11: The Burden of Empire

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A breakfast meeting in March 2000 sets the scene for a discussion of the role London’s markets have played in financing colonialist endeavours. The book’s narrative continues with an account of the closure of the London Stock Exchange’s junior market and the subsequent outcry from the financial community. This, and strategic pressures from the new market OFEX, led to the formation of the Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, or AIM, which was by 2000 becoming a hub for mineral exploration finance. Chapter 11 concludes with an account of the Shanghai rubber bubble of the early 20th century and the British plantations in Malaya, where indentured labour generated high returns for investors that funded them. The chapter notes the similarities in deal structure between these financings and those of the dotcom era discussed in Chapter 10.

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