Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1)


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When it suited, the EIC made much of its legal separation from the government. But the MPs who voted to uphold this legal distinction were not exactly neutral: For the same reason, the need to protect the company from foreign competition became a major aim of British foreign policy. The transaction depicted in the painting was to have catastrophic consequences. As with all such corporations, then as now, the EIC was answerable only to its shareholders.

Before long the province, already devastated by war, was struck down by the famine of , then further ruined by high taxation. Company tax collectors were guilty of what today would be described as human rights violations. A senior official of the old Mughal regime in Bengal wrote in his diaries: No great sophistication was required. A portion of the proceeds was later spent rebuilding Powis.

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The painting at Powis that shows the granting of the Diwani is suitably deceptive: In reality, there had been no grand public ceremony. Later, the British dignified the document by calling it the Treaty of Allahabad, though Clive had dictated the terms and a terrified Shah Alam had simply waved them through. By the time the original painting was shown at the Royal Academy in , however, no Englishman who had witnessed the scene was alive to point this out. Clive, hounded by envious parliamentary colleagues and widely reviled for corruption, committed suicide in by slitting his own throat with a paperknife some months before the canvas was completed.

He was buried in secret, on a frosty November night, in an unmarked vault in the Shropshire village of Morton Say. Here they remain, marked today by a small, discreet wall plaque inscribed: No contemporary corporation could duplicate its brutality, but many have attempted to match its success at bending state power to their own ends.

The people of Allahabad have also chosen to forget this episode in their history. One of the guards proudly showed me the headlines in the local edition of the Times of India, announcing that Allahabad had been among the subjects discussed in the White House by Modi and President Obama. The sentries were optimistic. At the height of the Victorian period there was a strong sense of embarrassment about the shady mercantile way the British had founded the Raj.

The Victorians thought the real stuff of history was the politics of the nation state.

This, not the economics of corrupt corporations, they believed was the fundamental unit of analysis and the major driver of change in human affairs. Moreover, they liked to think of the empire as a mission civilisatrice: A second picture, this one commissioned to hang in the House of Commons, shows how the official memory of this process was spun and subtly reworked. I came across it by chance late this summer, while waiting there to see an MP. The painting was part of a series of murals entitled the Building of Britain. It features what the hanging committee at the time regarded as the highlights and turning points of British history: King Alfred defeating the Danes in , the parliamentary union of England and Scotland in , and so on.

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The image in this series which deals with India does not, however, show the handing over of the Diwani but an earlier scene, where again a Mughal prince is sitting on a raised dais, under a canopy. Again, we are in a court setting, with bowing attendants on all sides and trumpets blowing, and again an Englishman is standing in front of the Mughal. But this time the balance of power is very different.

Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador sent by James I to the Mughal court, is shown appearing before the Emperor Jahangir in — at a time when the Mughal empire was still at its richest and most powerful. Jahangir inherited from his father Akbar one of the two wealthiest polities in the world, rivalled only by Ming China. His lands stretched through most of India, all of what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh, and most of Afghanistan. He ruled over five times the population commanded by the Ottomans — roughly million people.

His capitals were the megacities of their day. This was no understatement: Agra, with a population approaching ,, dwarfed all of the cities of Europe, while Lahore was larger than London, Paris, Lisbon, Madrid and Rome combined. This was a time when India accounted for around a quarter of all global manufacturing. It did, however, already possess 30 tall ships and own its own dockyard at Deptford on the Thames.

Jahangir, who had a taste for exotica and wild beasts, welcomed Sir Thomas Roe with the same enthusiasm he had shown for the arrival of the first turkey in India, and questioned Roe closely on the distant, foggy island he came from, and the strange things that went on there. For the committee who planned the House of Commons paintings, this marked the beginning of British engagement with India: Yet, in reality, British relations with India began not with diplomacy and the meeting of envoys, but with trade. On 24 September, , 80 merchants and adventurers met at the Founders Hall in the City of London and agreed to petition Queen Elizabeth I to start up a company.

The charter authorised the setting up of what was then a radical new type of business: The first chartered joint-stock company was the Muscovy Company, which received its charter in The East India Company was founded 44 years later. Hawkins, a bibulous sea dog, made his way to Agra, where he accepted a wife offered to him by the emperor, and brought her back to England.

This was a version of history the House of Commons hanging committee chose to forget. The rapid rise of the East India Company was made possible by the catastrophically rapid decline of the Mughals during the 18th century. As late as , when Clive was only 14 years old, the Mughals still ruled a vast empire that stretched from Kabul to Madras. But in that year, the Persian adventurer Nadir Shah descended the Khyber Pass with , of his cavalry and defeated a Mughal army of 1. Three months later, Nadir Shah returned to Persia carrying the pick of the treasures the Mughal empire had amassed in its years of conquest: This haul was many times more valuable than that later extracted by Clive from the peripheral province of Bengal.

The destruction of Mughal power by Nadir Shah, and his removal of the funds that had financed it, quickly led to the disintegration of the empire. That same year, the French Compagnie des Indes began minting its own coins, and soon, without anyone to stop them, both the French and the English were drilling their own sepoys and militarising their operations.

Before long the EIC was straddling the globe. Almost single-handedly, it reversed the balance of trade, which from Roman times on had led to a continual drain of western bullion eastwards. The EIC ferried opium to China, and in due course fought the opium wars in order to seize an offshore base at Hong Kong and safeguard its profitable monopoly in narcotics. To the west it shipped Chinese tea to Massachusetts, where its dumping in Boston harbour triggered the American war of independence.

By , when the EIC captured the Mughal capital of Delhi, it had trained up a private security force of around , twice the size of the British army — and marshalled more firepower than any nation state in Asia. Yet, like more recent mega-corporations, the EIC proved at once hugely powerful and oddly vulnerable to economic uncertainty. When knowledge of this became public, 30 banks collapsed like dominoes across Europe, bringing trade to a standstill. In a scene that seems horribly familiar to us today, this hyper-aggressive corporation had to come clean and ask for a massive government bailout.

It was that beautiful moment, an hour before sunset, that north Indians call godhulibela — cow-dust time — and the Yamuna glittered in the evening light as brightly as any of the gems of Powis. Egrets picked their way along the banks, past pilgrims taking a dip near the auspicious point of confluence, where the Yamuna meets the Ganges.

Ranks of little boys with fishing lines stood among the holy men and the pilgrims, engaged in the less mystical task of trying to hook catfish. Parakeets swooped out of cavities in the battlements, mynahs called to roost. For 40 minutes we drifted slowly, the water gently lapping against the sides of the boat, past the mile-long succession of mighty towers and projecting bastions of the fort, each decorated with superb Mughal kiosks, lattices and finials.

They didn't realize that many of them sent most of their meager Army pay to their families imprisoned in the incarceration centers. The Katonks hardly discussed their families' situation.


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Misunderstandings, often fueled by alcohol, turned into fistfights. The friction between the two groups was so extreme that the military high command considered disbanding the nd. They doubted whether the men could ever fight as a unit. To solve the problem, the Army decided to send a group of Buddhaheads to visit the incarceration centers in nearby Arkansas. The men thought Jerome and Rowher were little towns with Japanese families. But when the trucks rolled past the barbed wire fence, past the guard towers armed with machine guns pointed at the center residents, past the tar paper barracks where whole families crowded in small compartments with no privacy, the Buddhaheads finally understood.

Word of the "camps" spread quickly, and the Buddhaheads gained a whole new respect for the Katonks. Immediately, the men in the nd became united, like a tightly clenched fist.

The East India Company: The original corporate raiders

From May through February the men trained for combat. During training, many would be sent as replacements for the th Infantry Battalion Separate fighting in Europe. The men excelled at maneuvers and learned to operate as a team. In April the regiment packed up, and on April 22, , the men left Camp Shelby for their first overseas assignment in Europe.


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  • The 1st Infantry Battalion remained in the States to train new recruits. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions would join the legendary th Battalion, which was already fighting in Italy. The th would in essence become the new 1st Battalion of the nd RCT. However, it was allowed to keep the "th Battalion" name in recognition of its unparalleled combat record. The nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service , in the entire history of the US Military. In total, about 18, men served, ultimately earning 9, Purple Hearts, 21 Medals of Honor and an unprecedented seven Presidential Unit Citations.

    Infantry Journal Press, See also Lyn Crost, Honor by Fire: Presidio Press, , p. Daniel Inouye New York: Infobase Publishing, , p. Oh, that was an unusual thing because when we arrived in Mississippi in Camp Shelby, here were two major groups from Hawaii and from the mainland. And within five minutes, you could tell whether that person came from the mainland or that person came from Hawaii. For one thing, we were darker of complexion, and our Japanese and English must have sounded like gibberish to our mainland cousins, because we spoke a unique brand of pidgin, a mixture of English, Portuguese, Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, and God knows what else.

    And on the other hand, the mainland men were rather gentle, fair of skin, spoke the King's language with precision, most of them. And oftentimes they'd be listening into our conversations and they would smile or snicker. And the men from Hawaii resented that, and that, believe it or not, became a major cause of concern. As a result of this type of misunderstanding, fights became commonplace throughout the whole regiment, to a point where the senior officers of the regiment at one time considered disbanding the regiment.

    Most people don't know this, but we nearly got disbanded and scattered all over the United States.

    And so the leadership tried allthey tried everything: Finally, somebody must have had a bright idea. I don't know who it is, but that person really deserves the best medal that we can ever give out, because what happened, all of a sudden each company in the regiment began receiving invitations from Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas.

    You know, Senator, I'm going to stop you right now. Are we changing tapes? I'm sorry, go ahead. And we had no idea what Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas meant, because the invitation did not speak of a camp. And so we thought that this was a Japanese community in Arkansas, and just by coincidence, each company had to select 10 men. The company commander would select And by coincidence, all 10 were men from Hawaii. None from the mainland, at least not in my company. I was a corporal then, and I found myself one of the fortunate ones to be selected as an invitee.

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    And so, the night before we really gussied up. Next morning we had our uniforms were all creased and clean, and all shaven and smelling nice. To spend a lovely weekend hoping to meet the young lovely mainland damsels. So here we are with our ukuleles and guitars, if you can picture that, quite a riot. And we're singing all the way from Mississippi to Arkansas. Until weI recall turning the bend and looking out, you could see in the flat land, in the valley, rows of buildings.

    And we thought, wow, here's a military camp because it looks just like our camp. And this one had a tall fence around, barbed wire fence. And unlike our area, there were machine gun towers at certain intervals. And you could see somebody up there handling a gun. But when we got closer and we turned into it, then we began to realize what was happening.

    The men who were manning the guns were Caucasian men. They were military people. At that time, the military was in charge, the Army. They had rifles with bayonets, and here we were with ukuleles, you know. We didn't bring our guns. And we were told to get off the cars, and thank God they didn't search us because if they had searched us, I think we would have resented that. But then we trooped in into the camp, and there you could see men and women and children of Japanese ancestry.

    And we realized we were in a camp of some sort, a prison camp or something like that, because why else would they have these machine gun towers. It didn't take long to realize what had happened. And then we realized that the people there had set aside one week's ration of food so that they could give us a party.

    Corporate Infantry:  Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1) Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1)
    Corporate Infantry:  Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1) Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1)
    Corporate Infantry:  Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1) Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1)
    Corporate Infantry:  Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1) Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1)
    Corporate Infantry:  Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1) Corporate Infantry: Everything I know about Corporate Sales I learned in Combat (1)

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