George is still retailing this little lie

One estimate suggests that, over the course of 200 years, the British extracted from India, at current prices, $45tn. They used this money to fund industrialisation at home and the colonisation of other nations, whose wealth was then looted in turn.

I did once try to track down this absurd number. It’s in one of those academic books that cost $hundreds and I never did manage to read the paper itself. But it’s balderdash even so.

Current UK wealth is around £15 trillion. So how did we nick $45 trillion from elsewhere?

What I think has happened is that Indian (Marxist, possibly even Maoist I think she is) writer misunderstanding, or misrepresenting, how letters of credit work.

Sigh.

10 thoughts on “George is still retailing this little lie”

  1. I’d argue that the Indians owe Britain at least the 45 trillion.

    The Brits went to India to trade. Indeed the East India Company was always most annoyed when their people in India were wasting cash on war that should have gone into the shareholders pockets.

    You’ll have noted that if the Brits hadn’t had to fight off the Frogs in India, they might have avoided a lot of the costs of the Seven Years War. Certainly they would have had the resources available to stop those wicked Yankee tax avoiders evading the clutches of His Majesty’s tax collectors.

    Thus the failure of the Injuns to provide a properly administered trading environment means that they owe the UK at least all the money that the US government has laid hands on since 1776. When do you think they’ll pay up?

  2. Economist Utsa Patnaik says West should set aside a portion of its gross domestic product for unqualified annual transfers to developing countries

    So she’s invented “foreign aid”.

  3. I suggest we should collect employer’s national insurance from the Indian railways. They didn’t have any before we arrived, they didn’t pay any compensation when we left and they haven’t extended the network since.
    Our creation of a million jobs should be rewarded.

  4. I had an Indian friend who was entirely honourable. I have to remind myself of his existence almost every time I read anything by an Indian historian, economist, …

  5. So who in the West will take on this ridiculous obligation to compensate the cheated India?

    Rishi Sunak? oh.

  6. The Hindu Revival is also encouraging a lot of bullshit conveyers to hasten their wares to market. Everything was invented in India or by Indians if you believe these lads. They are also encouraging all sorts of regressive crap such as a strengthening of caste boundaries etc. One of the main reasons India is infested with cheats and scammers.

  7. The Brits made their money by buying stuff in India and selling it in Europe. The Indians were perfectly free to build large, seagoing ships, set off across the oceans around the Cape ( either of them), and sell their own goods directly. But they didn’t.

  8. Mark

    Didn’t.

    Perhaps they could’ve – there were ships to copy, and crew to be hired, but the pertinent thing is that they didn’t.

    May be to do with the culture of India as a whole back then; from the very limited reading I have done, it appears that the only notable technology innovation they’d managed before the arrival of trading Brits was the invention of the war rocket. Now, there’s a basis for a rich and and growing society, eh?

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