Tirthankar Roy

in Company of Kinsmen

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780198063780
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080144 | DOI:

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This book has examined how rules of cooperation emerged in South Asia and how they changed in more modern times. The actions of merchants, peasants, artisans, and workers in the pre-colonial business world were coordinated by guilds composed of kinsmen. These endogamous guilds, aided by regional states, were respected by rulers and regulated the accumulation and use of labour, capital, land, and knowledge. From the late eighteenth century, personal ties were weakened by an emerging new economy shaped by industrialization, foreign trade, and colonial rule. The informal and personal ways of doing business disappeared, resulting in unstable collectives. Among merchants and bankers, there was an imperceptible creative destruction of the community following the rise to prominence of individuals, families, and other associational rules. Entrepreneurs became successful by relying on old ties and formal institutions. Compromise and dualism were also evident among peasants, workers, and artisans in the twentieth century.

Keywords: South Asia; cooperation; kinsmen; merchants; artisans; peasants; workers; guilds; rulers; business

Chapter.  1386 words. 

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