George Monbiot’s claim of the $45 trillion theft from India.

George Monbiot has, a couple of times, referred to the manner in which Britain stole $45 trillion from India.

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.

The full paper showing that isn’t easy to find. I eventually contacted the publisher of the academic tome it appears in and asked for a copy – I’m not willing to spend hundreds of $ (hey, academic book prices) tracking something like this down so I wasn’t going to buy one. It’s likely they did but Portuguese customs is a little odd. They informed me that there was a package I had to do customs clearance for. OK. So, who is it from, what is it, can you let me have a copy of the shipping invoice? Nope – I must already know who has sent me what. So, if I don;t already have a copy of the invoice then I can’t have one nor the package. So, back to the US it went.

Sigh.

Then I got sent a .pdf of the specific paper. What follows is notes on me reading of it – I’ve not started reading yet, so this will be a little disjointed. But by the end we should be able to see how the $45 trillion was constructed. Even, whether it’s the piffle I am predisposed to think it is.

The West European powers transferred economic surplus from
their colonies on a very large scale, and this substantially aided both
their domestic industrial transition from the eighteenth century and the
subse­quent diffusion of capitalism to the regions of recent European
settlement.

Well, that’s sorta arguable. In fact lots of folks do argue it. But leave it be. I’m much more interested in her calculation of the $45 trillion.

The literature on industrial transition in the core countries in the
eighteenth-nineteenth centuries ignores almost completely this existing
discussion on the drain of wealth, or transfers from the colonies.2 The
mainstream interpretation posits a purely internal dynamic for the rise of
capitalist industrialization, and some authors argue that the colonies were
a burden on the metropolis which would have been better off if they had
been ‘given away’.

Well, OK, as she herself says, the normal interpretation isn’t that the centre drained the wealth from the colonies at all. But that’s fine, if you’re going to offer a contrarian view you do have to be contrarian, after all.

The terms ‘drain from colonies’ and ‘transfers from colonies’ are used
synonymously.

Ah. That may or may not become a problem. A transfer from could be “we’ve just bought something so here’s the cash now where’s the thing?”. A drain presupposes that there is no thing in return. Saying that both are the same isn’t quite right, is it?

Let us consider the beginning of the transfer process. The East India
Company’s trade monopoly started from 1600; it had to pay for its import
surplus from Asia with silver, arousing the ire of the early mercantilists.
The Company acquired tax revenue-collecting rights in Bengal province
in 1765, and the substantive drain started precisely from that date. Some
form of drain was already taking place through underpayment for goods
by using coercion on petty producers, but this was nothing compared to
the bonanza after 1765, when free acquisition of export goods by using
local taxes started.

Ah. So, local taxes are raised. This is then used to buy goods for export. This is the drain. Hmm. We might run into accounting issues here as exports are usually accounted as an addition to gross domestic product, not a diminution of it.

But we’ve a further conceptual problem here. Which is the insistence that taxes not spent upon those they are collected from are a drain. Which gives us that bit of a problem. We’ve just had the suggestion that Bezos should pay $50 billion in tax and no, that would not be spent upon Bezos. Should we regard this as a drain? One that’s morally unacceptable that is? Or perhaps we might consider Mao’s taxation of Chinese farmers. The tax was in the form of actual food – in the middle of famine – and the food was then sent to, among others, East Germany. This a rain upon China?

Or perhaps today and now. Britons are taxed in order to provide foreign aid. Is this a drain upon Britons? The claim about India says that it is. So, all happy with agreeing that it is then?

Britain saw a steadily increasing and completely costless inflow of tax-financed commodities – textiles, rice, saltpetre, indigo, opium, raw cotton, jute – which far exceeded its own requirements, the excess being re-exported.

No, don;t think that’s really right. The consumers in Britain didn’t get their jute for free, nor did the Dundee factories get it for the cost of the freight only. Someone was still paying for these things. It’s possible that that money just went to John Company (except obviously not after 1856) but it seems unlikely.

Suppose that a peasant-cum-artisan producer in India paid Rs 100 tax to
the state, and sold 10 yards of cloth and 2 bags of rice worth in total Rs 50 to a
local trader. This sale would be a normal market transaction and not connected in
any way to his tax payment, since the trader would advance his own funds for the
purchase in the usual way, expecting to sell the cloth and rice, and recoup his
outlay with a profit. Now, suppose not a local trader but an agent of the Company
bought the 10 yards of cloth and 2 bags of rice for export from the
peasant-cum-artisan producer by ‘paying’ him Rs 50 of the same producer’s own
money, out of the Rs 100 tax taken from him.

This means that everyone who sells something to the UK government and is paid by UK taxation – say a nurse in the NHS – is not in fact being paid anything. This is not a valid view of the circle of taxation and state expenditure.

In effect he handed over these goods for export completely free to the Company, as the commodity
equivalent of Rs 50 tax, worth say £5 (at the current exchange rate of Rs 10 to £1).

Also, no. For John Company also provided governance to that part of India. Maybe not good governance – although compared to the immediately preceding Moghul probably rather good – but governance all the same. Famine relief public works and all the rest as well. Maybe not as much as was raised in taxation. Maybe it wasn’t a good deal. But the idea that government is free and that taxation is required to pay for it does seem more than a little extreme.

The transfer or drain consisted in the fact that export surplus was the
product equivalent of taxes paid in by colonized producers, so its external sale value
did not come back to these producers. The high pro­pensity of foreign consumers to
consume tropical goods, which appeared as a merchandise import surplus, namely,
a trade deficit of Britain vis-a.­vis India (up to the 1840s), did not create any external
payment liability for Britain, as its trade deficit with a sovereign partner, like say
France, did. Britain’s perpetual trade deficit with France had to be settled in the
normal way through outflow of specie (precious metals), or borrowing, or a
combination of the two, and this was true of its deficits with all other sovereign
regions. It was also true of its trade with India up to 1765 which involved silver
outflow. After that date, when local tax collection began, the situation changed
completely.
On Britain’s external account the cloth and rice import from India now
created zero payment liability since Indian producers had been ‘paid’ already out of
their own tax contribution – namely, not paid at all. This clever system of getting
goods free as the commodity equivalent of eco­nomic surplus, extracted as taxes,
was the essence of the drain, of transfer.

And that’s the mechanism posited. Which does, rather, miss the point that the governance provided did in fact cost something.

In fact, we can check that. From Hansard, just before the Mutiny:

INDIAN FINANCE— 1851–52.
I. BENGAL:
Revenue £7,584,435
Local Charges 1,936,362
Local Surplus … … £5,648,073
NORTH-WESTERN PROVINCES:
Revenue 5,670,715
Local Charges 1,402,238
Local Surplus … … 4,268,477
Military Charges of Bengal and North-Western Provinces 5,442,230
Net Revenue of Bengal and North-Western Provinces … … … … £13,255,150
Charges of Bengal and North-Western Provinces … … … … 8,770,330
Surplus available for General Purposes of India … … …… … … £4,484,820
II. MADRAS:
Revenue … … … … 3,704,048
Charges … … … … 3,204,273
Surplus available for General Purposes of India … … … … … … 499,775
III. BOMBAY:
Revenue … … … … 2,868,298
Charges … … … … 2,847,392
Surplus available for General Purposes of India … … …… … … 20,906
Total Revenues of the several Presidencies … … …… 19,827,496
Total Charges of the several Presidencies … … … … 14,822,495
Total Surplus of ditto … … … … …… 5,005,001
Interest on Indian Debt … … … … 1,967,359
Charges defrayed in England … … … … 2,506,377
Total Charges on Indian Revenues … … … … … … 4,473,736
Surplus of Income over Expenditure … … … … … … … … £531,265

We can reject that idea of “free” rather easily. There were costs associated with running the place, costs which came out of that local taxation. Sure, there’s a profit there and we could quibble that that’s what is meant. But in no manner can we claim that the tax revenue had no costs associated with it. Therefore the revenue wasn’t free and nor could the goods possibly be so.

This isn’t good economics I’m afraid:

This very important material reality of
asymmetric production capacities, that actually explains the historic drive by
European countries to coloni­ally subjugate more productive tropical areas, was
not only ignored by David Ricardo, but this real reason was explicitly assumed
away by him.
Ricardo assumed in his two-country, two-goods model that ‘both
countries produce both goods’ – indeed his assumption was that ‘all countries
produce all goods’ – while arguing that specialization and exchange according
to comparative cost advantage led to mutual benefit.

The material fact was ignored that unit cost of production could not be de-fined for
tropical goods imported by cold temperate European countries, where the output of
such goods was, and always will be, zero. What is the ‘cost of production’ per
unit of coffee in Germany, or of cane sugar in England? Where a good cannot
even be produced, no cost of produc­tion exists. ‘Comparative cost’, to be
comparable at all, requires that we know for each trading country, the number of
units of good B producible by redirecting to it the labour released by reducing the
output of good A by one unit. Thus it is essential for the theory to hold that both
goods can actually be produced in both countries, but this was, and continues to
be, impossible for temperate countries with regard to tropical products.

As Adam Smith pointed out we can make wine in Scotland. Insane to do so but we can. And then three’s that bad economics, substitution. Cane sugar? What do you think sugar beet is but a temperate world substitute for a tropical world product? So that’s a bad fail there.

Since the
assumption that ‘both countries produce both goods’ is not true, the inference of
mutual benefit does not follow.
24 On the contrary, historical evidence shows that
the less powerful country obliged, .for non-economic reasons, to specialize in
export crops loses out through area diversion leading to falling domestic
foodgrains output, and as it is kept compulso­rily open to imports of
manufactures, sees domestic deindustrialization. Modern economics textbooks
continue to carry Ricardo’s argument for free trade, ignoring the glaring fallacy
that makes the theory incorrect.

No love, it’s your argumentation that’s bad, not Ricardo.

Note this lovely reverse ferret:

By 1833 the East India Company’s already eroded trade monopoly finally ended
owing to demands from English manufacturers who, hav­ing displaced Indian
textiles from European markets, wanted free access to the Indian market. India’s
exports to Britain declined, imports grew fast, and, by about the late 1840s,
India’s trade with Britain showed a deficit as deindustrializing imports, mainly of
yarn and cloth, poured in. But Indian exports to the world continued to rise
and exceed the new deficit with Britain, so that an overall rising global export
surplus was always maintained (see Table 1 and Figure 1). The current value
annual merchandise export surplus rose from Rs 3.4 crore during 1833-35 to
Rs 87.2 crore by 1917-19, at a compound growth rate of 3.94 per cent. Owing
to rupee depreciation from the 1870s, in terms of sterling· the growth rate is
lower at 3.5 per cent. From 1833 onwards, British India’s exports to the world
were no longer routed exclusively through Britain’s ports but increasingly were
sent directly to foreign destinations, the most important being the European
Continent, China (the opium trade), later the Americas, and Japan.
The drain increased as internal revenue collections rose, but it was
now effected in a more roundabout manner than the earlier direct unrequited
merchandise export surplus to Britain, since the latter no longer existed as
English manufactures were dumped on India.

When Britain was sending stuff back to India in return this was still exploitation. Because the British manufactures, ripped untimely from the hands of their producers, were “dumped”. This is cakeism.

And here’s another lovely misunderstanding:

The solution that was worked out was, in principle, both simple and
effective: the Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, would issue
rupee bills of exchange to foreign importers of Indian goods, against deposits
with him of gold, sterling and their own currencies

Yes, that’s how bills of exchange work. Hawala banking still does. We’re netting off flows of money by circulating the stuff in one place to pay bills in that one place, the same at the other end in the respective currencies. Only the net flow has to travel, not the gross. This is how dollar or euro clearing in London works today as well. It’s hardly a plot.

Because the entire net
earnings of gold and forex of Indian producers were appropriated by Britain, and
even their rupee equivalent was not paid to the producers in the normal way but
out of their own taxes, it was perfectly logical and entirely correct for Naoroji and
Dutt to call it ‘unrequited’ export surplus.3

This is also the way the entirety of British industry worked under post WWII exchange controls. And?

India’s Export Surplus earnings from the world were precisely what
Britain appropriated in toto, while the earners of this gold and forex continued
to be defrauded of their earnings by being reimbursed out of their own rupee
tax contributions … Table 2 shows the remarkable long­term near-equality
oflndia’s total export surplus (£617.6 million) and the sterling expenditures in
England on account of the sum of ‘drain’ items (£621 million) over the 65
years.

Or, to read it another way, the cost of running India was the same as the profit to be made by running India.

The drain for the entire period comes to £9,184.41 billion, on a
highly underestimated basis since the interest rate applied is much lower
than the market rate

So it’s not $45 trillion at all but £9 billion in pre-1945 money. And that’s an overestimate as they’ve used a real interest rate of 5% when actually it was 2.6%. Real, not nominal, rates.

But here’s the basic trick being employed. The goods export surplus is the sign of the drain. No allowance whatsoever is made for any of the invisibles imports being of benefit to the Indian economy. So, all invisibles are accounted as merely being the rip off applied.

And that just ain’t true now, is it?

22 thoughts on “George Monbiot’s claim of the $45 trillion theft from India.”

  1. As I posted earlier: it wasn’t looted, it was bought. But socialists and their understanding of transactions.

  2. Have you read The Anarchy by Dalrymple, a history of the East India Company ? It’s a picture of a group who were more pirates than colonialists.

  3. When the Irish Free State set up in business it turned out that Britain had been subsidising Ireland not vice versa. I suspect that such a truth became undeniable only once the divorce had been made and the books at last spoke for themselves.

  4. Calidonian:
    The article (thanks for the link) mentions that updated calculations (compounding the ‘drain’ to 2020, rather than 2016) increases the claim from 45Tr to 64Tr.
    Apparently representative interest rates over the past four years have been much higher than my experience:
    64 / 45 = 1.422x growth
    1.422 ^ (1/4) = 1.092
    Implied growth rate = 9.2%
    When you’re economically illiterate, what’s wrong wtih throwing in a deliberate lie?

  5. To me the Indians failed to provide a safe environment for the Brits to trade, and allowed them to be attacked and robbed.

    Thus any loot the Brits garnered was the fault of the Injuns, as they should have administered their country properly, instead of dumping the burden on a pack of foreigners. If they’d run things properly, the cash would all have been stolen by honest Injun bureaucrats instead of the awful English.

    Of course you may feel that this is my usual, ‘I know the answer, now what’s the question’ approach.

  6. From economic historian Deirdre McCloskey:

    But imperialism, it can be shown, did not much help the British, or the First World generally, to an Industrial Revolution and modern economic growth.

    True, the doctrine that imperialism made the West rich at the expense of the East and South is held passionately by the left in the West, and by nearly everybody elsewhere. But understand: the counterargument does not praise imperialism, or excuse it. The counterargument claims that it was economically stupid.

    The simplest and historical argument is that the West did not really get going in its imperial adventure until it had innovated in steam, steel ships, cartridge rifles, and machine guns—that is, after the Industrial Revolution, not before. As Goldstone puts it, “It was not colonialism and conquest that made possible the rise of the West, but the reverse—it was the rise of the West (in terms of technology) and the decline of the rest that made possible the full extension of European power across the globe.”4 Lenin had it right: imperialism, the last stage of capitalism.

    The modern corollary of the historical argument is that the prosperity of the West depends not at all, or at its worst very little, on exploiting the Third World.

    ….British imperialism was about protecting the sea routes to India. Yet India itself yielded no economic benefit to the average person in Britain. It had therefore no economic point.

    ….If imperialism was so very subordinating of Indian interests to British, furthermore, why were Indian cotton textile factories allowed to grow in the late nineteenth century? “Given the widespread impression that India’s industrial development was impossible because of implacable British hostility to Indian competition,” writes Om Prakash, “India’s cotton-mill history seems paradoxical: it flourished despite competing against the most important, the most internationally aggressive and politically most powerful industry in Britain. Its rapid expansion began only after 1870, but by 1910 the Indian industry had become one of the world’s largest,” presaging a deep depression for the British industry after the Great War. 10 (A somewhat similar point could be made, about the Japanese cotton textile industry, which again belies the infant-industry notion, especially popular in Germany earlier, that late industrializers had no chance against Manchester’s might.)

    And even if the trade with India contained some element of exploitation, which is unlikely, and certainly has never been proven, the trade was lower than Britain’s trade with rich countries like France or the German Empire or the United States. In 1899, Angus Maddison reckoned, the U.K. exported goods (that is, excluding services and bonds) to Imperial India of $153 millions worth (9.5 percent of all British commodity exports). Exports to Europe and the U.S. at the time were $728 millions, nearly five times the Indian total. Even confined to manufactures (and thus excluding steam coal from South Wales, for example) the India trade was well below half of British exports to countries who themselves were big exporters of manufactures (the same Europe and the U.S.), and was merely 14 percent of all British manufacturing exports.

    The way the issue is usually discussed speaks of the “drain” from India, said to be the excess of Indian exports over Indian imports, the trade surplus. (Notice that in strict mercantilist theory, such as that practiced by the Japanese over the century past, a trade surplus is supposed to be good, not bad. The drain theory is a little more sensible, considering that Japanese consumers are indeed made worse off, not better, if Japan exports in value terms more in Toyotas than it imports in soybeans. The Japanese nation is made worse off. (The mercantilism would be especially damaging to the Japanese if the assets the Japanese bought in the United States to square the balance of payment were paid back in depreciated dollars [about a half in the event] or if like the Japanese purchase of Rockefeller Center the assets did not pay back at all. After the American anti-oriental hysteria during the 1970s over the Japanese Invasion, all these misfortunes for Japanese consumers and investors in fact came to pass.) One might suppose in parallel, then, that the export of raw jute and cotton from India in, say, 1900, is to be taken as a national loss to the degree it is greater than the imports of railway engines and steel. According to Angus Maddison’s careful calculations, it was on the order of 1 percent of Indian income, and likewise (at any rate before World War I) about 1 percent of British income (Britain was richer but smaller).12

    But anyway there is something wacky about the concept of the drain. The Indians got gold and silver and British bank accounts in pounds sterling for having a trade surplus—unless the exports were simply stolen from them, which after the age of the nabobs is nowhere alleged, and is not beyond reasonable doubt even for the nabobs, as the trial of Warren Hastings showed. Unlike the mercantilist Japanese seeking to have higher exports before anything in the 1970s, the Indian creditors of British firms demanded payment. Now consider. The goods-and- services account, called also the trade balance, is exports minus imports— not merely goods but, say, Indian imports of British services, such as insurance. The overall balance of payments, which is the goods-and-services account together with the capital-and-monetary account, must always balance, to the last farthing. You pay for your groceries either by paying from income you have earned by selling your labor or by borrowing from your bank and then paying. In either case your overall balance of payments—dollars of expenditure minus income, which is dollars of earned income plus borrowing—is exactly zero, always. That is a matter of accounting, not economics. It is always true, by definition of the accounts. Unrequited payments—gifts or thefts—are accounted payments for “services” of benevolence or malevolence. An Indian firm exports tea to England, for which someone in India is paid in sterling. Its Indian owners, its suppliers, and its workersspend the money thus acquired in part to buy British goods, such as steel or boots. If such Indians (or other Indians having no connection with the tea exports) do not buy enough in Britain or elsewhere they keep the pound notes or bank accounts or the IOUs or the gold that paid for the tea. The Indians are free to spend the money on British goods. They might choose not to. But their choice does not transform the money balances they retain into a measure of a hurtful “drain.”

    Think again of your own balances of payments. You export more labor services to your employer than the labor services you import from him (none, probably). You have a balance of trade surplus in labor with your employer. Do you feel “drained”? Of course you would prefer to get food and shelter for no expenditure of your labor at all, in the manner of a Mughal prince, or the divided princelings whom the British kept in power. But, no, in a world of trade you are not drained. You take the money paid by your employer and spend it at the grocery store (and the store, too, has a “drain,” a surplus of exports over imports, relative to you: does that make you the exploiting Raj over the grocery store?) Or else, like the Indians, you keep your money in gold necklaces in Pushkar or bank balances in London. The world is composed of such “drains,” between your house and the neighbors, between Ealing and Hampstead. All exchange, 100 percent of it, becomes on balance a shameful exploitation. That’s what I mean by “wacky.”*
    In short, the average person in Britain got little or nothing out of the British Empire.

    …. The cost of protecting the Empire devolved almost entirely on the British people at home. (A century earlier the British people had likewise paid for the defense of the first empire. Notoriously, the colonials in North America refused to pay even a little for imperial defense against the French and Indians.) British taxpayers at home 1877-1948 paid for the half of naval expenditure that was for imperial defense, a by-no-means negligible part of total British national income each year.14 Give the figure They paid for the First War against the Boer republics (1880-1881, lost but cheap) and the Second (1899-1902,won but expensive). They paid for the imperial portions of World Wars I and especially II. They paid for protection of Jamaican sugar during the eighteenth century and special deals for British engineering firms in India during the nineteenth. They paid in fatalities, 800,000 in the First World War and 380,000 in the Second, and lost all their foreign assets, too. For the great British Empire the great British public paid and paid and paid.

    What were the vaunted benefits to the British people? Essentially nothing of material worth.

    ….Economically, materially, it did not matter. Standards of literacy exceeding those of Southern Europe mattered a great deal more to later British economic growth, as did a tradition of industrial and financial innovation exceeding those of Germany, and a free society in which to innovate exceeding that of Russia, and above all an early shift to a rhetoric of bourgeois virtues exceeding most of the world. Look at the accounting and the magnitudes. Most of British national income was and is domestic. This is true of all countries much larger than Luxembourg or Singapore. And what income there was from abroad was largely a matter of mutually advantageous trade having nothing to do with empire—Britain invested as much in places like the United States and Argentina as in comparable areas of the Empire, and there is no evidence in any case that returns to investment were especially high.

    ….Did the acquisition of Empire, then, cause spurts in British growth? By no means. Indeed, as I said, at the climax of imperial pretension, in the 1890s and 1900s, holding sway to the east and west of Suez, the growth of British real income per head notably slowed.

    ….. The temptation to attribute the Industrial Revolution to the overseas adventures of the Europeans from the 1490s to the 1950s comes from the confusion I have noted before in Landes, Kennedy, Diamond, Findlay, O’Rourke, and many other between conquest and enrichment. And it comes from the crude correlation in time. Again it is a case of post hoc—or rather dum hoc—ergo propter hoc. It is true that the British for example prospered at the about same time that they acquired their empire—although, to repeat, the crucial industrializing decade of the 1780s, just to take one temporal problem with the argument, is precisely when Britain lost its first empire and had not established a firm grip over its second one.

    https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/211593761.pdf

  7. Yes, her interest rates interested me. 5% she uses at some point in the paper. And also inflation. So she’s suggesting a 5% real interest rate. Risk free of course. Which is ludicrous.

    What she’s done at that last. She’s use a rupee interest rate but applied it to a £ or $ sum. Which is silly/naughty. If you use the Rs interest rate then you’ve got to also use the currency weakeness.

  8. Rule of life. Before considering what you are being told, ask the question; why am I being told this?

  9. Somethimg which occurs to me and I shall have to check up on it: surely the EIC did not tax the population directly outdide its own trading cities ? They taxed the local princes who in turn taxed the populace. A great deal of this missing money is in the corrupt practices of both the EIC’s employees and agents and the princes inside India and not flowing to the EIC’s coffers back home.

    By the way Tim, typo in your original post – £9,000 billion or £9 trillion.

  10. George Monbiot must by now have severe arthritis and RSI in his wrists from all the handwringing, and need knee replacements from the amount of time he’s on the floor in supplication, for the many original sins of the UK.

  11. It seems to me that Monboit qualifies as a useful idiot so far as conservatives are concerned. We often point out how progressive policies will harm and impoverish people, to the left’s insistence that it’s not the case at all. Monboit comes right out and says it; that their intention is to make people poorer or at least to keep a lid on their aspirations.

  12. The British Empire did some terrible evils.
    More than 100 million around the World killed in famines, war and slavery.
    The potato famine in Ireland killed more than 2 million Irish people.
    I think you would have to very ignorant to think the Empire was good to Ireland, India and Africa.
    How would we like it if someone invaded, wiped out half our population and then said, well we built you some airports, so be grateful?

  13. @ Supporter of Keir
    The first sentence is true of the British Empire as it is of all other empires, but the “some” in the case of the British Empire was far smaller than any other empire of a similar size that I can think of and a lot smaller than many smaller empires.
    I do not know how you get to 100 million unless you are blaming the British Empire for the Napoleonic Wars and WWI and WWII, which even Keir Starmer is too intelligent to do.
    The British Prime Minister, Robert Peel, destroyed his political career in order to alleviate the Irish potato famine – which was caused by a micro-organism which came from Mexico via the USA and not from any part of the British Empire. According to Wikipedia the deaths from the famine were 1 million, not “more than 2 million” – but then you don’t seem to be much good at numbers anyway.
    There is an example of a regime causing 100 million deaths – Mao’s Chinese Communist Party has killed around 80 million directly and many millions more indirectly through its proxies in North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, India (Naxalites) and Burma. It even leaves Stalin in the shade.

  14. I can assure you the British Empire killed 100 million plus in famines, war, and slavery.
    I do not need to spoon feed you the stats. Tens of millions were killed in Indian famines under the British Empire. Some claims put a figure higher than 100 million deaths caused by the British Empire.
    The potato famine was caused by British rule. If famines in Communist China are communisms fault, then famines in the British Empire, are the British Empire’s fault. Why was there no famine in England during the potato famine?

  15. @ Supporter of Keir
    You cannot spoonfeed accurate statistics if you don’t know the difference between one and two and you’re mistaken if you think you can fool me that the British Empire caused the potato blight.
    There was no famine in England because potatoes were a smaller part of English diet and potatoes were not a monoculture in England so the blight was less destructive in England.
    The data for Indian famine deaths under British rule are pretty wide estimates but the worst estimates total far short of 100 million – even if you include the areas of India not under British rule. Central estimates are around one-third of that. I expect you have some reason to support your thesis that the British Empire caused the monsoon to fail in successive years but Cnut is on record as disagreeing with you.

  16. SoK. I’d be happy if you spoon-fed me the statistics. Though I’d argue that British rule in India was certainly superior to what went before.

    Still I prefer the democracy that came after. As the case of Virginia shows, if they piss you off enough, you can throw the bastards out. And of course you get a new pack of bastards in their place.

    But while I have to admire Modi for giving the climate nonsense the flick, I certainly have no time for his demand to be bribed to not carry out his promises to pretend to take it seriously.

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