5 trade, migration, and investment, 1800–1850 - university publishing online


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5 trade, migration, and investment, 1800–1850 - university publishing online

  1. 1. Academic About Us Journals Cambridge English Education Bibles Digital Products Careers 5 - Trade, Migration, and Investment, 1800–1850 pp. 123-157 By Tirthankar Roy View chapter as PDF India in the World Economy From Antiquity to the Present Tirthankar Roy New Approaches to Asian History (No. 10) Publisher: Cambridge University Press Print Publication Year: 2012 Online Publication Date: July 2012 Online ISBN: 9780511920516 Hardback ISBN: 9781107009103 Paperback ISBN: 9781107401471 Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511920516.006 Subjects: South Asian history, Economic history Image View ‹ › At the start of the nineteenth century, the English East India Company tried to encourage a few businesses in India to compensate for the declining role of cotton textiles in Indian exports. These were opium, indigo, and raw cotton. Opium was useful as a means of payment for Chinese tea, the company’s main import. Indigo and raw cotton contributed to Britain’s own expanding cotton-textile industry. These businesses retained some of the characteristics of the old Indo-European trade in that they were concentrated in the port towns and had been initiated by the company. But they were
  2. 2. also exceptional in some ways. All three provided a larger scope for private enterprise and involved dealing with peasants rather than with artisans. Property rights over land were now a matter of interest to the conduct of foreign-export businesses. A simple measure of trade volume based on incoming shipping tonnage (Figure 5.1) shows that trade to and from India grew quickly from 1850. By comparison with this explosive growth, in the first half of the century growth was more modest, but the acceleration started before 1850. The first half of the nineteenth century saw the consolidation of what I earlier called the imperial umbrella, a loose network of territories ruled by regimes that shared a commitment to market integration and a single official language and that had compatible laws. The umbrella created the opportunity for capital and labor to circulate within the network, with an additional impetus from Britain’s own industrialization and the Asian country trade. Recent research has demonstrated how the removal of barriers to private trade imposed earlier by the chartered companies and the Chinese state aided the growth of intra-Asian trade, creating new axes of commerce that were to play a large role in the business history of Asia later in the century. This chapter deals with the broad patterns of commodity trade, capital formation, and labor migration in this phase and under these stimuli.