented.

After the Shanghai Confenence and Britain relinqishing its role as the worlds drug pusher the analysis then shifts to Japanese duplicity. Nippone took over the reins and steered the carriage for the benefit of its industrial makeover.

This book shines the academic torch into the mercantile free market activities of colonial trade, all bereft of the myopia of any obvious adherence to a falsely constructed belief systems. In particular it highlights the ideology of free trade and structural intervention.

Interestingly the opium trade, colossal in its impact, has been academically erased from economics, developmental studies, history and psychology. The erasure has led to deep sizeable fundamental errors, all based on collective memory wipe. This book lifts the pavement slab, and underneath the creepy crawlies scuttle to the darkness. To get to the "truth" a little digging is required. It is akin to modern German scholars after winning WW2 asking why did Judaism decline?

Within the focus, the operation of laissez faire companies trading under the guise of governments becomes apparent. The hidden hand of the free market, was always ready to send in gunships to blast open the trade and then create a levelled playing field. This allowed trade to flourish, leading to the building of Hong Kong, Singapore and the eventual free trade, booty loving world we currently inhabit.

Opium, along with sugar and tea were the great trading commodities in the 19th Century. Sugar drove the market in the Caribbean, Tea the staple beverage of a teetotal middle class in China and the UK and opium, taken from India was the drug of reverie and dreams of hope. Opium was sold to the Chinese and British Worker.

This is a collection of chapters each, compiled by different authors bringing together 17 people from Chinese, Japanese and European extraction, to piece together how the drugs trade operated in SE Asia. The narco trade shaped the region, the politics and geography, eventually the history. One of the benefit is it provides the resources for the accumulation of primitive capital. This is analysed along with the expansion and decline of economic growth.

Huge subsidies were provided to Hong Kong, despite the rhetoric of the Free Market by the British government. The effects of the trade on China are analysed dispassionately, the reasons why it was consumed en masse is explored, and the role of the British and Chinese merchants in ensuring it continued. The eventual economic collapse is analysed, along with the role of the Japanese takeover of the heroin and cocaine trades. The hidden history the sanitisaiton of all national histories does little to douse Chinese resentment. The role of anti-narcotics eradication in driving Chinese patriotic nation building is crucial.

As with all books researching the narcotics industry, unraveling the night creatures scampering under the historic paving slabs of erased histories is contentious. This book is no exception. This will create thought about the construction of the modern world. A must for all Sinophiles, Development specialists, students of the 19th Century history, Economists, Public Policy Specialists, Sociologists, Drugs Workers and the general reader who dreams of different worlds.
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Opium Regimes: China, Britain and Japan, 1839-1952
Opium Regimes: China, Britain and Japan, 1839-1952 by Timothy Brook (Paperback - 25 Aug 2000)
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