Talk at Princeton in April

“‘The East as a Career’ – How Disraeli, Marx, Charnok and Clive met in India”
I want to think about some specific small scenes from Marx’s writings on India, mostly from his journalism and notes, that address the East India Company sending assessors to Bengal and dates like 1690, 1757, 1857, so as to suggest a necessary remap of socio-political contact and the ways concepts like exchange, the social, politics, tolerance, trade and custom might need renovation today, for studies of the past and the present. Charnok, Suraj-ud-Dualla, Clive, Knox feature…

4 thoughts on “Talk at Princeton in April

  1. The themes are enormously interesting and rich. I do not know if these could be added to your list of concepts- monopoly, order-mongering( Marx’s phrase for the world order enforced by the great powers), narcotrafikking, swindling, financial deficit etc


  2. One figure missing from your list is Thomas Malthus. He was employed by the East India Co. and as a professor at Hailebury college, he was influential in training a generation of British administrators in India. These men worshipped political economy as a ‘fetish’ and Malthusian principles were invoked in England to legitimise Indian famine policy. Lord Lytton, India’s Nero oversaw millions of deaths in India. Marx had utter contempt for Malthus and wrote a lot about his inhumane principles. So there is connection here ‘East as a career’ – the chaps were armed with a vicious theory at Hailebury. I must say that Malthusianism still has a tremendous purchase on the British outlook towards the world- overpopulation is the common answer to the miseries of the world not the capitalist system.


    1. Hi

      Not so much left out, as set aside for different treatment (as in lecture three). The dates determine which members of Marx’s FB friends and acquaintances list get discussed this time. 1690, 1756, 1857 this time. These dates are key to the reasons we need to rethink concepts like local and trade from the other end. Calcutta as first city of empire, through which value flows…

      Etc., its a routine I have tread before. The cast may change, but the need to play remains the same. Fubula narratur and all that…

      All good. Thanks for your comments as ever.



    2. 1757… Typo And 1857 should really be 57-59. The very years Marx was writing the grundrisse.


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