British East India Company – A model corporation

beiSo the summation. The British East India Company may very well be the most successful corporation of all time and a model corporation given the charter of a corporation. At one point, it’s wealth could very well have been on par with the government itself (which is a different top as to whether a government should have "wealth"). The British East India Company, referred here as BEI had actually done and accomplished the following:

  1. was granted an exclusive monopoly on trades with the East Indies
  2. formed and ran it’s own military, not paramilitary or mercenary faction, a full fledged military
  3. build it’s own axillary government and established rule over India…yes, a company ruled a country
  4. paid no taxes on trade in and out of India
  5. hired Captain Kidd to attack ships of other companies and countries
  6. established cities and created economies

And all this from a public traded company. So this brings into question, and some parallels, today’s modern corporation, with examples like Haliburton and it’s subsidiaries, ExxonMobile, Monsanto and others that have overwhelming influence over politicians, unchecked control of their actions, obvious by the results. So how does this really parallel to today?

  1. BEI had exclusive monopoly on trades with the East Indies, oil companies today have monopolies on contracts where 75% of the profit remains with the company
  2. BEI ran it’s own military, but today’s companies have the US military at it’s disposal. Think Iraq.
  3. BEI built it’s own axillary government. Make no mistake that foreign governments that were not favorable to American businesses were removed or had a rough time existing. Several South American and African countries come to mind
  4. BEI paid no taxes on trade. Many "American" companies are headquartered in the Bahamas to avoid taxes, although they have very large federal and state contracts. A major IT outsourcing company does this.
  5. BEI hired Captain Kidd to attack other ships. Don’t think for a minute that corporations don’t sabotage their competitors
  6. BEI established cities and created economies. Today’s companies may do the same, but once they drain the resources, they are gone, leaving that place in ruins.

Now, how can this be from a publicly traded company if the majority of Americans are good people. Well, 50% of all outstanding shares in America are owned by 10% of the people. And of that 10%, 1% own literally 85% of those shares. And the role of the corporation is to make money for their shareholders, by any means. Legally or sometimes illlegally, depending on who’s money is messed with.

Also note that the flag is the official flag of the British East India Company, 1707–1801. While there is much speculation, and no official explanation of the original flag of the Continental Congress that Betsy Ross sewed, as to the meanings of the colors and design, it’s similar to the BEI flag. So, is our flag based on a corporate flag?

From Wikipedia: The British East India Company, sometimes referred to as "John Company", was one of the first joint-stock companies. It was granted an English Royal Charter by Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600, with the intention of favouring trade privileges in India. The Royal Charter effectively gave the newly created Honourable East India Company (HEIC) a 21 year monopoly on all trade in the East Indies. The Company transformed from a commercial trading venture to one that virtually ruled India as it acquired auxiliary governmental and military functions, until its dissolution in 1858.

Based in London, the company presided over the creation of the British Raj. In 1617, the Company was given trade rights by the Mughal Emperor. 100 years later, it was granted a royal dictate from the Emperor exempting the Company from the payment of custom duties in Bengal, giving it a decided commercial advantage in the Indian trade. A decisive victory by Sir Robert Clive at the Battle of Plassey
in 1757 established the British East India Company as a military as
well as a commercial power. By 1760, the French were driven out of
India, with the exception of a few trading posts on the coast, such as Pondicherry.

The Company also had interests along the routes to India from Great Britain. As early as 1620, the company attempted to lay claim to the Table Mountain region in South Africa, later it occupied and ruled St Helena. The Company also established Hong Kong and Singapore; employed Captain Kidd to combat piracy; and cultivated the production of tea in India. Other notable events in the Company’s history were that it held Napoleon captive on St Helena, and made the fortune of Elihu Yale. Its products were the basis of the Boston Tea Party in Colonial America.

Its shipyards provided the model for St Petersburg, elements of its administration survive in the Indian bureaucracy, and its corporate structure was the most successful early example of a joint stock company. However, the demands of Company officers on the treasury of Bengal contributed tragically to the province’s incapacity in the face of a famine which killed millions in 1770-1773.