Following his recent presentation at PEIC’s corporate history seminar, Andrew Van Horn Ruoss, currently undertaking a PhD at Duke University, wrote the following summary of his research.
Competitive Collaboration: Forging Global Corporate Political Economy, 1650-1700
My dissertation explores how, between 1650 and 1700, the rival Dutch (VOC) and English (EIC) East India Companies forged a shared corporate political economy that transcended national political and economic frameworks. In response to external challenges and opportunities, company agents developed common commercial, capital, and communication networks that integrated institutions and ideologies from across Europe and Asia. My analysis of company, state, and personal records reveals how this inter-corporate organization facilitated the evolution of the language and concepts of economic competition, political conflict and international law. This project adds a new dimension to the history of empire, political institutions, and the patterns of global economic organization and governance.