Picture the scene: The head of a private military company is appearing before the legislature. For years, his firm has prospered from the occupation of a resource-rich Asian country, protected by its shareholders’ powerful political connections. Only now are years of long-ignored abuses coming to light.
The setting is not Washington 2007, but London 1787. The occasion is the trial of Warren Hastings, the first governor general of India and an employee of the British East India Company,
the government-backed private monopoly that had conquered Bengal in 1757.