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Competition And Control In The Market For Textiles: Indian Weavers And The English East India Company In The Eighteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the implications of the changes in the world market on the fortunes of the Indian weavers and raises two issues: firstly, the monopoly position of the English East India Company (EIC) was not as important as has been argued. Although in specific segments the company exercised monopoly, the textile market in India must be seen as a competitive market. In the last decades of the eighteenth century, the Company agents found it increasingly difficult to meet the export targets, suggesting that weavers could sell to other buyers. Secondly, the developments in the Indian textile industry must be seen in the context of the developments in world markets, in particular, the British one, which was the hub of international trade. The European companies bought textile goods through a network of intermediaries. The weavers undertook production on the basis of advances made by merchants as done in Europe.

Keywords: English East India Company (EIC); European companies; Indian weavers; textile market; world market



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