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Business, race, and politics in British India, c.1850-1960 [electronic resource] /
Maria Misra.
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1999.
description
xiii, 250 p. : ill.
ISBN
0198207115 (Cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1999.
isbn
0198207115 (Cloth)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Title from e-book title screen (viewed October 17, 2007).
catalogue key
7370119
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [229]-242) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-02:
In the history of the British Raj, the managing agency houses, based in Calcutta, commanded immense economic clout, and most private British investment in India was funneled through them. For more than half a century after 1858, they enjoyed immense leverage with the government of India and the provincial governments, given their economic weight and their ability to make themselves heard in the press, through the chambers of commerce, and in municipal politics, as well as later in the central and provincial legislatures. Misra (Oxford) has written a subtle, elegant, and absorbing study of this phenomenon, in which she strenuously argues that the agency houses must be viewed not only in terms of their economic activities but also of their culture and ethos. After WW I, while a mass nationalist movement was emerging, the role of the Indian government, broadly speaking, was to be conciliatory yet increasingly committed to state-directed development. To all this, the agency houses remained impervious, opposed to concessions to nationalism, opposed to Indianization of their workforces in the higher echelons, and opposed to cooperation with the government in industrial development. In Misra's view, they paid a heavy price for this intransigence. Upper-division undergraduates and above. G. R. G. Hambly; University of Texas at Dallas
Reviews
Review Quotes
Misra deftly highlights key differences in cultural attitudes between multinationals and British Managing Agency Houses, and the effect this had on the latter's performance ... The anecdotal evidence is abundant, apt and refreshing ... the study, as a pathfinder, is excellent. Gita Piramal,Business History Review
'Misra ... has written a subtle, elegant, and absorbing study of this phenomenon.'G R G Hambly, CHOICE, February 2000
'The book is a valuable addition to the expanding literature on the evolution of the Indian economy and the relations between business and government. It is balanced and non-dogmatic. It throws valuable light on both the last century of british rule in india and Indian economic development.'D.K. Fieldhouse, English Historical Review, Vol.115 No.461
'This book is a significant contribution to the understanding of the political economy of the managing agency system. Its fresh angle of approach is sustained by the use of a wide range of original sources'American Historical Review, (Oct 2000)
'this is an excellent study of an important subject. The theme of the book is clear throughout, and it is well written, and refreshingly free of pretentious jargon'American Historical Review, (Oct 2000)
'This is a powerfully argued work ... an interesting study of the mechanics of British business in the Indian sub-continent particularly of the nineteenth century. It deserves a wide readership among business, imperial and post-colonial historians alike.' Patricia S. Barton, Business History, Oct.00.
'This is a thoroughly researched, well-documented and marvellous book. It will appeal to scholars of South Asia as well as of business history ... This book sheds light on imperial commercial attitudes and contributes a great deal to the corpus of exciting new work delineating various aspectsof colonial rule in South Asia.'Sumit Majumdar, THES, 19/11/99
'this is an excellent study of an important subject. The theme of the book is clear throughout, and it is well written, and refreshingly free of pretentious jargon'American Historical Review, (Oct 2000)'This book is a significant contribution to the understanding of the political economy of the managing agency system. Its fresh angle of approach is sustained by the use of a wide range of original sources'American Historical Review, (Oct 2000)Misra deftly highlights key differences in cultural attitudes between multinationals and British Managing Agency Houses, and the effect this had on the latter's performance ... The anecdotal evidence is abundant, apt and refreshing ... the study, as a pathfinder, is excellent. Gita Piramal, Business History Review'This is a powerfully argued work ... an interesting study of the mechanics of British business in the Indian sub-continent particularly of the nineteenth century. It deserves a wide readership among business, imperial and post-colonial historians alike.'Patricia S. Barton, Business History, Oct.00.'This is a thoroughly researched, well-documented and marvellous book. It will appeal to scholars of South Asia as well as of business history ... This book sheds light on imperial commercial attitudes and contributes a great deal to the corpus of exciting new work delineating various aspects of colonial rule in South Asia.'Sumit Majumdar, THES, 19/11/99'The book is a valuable addition to the expanding literature on the evolution of the Indian economy and the relations between business and government. It is balanced and non-dogmatic. It throws valuable light on both the last century of british rule in india and Indian economic development.'D.K. Fieldhouse, English Historical Review, Vol.115 No.461'Misra ... has written a subtle, elegant, and absorbing study of this phenomenon.'G R G Hambly, CHOICE, February 2000
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2000
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This new study examines the political, racial and economic attitudes of an important group of British businessmen in India between 1850 and 1960. In explaining their decline, this study casts new light on British colonial society in India.
Long Description
This is a study of the political and economic activities of an important group of British businessmen in India between 1850 and 1960. Though denounced by Indian nationalists as the economic arm of the British Raj, the firms of these 'Managing Agents' seemed unassailable before the First World War. However, during the inter-war period they rapidly lost their commanding position to both Indian and other foreign competitors. Dr Misra argues that the failure of these firms was, in part, the consequence of their particular (and ultimately self-defeating) attitudes towards business, politics, and race. She casts new light on British colonial society in India, and makes an important contribution to current debates on the nature of the British Empire and the causes of Britain's relative economic decline.
Long Description
This study examines the political, racial, and economic attitudes of an important group of British businessmen in India. In explaining the reasons for their decline, Misra casts new light on British colonial society and makes an important contribution to the current debate on the role of race and culture in the erosion of British imperial power.
Main Description
This is a study of the political and economic activities of an important group of British businessmen in India between 1850 and 1960. Though denounced by Indian nationalists as the economic arm of the British Raj, the firms of these 'Managing Agents' seemed unassailable before the First WorldWar. However, during the inter-war period they rapidly lost their commanding position to both Indian and other foreign competitors. Dr Misra argues that the failure of these firms was, in part, the consequence of their particular (and ultimately self-defeating) attitudes towards business, politics,and race. She casts new light on British colonial society in India, and makes an important contribution to current debates on the nature of the British Empire and the causes of Britain's relative economic decline.
Table of Contents
Introduction
The Origins of the Managing Houses, 1860-1919
The Managing Agency Houses in the Era of High Imperialism, 1860-1919
The Managing Agencies and the Indian Economy, 1919-1947
The Partnership Firm and its Critics
Industry and Innovation
Commerce and Finance
Expatriate Enterprise, Race, and Politics
Business, Race, and Economic Nationalism
Business, the State, and Economic Development, 1919-1947
Business, Politics, and Reform, 1919-1947
British Business and Independence, 1947-1970
Conclusion
Bibliography
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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