|infographics from visualcapitalist[dot]com, stated VOC as|
The Most Valuables Company of All-Time
In the end of the year of 2017, I saw an interesting infographics in my social media feed that reminds peoples about an old company that for long time ago take a part in the colonialization process in Indonesia, the Veerenigde Oostindische Company (VOC). This infographics released by visualcapitalist[dot]com as a part of their weekly feature of “Chart of the Week”, and in Friday December 8th 2017, they put VOC as The Most Valuable Companies of All-Time. The valuation of VOC reachs 7,9 trillion, taken from Tulip Mania period which the market cap of VOC reachs 78 million Guilders, or 7,9 trillion USD in todays money. Tulip Mania itself widely considered the world’s first financial bubble. This value worth as much as the sum of 20 world’s largest companies market caps, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Tencent, and Wells Fargo. All of them combined gets us to $7.9 trillion. Its indeed that VOC were considered as one’s of the first capitalist enterprises in the world. But maybe its not a good comparison to put VOC with these modern enterprise as this company wouldn’t succeeded without government support and it had an army and a navy it used to attack and intimidate, well its absolutely not a free trade.
|VOC fleet victory over the Portuguese fleet for Banten, 1601 engraved by Bartholomeuw Dolendo (source: Rijksmuseum)|
|Jalan Letjend Suprapto a major artery in Kota Lama|
(Old Town) Semarang, formerly Heerenstraat
possibly named after the Heeren XVII , the VOC board.
The nature of Dutch people carrying bonds, was begin long time before as its mostly investing their money in bonds that had been issued for land reclamation project like dykes and windmil that turned land below sea level. With the low interest rate, companies healthy and its gained more and more support from the Dutch people to invest, moreover the company tended to pay people back. This kind of fractional shares allow merchants to bear greater risks by purchasing smaller percentage shares in business ventures. Dutch business people also enthusiastically invested in future markets, guessing what the price of pepper would be six months or a year from now and they created new financial instruments that could bought and sold and merchants purchased maritime insurance which further lowered their risk. Lower risk means anyone could invest more of your capital until eventually you have completely efficient market. The better Dutch financial instruments among others made they able to seized the lions share of the trading business
VOC soon reached Banda Island, the only places at that time where nutmeg is grown, a commodity that once worth more than pieces of gold as its essential for food preservation process that really a big deal during this age of explorations. The Bandanese welcomed the Dutch because they were more laid back in terms of religion than Portuguese, but Dutch ricked them to signed the exclusieve trade aggrements with Dutch. Its happens under the ruthless militay leader Jan Pieterszoon Coen which Between 1614 and 1618, secured a clove monopoly in the Moluccas and a nutmeg monopoly in the Banda Islands. Coen brought shift in VOC policy away from straightforward trade and toward monopoly of both shipping and production of spices. He also made it clear that this trade needed to be based on military force. Coen not only made VOC dominate trade of the spices but also its production as His plan depopulate the Banda islands to replace their inhabitants with imported slaves and indentured labor under VOC control, taken thousands lives of Bandanese and forced them to flee to another island surround it.
- Capitalism and the Dutch East India Company: Crash Course World History 229
- Banda The Dark Forgotten Trail (2017)