restricted access Managing Agency Capitalism and Malayan Rubber: Harrisons & Crosfield, Ltd. (1900–1940)


In Britain’s colonial empire, managing agency capitalism linked businesses that had no presence in the colonial territories with suppliers of commodities produced there. Firms such as Harrisons and Crosfield, Ltd., one of the major agency houses in British Malaya, provided a crucial link between British capital and the Malayan rubber industry in the early twentieth century. Drawing on the archives of Harrisons and Crosfield, this article explains the mechanisms that allowed such firms to generate great profits based on the services they provided, and to control the management of plantations.