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Measuring colonial extraction: the east India company's rule and the drain of wealth (1757-1858)

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Publication Geneva: Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History, 2020
Collection Working Papers of the Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History; 5/2020
Description 47 p.
Abstract This paper revisits the relationship between capitalism and colonialism by examining the case of British India under East India Company rule (1757-1858). The Marxist-nationalist historiography claims that colonialism generated a steady drain of wealth and that this drain was responsible for Indian famines, poverty, inequality, and economic retardation. I use the East India Company budgets to measure the extent of the wealth that was drained through three direct channels: oppressive land taxes, unproductive expenditures on the imperial army and civil administration, and the unrequited export of commodities from India to Britain. I conclude that available figures lend empirical support to the Marxist interpretation. There was a drain of wealth, and its effect on the underdevelopment of former European colonies deserves further research.
Keywords IndiaColonialismDrain of wealthEast India CompanyMarxism
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NOGUES-MARCO, Pilar. Measuring colonial extraction: the east India company's rule and the drain of wealth (1757-1858). 2020 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:144406

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Deposited on : 2020-11-10

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