Comprador

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A comprador or compradore (Chinese: 買辦; pinyin: mǎibàn, or 江擺渡 jīangbăidù, or 康白度 kāngbăidù) is a native manager of European business houses in East and South East Asia, and, by extension, social groups that play broadly similar roles in other parts of the world.

The term comprador, a Portuguese word that means buyer, derives from the Latin comparare, which means to procure.[1] The original usage of the word in East Asia meant a native servant in European households in Guangzhou in southern China or the neighboring Portuguese colony at Macao who went to market to barter their employers' wares.[1][2] The term then evolved to mean the native contract suppliers who worked for foreign companies in East Asia or the native managers of firms in East Asia.[1][2] Compradors held important positions in southern China buying and selling tea, silk, cotton and yarn for foreign corporations and working in foreign-owned banks.[2] Robert Hotung, a late nineteenth century compradore of the British owned trading conglomerate Jardine, Matheson & Co. was believed to be the richest man in Hong Kong by the age of 35.[3] Notable compradors during the Republican Period in 20th century China included Zhang Jiaao of Shanghai and Tong King-sing of Guangdong.

In Marxism, the term comprador bourgeoisie was later applied to similar trading-class in regions outside of East Asia.[4][5]

With the emergence (or re-emergence) of globalization, the term comprador has reentered the lexicon to denote trading groups and classes in the developing world in subordinate but mutually advantageous relationships with metropolitan capital. The Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin has discussed the role of compradors in the contemporary global economy in his recent work.[6] In addition, the Indian economist, Ashok Mitra, has accused the owners and managers of firms attached to the Indian software industry of being compradors.[7] Growing identification of the software industry in India with comprador 'qualities' has led to the labeling of certain persons associated with the industry as 'dot.compradors'.[8]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Comprador". Encyclopædia Britannica 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ a b c Bergere, Marie-Clarie (1989). The Golden Age of the Chinese Bourgeoisie 1911-1937. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 38–39. 0521320542. 
  3. ^ Tsang, Steve (2007). A Modern History of Hong Kong. I. B. Taurus & Company. ISBN 978-1-84511-419-0. 
  4. ^ Slobodan Antonić: Компрадори
  5. ^ Trotsky, Leon (2008). History of the Russian Revolution. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1931859-45-5. 
  6. ^ Amin, Samir (2011). Maldevelopment: Anatomy of a Global Failure, Pambazuka Press, Oxford. ISBN 1906387796.
  7. ^ Mitra, Ashok. "The Hour of the Comprador, The Telegraph, Kolkata, 27 April 2007.
  8. ^ Saraswati, Jyoti (2012). Dot.compradors: Power and Policy in the Development of the Indian Software Industry, Pluto Press, London. ISBN 9780745332659.

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