The Great Firm Theory of Mughal Decline
The ^great firm' theory of Mughal decline relies on secondary sources for its comprehensive data base; it clarifies & extends existing economic theories of imperial decline. Most writers have treated bankers & other financial & merchant groups as segmental rather than strategic elites, but they were indispensable to the functioning of Mughal government, & the great firms' diversion of resources from the Mughals to other political powers in the Indian subcontinent directly contributed to the downfall of the empire. A working definition of great firms in the Mughal period is proposed, along with lines of further research to adequately test the theory. The advantages of this theory over others are outlined, & the bankers in Mughal India are briefly contrasted with those in imperial China. Modified AA.