The Merchant Family as a Business Enterprise

C. A. Bayly

in Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars

Third edition

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077466
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081110 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series

The Merchant Family as a Business Enterprise

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This chapter considers the merchant family in north India during pre-colonial and early periods as a business enterprise. It suggests that many of the patterns of behaviour which seem to characterise the family firm of nineteenth-century north India can be understood as tactics to avoid the risks of operating in a peculiarly hostile business climate. It explains that from early youth, children in merchant families were taught that good business involved the constant division of capital into small, manageable portfolios. It also discusses business management practices including double entry bookkeeping and the use of a central daily cash book.

Keywords: merchant family; business enterprise; family firm; business climate; portfolios; business management practices; bookkeeping

Chapter.  15316 words. 

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