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9 - Britain’s East India Company, Indian Markets, and Monopoly

from Part V - India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2020

Gregory M. Collins
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
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Summary

Chapter 9 explores Burke’s economic critique of Britain’s East India Company in India. I first outline Burke’s general approval of government trading monopolies, which he defended for opening up new trade routes and promoting commerce in distant lands. I then transition to discussing the Select Committee report that detailed the Company’s pattern of abuse in India, Ninth Report of Select Committee, of which Burke was its primary author. Burke condemned the firm for disrupting the supply and demand laws of the local Indian economy and manipulating the competitive price system. He also criticized the company for using surplus revenue as a means to stimulate trade, rather than use trade as a means to increase revenue. Similarly, I elaborate on Ninth Report’s criticisms of the Company’s monopoly on opium, saltpeter, and salt, which produced destructive economic and social consequences and further exposed the firm’s gross misconduct in India.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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