Chapter

Merchants

Tirthankar Roy

in Company of Kinsmen

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780198063780
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080144 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198063780.003.0004
Merchants

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The word ‘guild’ has sometimes been used to describe business organizations in pre-colonial and colonial India. In Western Europe, the term often connotes a professional association with a charter of rights protected by local and supra-local authorities. In pre-colonial India, however, associations having such attributes were rare. Along several fronts, both within and without, the community became unstable starting from the eighteenth century. This chapter shows how intra- and inter-group disputes in the wake of commercialization in the eighteenth century weakened endogamous guilds among bankers and merchants. First, it highlights trade disputes between the Indian and European merchants. It then looks at hybrid collectives, managing agency contract, private banking, and the growth of a formal world of corporations governed by new laws.

Keywords: India; merchants; endogamous guilds; commercialization; bankers; private banking; trade; contract; corporations; hybrid collectives

Chapter.  15087 words.  Illustrated.

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