An Economic History of Early Modern India
Routledge – 2013 – 174 pages
The death of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1707 until the annexation of Maratha territories by the British East India Company in 1818 was a period of transition for the economy of India. This book focuses on these transitions, and shows how a study of this period of Indian history contributes to a deeper understanding of the long-run patterns of economic change in India.
Momentous changes occurred in business and politics in India during the eighteenth century - the expansion of trade with Europe and the collapse of the Mughal Empire, resulting in the formation of a number of independent states. This book analyses how these two forces were interrelated, and how they went on to change livelihoods and material wellbeing in the region. Using detailed studies of markets, institutions, rural and urban livelihoods, and the standard of living, it develops a new perspective on the history of eighteenth century India, one that places business at the centre, rather than the transition to colonial rule.
This book is the first systematic account of the economic history of early modern India, and an essential reference for students and scholars of Economics and South Asian History.
‘This book should be required reading for anyone studying either ‘early modern’ India or the colonial impact on South Asia, where it offers a valuable starting point…The debates it addresses are essential to any serious understanding both of ‘early modern’ India and the nature of the colonial impact.’
David Washbrook, University of Cambridge, UK
‘The author makes the original and interesting argument that the success of the East India Company had to do with introducing market discipline into the process of collecting taxes…The book is extremely useful and comprehensive, and tries to see how all the parts fit together.’
Susan Wolcott, Binghamton University, USA
1. Introduction: The ‘Early Modern’ in Indian Economic History 2. Formation of New States 3. Consequences of State Formation: Colonialism, Public Goods, and Institutions 4. The Agrarian Order 5. Conditions of Business 6. Towns 7. Levels of Living 8. Conclusion
Tirthankar Roy is Professor of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. His previous publications include India in the World Economy from Antiquity to the Present (2012), The Economic History of India 1857-1947 (3d edition, 2011), and Rethinking Economic Change in India: Labour and Livelihood (Routledge, 2005).