George Monbiot tells us that:
colonial looting and much of the £30tn bled from India were invested into grand houses and miles of wall: blood money translated into neoclassical architecture.
As all British land and housing added together ain’t worth £30 trillion that’s not where the money went. An as India never did have £30 trillion to steal it wasn’t either. So, where’s the idea come from?
A book review at Al Jazeera. Hmm. A book – or a bit of it – by Utsa Patnaik.
The method is, apparently, something to do with India Council Bills. If you wanted to transfer money to India to buy stuff you paid in gold (or sterling, obvs) in London, the bill was sent, the seller received silver or rupees in India. This means – according to the book – that you were paid out of Indian tax revenues. Thus all exports were stolen.
I think that’s the nub of the argument. Looks a bit handwavey to me to be honest. I have found references to people thinking prices were a bit out of line at times so they sent silver direct instead. Which would seem to indicate that the buyers of goods saw no difference at least.
Just wondering where this idea came from – the theft of £30 trillion – and then, well, what is it that those alleging have got wrong? Any financial historians of the Raj around here?