Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-xiii

Although companies are relatively new to history—and are now so common as to be taken largely for granted—they have been an important social, economic, and political force since their first appearance. The English East India Company was one of the earliest companies and very possibly...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-30

The English East India Company has long sat at the center of debates on the relative virtues of monopoly forms of organization and free trade. The Company figures prominently in the work of Adam Smith, Thomas Mun, James Steuart, James Mill, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill, among...

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2. Merchant Capitalism and the Great Transition

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pp. 31-50

The period in which the English East India Company grew and expanded is known under several names: the early modern period, the mercantilist period, and the era of merchant capitalism. Stretching roughly from 1500 to somewhere between 1750 and 1800, it can be understood as having...

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3. The European Trade with the East Indies

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pp. 51-76

The core commodities of the European trade with the East, carried by all East India Companies, were spices, textiles, coffee, and tea. The relative share of these goods changed over time and across Companies as the firms attempted to identify and exploit new areas of profitability. Spices were the...

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4. Social Networks and the East Indiaman

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pp. 77-106

The English East India Company began the seventeenth century much like a smaller, less confident version of the Dutch Company. Over the course of the next two centuries the situation was reversed. Where the Dutch appeared to be trapped by the routine behaviors and the sunk costs of their...

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5. Decentralization, Corruption, and Market Structure

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pp. 107-124

In the preceding chapter, the analysis showed that when the English Company had a decentralized organizational structure, which is to say that significant autonomy lay in the hands of employees, social networks encouraged the transmission of local information and led to the incorporation of...

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6. The Eastern Ports

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pp. 125-153

As a general rule, organizations are shaped by the environment around them. The East India Company was particularly susceptible to external influences. It was not based on a preexisting template. The company form was novel in the seventeenth century. The East India Company also did...

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7. Eastern Institutions and the English Trade

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pp. 154-172

The contribution of Eastern ports to the nature of the English trade in the East becomes clear when the entire set of ports included in the Company trade is considered. In this chapter, I categorize the 264 ports recorded in the logs of the English East India Company ships into the types...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 173-182

Before the founding of the East India Company, Europe was a relative, if rapidly developing, backwater. England was a rural country with a largely agricultural economy, soon to find itself scrambling to emerge out from under the shadow of the Dutch in their golden age. By the time of...

Appendix

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pp. 183-192

Notes

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pp. 193-202

Bibliography

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pp. 203-230

Index

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pp. 231-252