East India Company: The Original Corporate Raiders
At the beginning of the 19th century, as the British economic historian Angus Maddison has demonstrated, India’s share of the world economy was around 23 per cent, almost as large as all of Europe put together. (It had been 27 per cent in 1700, when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s treasury raked in £100m in tax revenues alone.) By the time the British departed India, it had dropped to just over 3 per cent. The reason was simple: India was governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain’s rise for 200 years was substantially financed by its depredations in India.