New Internationalist

The Corporation that Changed the World

May 2007

This book tells the compelling and appalling story of the East India Company.

33_tc2tw110.jpg [Related Image]

Globalization began in 1600 with a tiny trading company dealing in Asian spices. This book tells the compelling and appalling story of what has been called ‘the mother and father of all companies’ – the East India Company.

Although I am Indian, have studied the colonial period and the fight for independence, no history lesson ever presented the extent of the economic devastation wrought by the East India Company on my country.

With precision and passion Robins shows how in 1600 the Indian economy was robust – healthier than the British economy, in fact – despite the efforts of corrupt, decadent nawabs. Then came the East India Company, a small-time trading outfit. Through a combination of greed, violence and corruption it acquired mafia-like power, enabling it to run the British Empire in India. The company crushed all obstacles in its way, be they starving peasants and poor weavers in India, or small traders and peasant farmers in Britain. The company’s disregard for the fate of the poor, its use of war, famine, poverty and speculation to boost company profits, provided a model for the modern transnational corporation.

Robins grips the reader with tales of intrigue and infighting. He strips bare the romanticized notion of the Raj having its share of virtues and exposes the systematic destruction of the Indian economy which led to the impoverishment of a subcontinent. The book is a brilliant, important contribution to an understanding of development and poverty.

Mari Marcel Thekaekara

This column was published in the May 2007 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Never miss another story! Get our FREE fortnightly eNews

Comments on The Corporation that Changed the World

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Books

All Books

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 400

New Internationalist Magazine issue 400
Issue 400

More articles from this issue

  • Karl Rove

    May 1, 2007

    The Darth Vader of US elections

  • Segu Blue

    May 1, 2007

    West African Bassekou Kouyate and Mali’s first traditional lute quartet

  • Revenge

    May 1, 2007

    Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy’s song of reconciliation.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe