Death on Our Shores

By Gross, Daniel | Newsweek, July 5, 2010 | Go to article overview

Death on Our Shores


Gross, Daniel, Newsweek


Byline: Daniel Gross

As a foreign company, BP may suffer harsher treatment at the hands of consumers and lawmakers.

In the ordinary course of events, big firms--even the most authentically American ones--like to present themselves as citizens of the world. And why not? For multinationals based in developed countries, most sales and virtually all growth now come from outside their home market.

With operations in 50 countries, Deutsche Telekom is no longer quite so Deutsche. And for even the most irrevocably American companies, cosmopolitanism is a way of life. Coca-Cola's CEO is Muhtar Kent, the son of a Turkish diplomat, who was educated in England and spent much of his career overseas. Coke today gets about 75 percent of its sales from outside North America. The typical company in the S&P 500 relies on non-Americans for about half of sales. "Today very few large companies actually have a national identity. Instead they have a composite global identity," notes David Rothkopf, CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. Companies frequently reduce their names to acronyms in order to present a more generic, less nationalistic face to consumers around the world. It's AT&T, not American Telegraph & Telephone. Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation presents itself to banking customers in America as HSBC. Swapping specific city and country names for generic acronyms makes sense for globe-trotting companies. For even in an age of globalization, nationalism can be a powerful influence on consumer behavior. And in times of crisis, national biases can come to the fore quickly, and harshly.

That's what BP, the company formerly known as British Petroleum, has learned the hard way. Like other multinationals, BP has in recent years tried to present itself less as a colonial conqueror and more as a citizen of the world. Through international expansion and mergers with American firms, including Amoco, it has become progressively less British. On its Web site, BP, which operates in 100 countries on six continents, notes, "The BP group is the largest oil and gas producer and one of the largest gasoline retailers in the United States." But ever since oil began gushing from the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has become as British as Wimbledon, as foreign as football played with a round ball. As a result, it's possible the company will suffer harsher treatment at the hands of consumers and lawmakers.

When things go bad, it turns out, multinationals turn into homebodies. Since they can't rely on all the nations in which they have outposts to come to their aid, they're effectively renationalized. In the financial crisis, multinational banking firms rushed to domestic capitals for bailouts and asset guarantees. Deutsche Bank and Societe General weren't eligible for TARP funds, and GM has had difficulty getting aid from Germany.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Death on Our Shores
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.