The insidious advance of metropolitan capital into the high ranges of southern India brought in its wake the gradual peripheralisation of the region and its increasing participation in the global division of labour. And even as the tea-bush came to be a ubiquitous sight along the entire Western Ghats, the process of the incorporation of the region into the world economy had begun. It is this dynamics of events and the way in which the local economies were drawn into the global capitalist relations that we have attempted to trace in this chapter: in the fi rst part, we focus on the historical development of plantations at a time when the planters were being wooed by the colonial State. In the second part of the chapter, we follow the commodity fl ow from the periphery to the core, with an emphasis on the changes brought about in the transport infrastructure – both inland and oceanic – in the process of reaching out to the world market. In the third part, we have attempted to analyse the drastic changes in the ecological productivity system, with the loss of the sources of livelihood of the indigenous people that accompanied the entire process of the production and transport of tea.