The Corporation that Changed the World by Nick Robins. A useful history of the East Indian Company, thankfully not a massive doorstopper but long enough to handle the essentials. Does a good job of putting things into context, comparing the company with its equivalents elsewhere in Europe and in the UK. Highlights the differences as well as the similarities with modern corporations.
Also serves as a good counterbalance to the revisionism of people like Niall Ferguson, going into some detail on the oppressive regime, and also the protectionism of the setup. At the start of companys operation Bengal was an advanced "workshop of the world", producing high quality textiles and decent pay for its weavers. "John Company" created a monopoly, systematically drove down the prices it paid and impoverished the Bengali weavers. Meanwhile British weavers were shielded behind high tariff barriers until automation gave them a competitive advantage.
As the authority of the Mughal emperors declined after weak emperors and infighting, the Company took over the state, and the extractive tax revenues it raised began to dwarf the profits from actual trade. Funnelling a share of that money to the British government meant the company kept its monopoly. The company was gradually incorporated into the British state, the Indian Mutiny accelerating the change.
One detail I didn't know was that it was Edmund Burke who opposed the company and attempted to champion the Indian cause. Meanwhile liberals like John Stuart Mill defended the company as somehow progressive. Burke attempted to prosecute the chief executive Warren Hastings in the House of Lords:
I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights and liberties he has subverted; whose properties he has destroyed; whose country he has laid waste and desolate.
I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.
I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation, and condition of life..
Also points out that even at the time the Company was severely criticised for its exploitation and abuses, it's not just a modern interpretation.
Overall, no great revelations but a solid and worthwhile history.
Toddler was OK for a while, but is again having problems going to sleep. Really stresses me out on days when I don't have any time to myself, am just working/doing chores/doing childcare literally all day.
Took him out to a little local funfair, organised by the Freemasons oddly enough. He loved it. Went into Santa's grotto, was very shy but happy with his present.
After next Friday I'm off for Christmas. Really hoping the toddler starts sleeping, not sure I can handle all day childcare for weeks.
Work still a bit stressful as they keep raising bugs in the current release, alongside the two jobs I'm actually supposed to be doing. Annoying that I have to keep fixing stuff that's nothing to do with me.
Twenty-first century Americans inured to wars that never end have long since forgotten that bringing such conflicts to a prompt and successful conclusion once defined the very essence of what generals were expected to do.Video. Thomas and Friend Great Discovery Rap. Do Nothing Machine. Thirty years since Cameo's Word Up! via.
Random. Christmas monsters.
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