Pramod Biligiri's Blog

Random Musings

  • 1
(Deleted comment)

Re: The East India Company

That's a comprehensive list of questions! I am speechless ;)

Even I have been thinking of some of those questions you raised. Can use your comment as a reference when I come around to investigating :)

Though the EIC resembles modern shareholder companies in many ways, such companies were still new and accountability was weak. For example, EIC was created in 1600. 2 days back there was a report (link) saying the oldest stock certificate, that of Dutch East India Company, dating from 1606 has been found.

EIC was a managed by a dozen or so Directors in London, and the shareholders included rich and well connected UK folks. But the communication time b/w UK and here was immense and many of the cruel decisions were taken locally by Clive and his ilk, and the Directors often looked the other way when they came to know of it later. That's why Hastings was impeached and control of EIC went to Parliament to a large extent. Surprisingly that didn't help either :)

Actually there's tons of great literature out there about the Company. A few are:
- John Keay's The Honourable India Company
- James Mill's The history of British India written in 1848 and available free now.
- Nick Robbin's "The Corporation That Changed the World"

Check out this article by Nick Robbins or this scathing criticism by Karl Marx.

  • 1

Log in