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Between Monopoly and Free TradeThe English East India Company, 1600-1757$
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Emily Erikson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159065

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159065.001.0001

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Eastern Institutions and the English Trade

Eastern Institutions and the English Trade

(p.154) Chapter 7 Eastern Institutions and the English Trade
Between Monopoly and Free Trade

Emily Erikson

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents systematic evidence that decentralized, commercially sophisticated ports were preferred by the English Company. The data on Company trading voyages show that they spent more time in and had longer trading partnerships with ports that were already set up to accommodate the commercial interests of both the Company and employees. These data also cast doubt upon theories that English trade patterns in Asia were driven by the presence of other Europeans. The central finding, however, is that Asian merchants and the commercial institutions they had created before the arrival of the British played a vital role in the expansion of England into the East through their support of decentralized market exchange. Thus the institutional context of the organization in the societies with which it came into contact must also be considered in order to understand the full range of options for individual-level actions.

Keywords:   English trade patterns, Asian merchants, Asian commercial institutions, decentralized market exchange, individual-level actions, decentralized ports, trading partnerships

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