Sport and Corporate Nationalisms

By Michael L. Silk; David L. Andrews et al. | Go to book overview

8
Beyond Sport: Imaging and
Re-imaging a Transnational Brand

John Amis

As discussion has intensified over recent years with respect to the impact that various global processes have on our daily lives, so it has become increasingly recognized that we exist in a new global political economy. This has become characterized, and conceptualized, by wide-ranging debates regarding distributions of power and the role of the nation-state, the (co)existence of national and global cultures, the changing nature of local, regional and global economic systems, and an increasingly connected and interdependent network of state and private enterprises. This has led at least one prominent commentator to note that globalization is not incidental to our lives, but a driving force of our time (Giddens, 2002).

A prominent feature of much of this discourse has been the rise in importance of transnational corporations (TNCs). The increasing influence that TNCs can have on the economic stability of countries in all parts of the world becomes apparent when one considers that firms such as Mitsubishi, Mitsui and General Motors regularly report sales figures greater than the gross domestic products of nations such as Denmark, Saudi Arabia and South Africa (Morgan, 1997). Furthermore, it has been estimated that TNCs account for 70 percent of world trade (Perraton et al., 1997). With such firms able to engage in strategies of rapid relocation to search out cheap work forces, favorable trading regulations, and beneficial exchange rates, the political and economic power that they can exert on even highly developed countries can be pronounced.

A further characteristic of the new global economy, characterized by the existence of multiple and highly complex networks of institutions and organizations (Castells, 1996) is the control of information by technology companies, most notably Microsoft, and the influence that media companies such as News Corporation can exert through a seemingly limitless appetite for vertical and horizontal expansion (see, for example, McGaughey and Liesch, 2002). The accompanying heightened managerial complexity is exacerbated

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