The East India Company business model

This article I came across on Reddit describes how colonial Britain subsidised its industrialisation:

 The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third)to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, “buying” from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.

Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain’s industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.

Ingenious. And devastating. The clear incentive was to invest Indian goods into Britain, not the colony. According to the study the article refers to, “Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938” – that is over 17 times the GDP of India and the UK today.

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