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The Corporation that Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational Paperback – July 28, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0745325231 ISBN-10: 8125030220

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (July 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8125030220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745325231
  • ASIN: 0745325238
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A magnificent book about the father and mother of all companies. ... Everyone who studies corporate power and structure must read this well-written account." --Gordon Roddick, Chairman Emeritus of The Body Shop, co-founder of the Big Issue and Human Rights activist
 
"A powerful analysis of the rise and fall of the British East India Company, a private company that conquered a subcontinent and subjugated an entire people." --Huw Bowen, Professor of Imperial and Maritime History at the University of Leicester
 
"[This] will become a classic." --Simon Zadek, Chief Executive, AccountAbility
 
"Elegantly written and sharply argued." --Sankar Muthu, Princeton University

About the Author

Nick Robins works in the City of London, running socially responsible investment funds. A historian by training, he has nearly 20 years experience in corporate responsibility issues, and writes widely for magazines such as Resurgence, the New Statesman and Ethical Corporation.

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Customer Reviews

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Vivat private enrichment and efficiency!
H. Schneider
When one reads about the abject poverty that Indian artisans live and die in today, one can only weep.
Abhinav Agarwal
Very well written, which is a rare accomplishment on somewhat dry topics.
Leclerc (Houston)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Abhinav Agarwal VINE VOICE on January 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book and the author's contention is that the East India Company had a lot in common with the corporates of today, especially with the likes of Enron, and that a lack of appropriate corporate governance and weak oversight on the part of the government contributed to excesses therein. Specifically, "the drive for monopoly control, the speculative temptations of executives and investors, and the absence of automatic remedy for corporate abuse." [page 35]

The title may seem like hyperbole, but when you consider the impact that the Company Bahadur had on much of the world, including India and China, mostly for the worse, and mostly with tragic consequences, hyperbole does not seem like an exaggeration.

A must read.

In 1700, the GDP of Britain was $10.7 billion, representing 2.88% of world GDP. The respective figures for China were 82.8b, 22.3%, and for India 90.7b, 24.4%. By 1870, these had changed to $100b (9.1%) for Britain, $189b (17.2%) for China, and $134b (12.2%) for India. [page 7]

Disconnect and denial abounds in some quarters of the British aristocracy even today. The chief executive of the Standard Chartered Bank remarked that the challenge is now (in 2002) to "build upon the courageous, creative, and truly international legacy of the East India Company." [page 14]. "Rod Eddington, one time chief executive of British Airways" in a similar vein saw it "as a case study in how corporations succeed 'by dint of hard work, shrewdness and charm.' " [page 14, 15]
The author points out, correctly, that these "romantic interpretations ... fail to confront the costs associated with th Company's business practices.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Leclerc (Houston) on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written, which is a rare accomplishment on somewhat dry topics. Brings forward or reminds the reader that graft and corruption is not new to modern business and government. A company that conquered a nation literally and with its private army. A good read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
The British East India Company is one of the world's most famous: founded in 1600, it began as an Asian spice trading company and ended up running Britain's Indian empire. Given its importance it's amazing to consider that The Corporation That Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational is actually the first coverage of the company to reveal its history and social record. College-level libraries strong in either world history or business will find this an intriguing discussion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Priya Balakrishnan on September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
.The British East India Company was one of 6 East India Companies - the others being the Dutch (founded in 1602 and in existence until 1798), the Portuguese, the French, the Danish and the Swedish East India Companies. These were government-organized, and backed consortiums of the wealthy, who returned a reasonable profit.

As the East India companies were set up in the 1600s or earlier, East India trade also quite possibly was the reason for (to create a repository of wealth within Europe), and funded the Industrial Revolution. And funded the American exploration of many of these nations - Britain, France, Netherlands.

East India trade created many Yankee millionaires - a detailed description is given in the book Yankee India.

The Dutch East India Company paid out a 20% dividend to its shareholders, every year for 196 years.

Using the rule of 72 for calculation with compound interest, hypothetically, if a person invested $1 in the Dutch East India Company in 1602, it would be worth, $24,900 trillion (2 raised to the power of 54), in 1798.
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