East India Company was a trading company which commenced its trading operations in 1600. It is sometimes referred to “John Company” was one of the first joint stock companies (British East India Company, Antiessays). Company’s old name was “Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies”. The old name suggests amply that the company was an enterprise of the businessmen of England, who had bonded together in order to get huge profits from spices trade. Spices had a huge market in Europe and for years its trade depended on land links through Asia and Middle East. However, due to superior navigational technologies the Portuguese were able to traverse the land links and pocket huge profits for themselves. This paved the way for other European Colonial powers to venture in the same arena particularly the Spanish, Dutch and British.
Opinion of Nick Robins
In views of Nick Robins, East India Company was an enterprise bonded together by the businessmen to pocket huge profits through the “Spice trade”. The company increased its influence through combination of healthy doses of bribe, ingenious frauds and application of force as and when required. Nick Robins suggests that corporations who are large never foresee their end and in times of difficulty they seek financial support from respective governments.
- Charges Labelled Against the Company by Nick Robins
- Nick Robins labels following allegations against the East India Company:
- East India Company had a monopoly and complete control of economics of trade with South Asia.
- East India Company had closeness with the courts which eventually resulted in naked corruption.
After the collapse of other colonial powers in the South Asia, the Company had complete control over the region therefore there was a fear that the newfound wealth would subvert the Britain liberties which were acquired after much toil.
The East India Company’s corporate greed and later takeover of Bengal contributed to a devastating famine in 1770 that killed between a third and a half of the population.
Fairness of Charges Labelled by Nick Robins
Nick Robins allegations against the East India Company’s corporate greed and unethical expansion regime are considered fair. He suggests that large company’s or corporations never foresee their end and endeavour relentlessly for acquiring wealth and profits even at the cost of life or property. This greed ends up making the corporation more powerful from even the government.
It is a system of power politics in which power of state becomes an end in itself and all considerations of natural economy and individual welfare were subordinated to single purpose of developing the potentialities of the nation to prepare for war or to wage war. Nations following the mercantilist regulations, were more concerned towards weakening their adversary rather than improving own national economy. East India Company followed this system and kept stocs of bullion as a war chest. East India Company waged war for increasing their influence and gaining more potential for acquiring wealth. Main crux of mercantilist system was to trade raw material with finished products, thereby gaining maximum profits.
Karl Marx’s Philosophy
Gist of Karl Marx’s philosophy is that all societies undergo a class struggle. The owner class controls the production and the lower class produces labour. According to him, this method instead of creating parity amongst people of a nation, gives a chance to the wealthy class to control the production and get wealthier. He suggested that the most ideal system would therefore be a system in which all production is controlled by the labourers (lower class). This would be known as socialism in which state would ensure equal distribution of wealth in between the owner and the worker. This socialism would eventually lead to a perfect classless system called communism.
Adam Smith’s concept against Mercantilist system
Adam Smith objected to the war chest or war loans, as the principle means of financing wars, instead he favoured heavy taxes. He emphasised that if people had to sponsor a war by heavy taxes, it would result in either in speedy conclusion of war or reluctance in war initiation. East India Company fulfilled all the criteria of an expert follower of mercantilist system. East India Company was earning huge profits being a private enterprise. The company traded in raw material for finished expensive goods and expanded its influence politically through use of force.
Karl Marx’s view on free market
Karl Marx view free market as a labour oppressor. He believed that free market (capitalistic system) was grossly unfair to the worker. To elaborate this he gave his theory of ‘Surplus Values’. Main theme of this theory is proffer as under:
- A direct relationship exists between labour (worker) and the product.
- A direct relationship exists between employer and profits.
In short, the worker never got a good amount of share in products made by him which enabled the employer to bad more profits.
Adam Smith’s View on Communism
Adam Smith suggested that the economics runs best when left on ‘Natural Laws’. According to him, a demand would automatically create its own supply and vice versa. He was a strong proponent of free market economy in which everybody had get in the competition to gain more profits. He considered completion as an invisible controlling hand in free market economy. Following this Natural Law policy would give citizens a complete economic freedom and at the same time respective governments can ensure the growth of a nation's wealth.
Adam Smith’s views on implications of colonization of India
Adam Smith criticized the British Parliament for passing laws that crippled free trade thereby hindering expansion of national wealth. The laws imposed high import duties, gave
subsidies to favoured few companies, and granted monopolies to powerful special interests like the East India Company. The same laws harmed society by limiting competition and keeping prices very high. Adam Smith believed that these laws were literally tinted with the blood of lower class masses and heavily served the interest of the privileged class of manufacturers and merchants. However, he was a strong proponent of global free market. He favoured colonization.
Karl Marx’s views on implication of colonization of India
Karl Marx considered colonization of India as a suppressive economic system where the labour and lower class could not reap the fruits of their hard work. Instead huge profits were pocketed by the merchant enterprises working as a joint venture in East India Company. Later this enterprise came under the British Government control but still the ruthless economic deprivation of the local masses of India continued for centuries.
Adam Smith’s views on treaty of Nanjing
Adam Smith believed that human behaviour was best shaped by each man following his self-indulgent desires to their legitimate ends. According to him, opium, like any other commodity, was a legitimate product., Therefore, the hindrance in trade of such commodities needed to be removed for creation of free market globally. In short, Adam Smith favoured British forces in opium trade and British rights in Treaty of Nanjing.