Indochina’s alcohol regime is inseparable from the creation of the fiscal state. The origins of the fiscal state flowed from multiple sources: the modernizing, centralizing impulses of French officials, the civilizing mission to promote economic and social development, and new demands that colonies be financially self-supporting. Yet the particular revenue source the state chose—a state-supported private monopoly on production—was not only inequitable, but also failed to generate revenue efficiently. Nevertheless, the monopoly was created and maintained despite its flaws and in the face of resistance at almost every level of the French state. In part, this was due to powerful French statesmen like Paul Doumer, Paul Beau, and Albert Sarraut and their vision of a powerful, modern Indochinese state. Yet an even more important role was played by mid-level administrators like Antonin Frézouls and Paul Simoni, who worked with A.R. Fontaine to turn this vision into a very warped reality.
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