The Might of the Multinationals: The Rise and Fall of the Corporate Legend

The Might of the Multinationals: The Rise and Fall of the Corporate Legend

The Might of the Multinationals: The Rise and Fall of the Corporate Legend

The Might of the Multinationals: The Rise and Fall of the Corporate Legend

Synopsis

Rubner offers an incisive study of the multinational corporation as its fortunes have waxed and waned over the years. The author traces the evolution of the modern multinational corporation, arguing that this entity is far from the all-powerful, supranational giant many have envisioned. In contrast, Rubner shows, the modern multinational is a fragile, strife-ridden business operation, often with significantly lower profit margins than smaller local or regional firms. This book provides a compelling look at the real and imagined power of the world's largest and most well-known corporations.

Excerpt

The first multinational corporations (MNCs or TNCs) were reared in the nineteenth century, and no doubt some of the species will still be with us in the twenty-first century. However, the pervasive populist perceptions of the powers of MNCs are of recent vintage. They became politically significant only in the 1960s and were in full flower by the beginning of the 1980s. the fabulous legendary tales on the influence of the present-day MNCs are now losing credence. I surmise that by the year 2000 few disgruntled businessmen, ambitious trade union bosses, charlatan politicians, and secular-oriented religious leaders will find it expedient to dwell on multinational conspiracies.

The following two stories are meant to break the ice, to illustrate the constraints under which multinational corporations perform. in the first half of the 1960s, the foreign investments of U.S. MNCs aroused worldwide indignation. Governments were urged to halt the rapacious American invaders in their tracks and, in particular, to prohibit the acquisition of indigenous companies. Quite unconnected with this agitation, the U.S. administration initiated in 1965 several measures to halt the outflow of capital in order to improve its balance of payments (BoP). President Johnson actually ordered U.S. MNCs to curtail heavily their direct investments overseas. J. Behrman has researched the global reactions to . . .

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