Scientific article
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Measuring colonial extraction: the East India Company's rule and the Drain of Wealth (1757–1858)

Published inCapitalism, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 154-195
Publication date2021

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 effects on the underdevelopment of former European colonies deserve further research.

  • India
  • Colonialism
  • Drain of wealth
  • East India Company
  • Marxism
Citation (ISO format)
NOGUES-MARCO, Pilar. Measuring colonial extraction: the East India Company’s rule and the Drain of Wealth (1757–1858). In: Capitalism, 2021, vol. 2, n° 1, p. 154–195. doi: 10.1353/cap.2021.0004
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2576-6406

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