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Autobiography of an ArchiveA Scholar's Passage to India$
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Nicholas Dirks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169677

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169677.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Bringing the Company Back In

Bringing the Company Back In

The Scandal of Early Global Capitalism

(p.199) 8 Bringing the Company Back In
Autobiography of an Archive

Nicholas B. Dirks

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the corruption and scandal in relation to capitalism and the history of the East India Company. According to Edmund Burke, the problem with the East India Company was neither the clear fact of imperial expansion nor the free circulation of capital and goods but the admixture of commerce and rule that was fundamental to the very formation of the company-state in India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is hardly surprising that Burke had major worries about the status of the company-state in India, both in respect to its relationship to Crown and Parliament in Britain and to the duly constituted sovereign powers of the Indian subcontinent. However, he did not immediately recognize the company-state as a threat to the ancient constitution. The chapter reflects on how the company-state became the colonial state par excellence, and how the East India Company sought to take on the full apparatus of state function and authority, to claim sovereignty as well as the instruments of statecraft.

Keywords:   corruption, scandal, capitalism, East India Company, Edmund Burke, commerce, company-state, India, Britain, sovereignty

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