[Marxism] Myths about globalisation?

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Mon Dec 6 07:10:29 MST 2004

(two studies that look like they're worth having a look at - JB)

The Myth of the Global Corporation
by Paul Doremus, William W. Keller, Louis W. Pauly, Simon Reich

Critics and defenders of multinational corporations often agree on at least 
one thing: that the activities of multinationals are creating an 
overwhelmingly powerful global market that is quickly rendering national 
borders obsolete. The authors of this book, however, argue that such 
expectations commonly rest on a myth. They examine key activities of 
multinational corporations in the United States, Japan, and Europe and 
explore the relationship between corporate behavior and national 
institutions and cultures. They demonstrate that the world's leading 
multinationals continue to be shaped decisively by the policies and values 
of their home countries and that their core operations are not converging to 
create a seamless global market.
With a wealth of fresh evidence, the authors show that Japanese and German 
multinationals, in particular, remain only weakly committed to laissez-faire 
policy orientations and continue to exhibit strong allegiance to national 
goals in such areas as investment and employment. They also bring to light 
the consequences of enduring differences in government policies on, for 
example, industrial cartels, capital markets, and research and development.

The authors agree that the world economy is becoming more complex and 
integrated as overt barriers to trade and investment fall away. But they 
conclude that the extent of this integration is decisively limited by 
structural divergence at the level of the firm. The book will be essential 
reading for those seeking to understand the growing interdependence of 
still-distinctive industrial societies and the wellsprings of the true 
global economy.


The Myth of the Powerless State (Cornell Studies in Political Economy)
by Linda Weiss

 Linda Weiss brings an unconventional view of the role of state, which 
contrasts with the prevailing literature on this theme. She considers the 
Japanese model as very viable, because of its ability to adapt to changes in 
international environment and transform its industrial structure according 
the market demands. According to the author, Japan's succes rests in 
combination of developmental and distributional fuctions. This fact enables 
the state better transformation of its structure than in market-led 
economies like USA or GB. Very interesting is the point, that distributional 
function doesn't weaken the developmental capacity of the state, rather 
reinforces it. The low income inbalance, the solidarity of firm with its 
employers also strengthens the capability of state. On the other hand she 
finds several difficulties with the German model, which exerts huge 
adaptibility in already existing sectors, but is weak in introducing new 
progressive technology industries like microelectronics. The German state 
has responded to this situation by creating of the new ministry for research 
and its role increased after reunification whereby it provided the largest 
amount of investments to the East. On these examples author illustrates that 
the role of German state in the economic development has increased. In case 
of Sweden came to separation of development and distribution, leading to 
problems Sweden is currently facing. Author also presents an interesting 
opinion, that neoliberal states as USA, Great Britain and New Zealand may 
due to the large income discrepancies and weak public-private coordination 
face severe adaptation problems.
The author pays attention to the issue of globalization too. She concludes 
that globalization reinforces rather than diminishes the state. On the base 
of evidence on FDI and international trade she concludes, that the claims 
about the extent of globalization are strongly exaggerated.
The international corporations also remain strongly embedded in their home 
nation-states which provide them with information and services.
On the ground of this evidence the autor concludes, that nation-state in the 
economic realm is not weaker, but even stronger. In my opionion is this 
contention true, but in other realms like that of culture the state's role 
has been undoubtely weakened.


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