Statistics and Wider Impact
In the last session of the workshop, we would like to address some questions that grow out of our own research on the East India trade. Much statistical work has been done on the individual Companies. What is, however, missing is an attempt to bring some of the results together into a wider comparative picture. We still do not know enough, for instance, about the prices that were fetched in different European markets, and how widely distributed Asian manufactured wares were in continental Europe. There are ways of coming to terms with these issues and we would like to discuss some of the possibilities to compare the quantitative source base available for the different Companies. We could also talk about complementary sources available, regarding tax policies, national trade statistics et cetera. There is much more untapped material available that could shed new light on the commercial success of both private and Company trade and the overall impact of Asian luxuries – and fortunes made in the East – on the social, economic, and political developments of each country involved in that trade.. Questions that could be addressed in this context are:
What are possible conclusions from statistical works on the different Companies?
Is is time for a major revision of the to-date estimated volume of trade in Asian consumer goods to Europe?
What was the role of the state in different national contexts, for instance, for taxation and the success of the respective Company?
What are the links to material culture, history of science, political economy? The role of innovation, learned societies, national debates?