How did British colonial rule shape India’s economy? The answers to this question now available from academic and popular history are not always satisfactory, because these works do not clearly say what facts we should be explaining. The most important element of British economic policy was openness, or the desire to keep the borders open to movements of goods, capital, skills, and technologies. Openness delivered mixed results. It helped businesses grow and end famines, but did not help much the resource-poor countryside. Openness benefited men more than women, capital more than labour, and the upper castes more than others. The legacy of the regime, therefore, was a mix of successes and extraordinary failures. The book shows how this paradox can be explained.