The Topic Of Power And Transnational Corporations

2578 words - 10 pages

The topic under discussion will be that of power in regards to the large transnational corporations (TNC): who has this power, towards whom this power is exerted and how this power is maintained are the central themes. Profoundly related is the concept of globalisation, a process which has become ever so evident and shapes the nature of modern economics. While some consider the power in the hands of the TNC to be "natural" and overall socially beneficial others argue it is a threat to our democratic organization of life. To better understand the general picture the specific areas will be examined where power is detained by the TNCs and what the purpose of such power is.The issues related to the amount of power held by corporations have become ever so present in current debates and speeches, though queries about their ability to influence various sectors have been around for the best part of 40 years. In recent days USA contender for presidency Barack Obama has regarded the topic as one of major concern to the well-being of his country; he is only the last of a string of people who regard the situation as "problematic". Though coming from a democratic point of view, politicians in general are arguably those with most of the responsibilities. Many of the concerns are economic in nature but the sociological attention, or imagination, is seldom uninterested with aspects regarding a few favouring the few. Many of the issues surrounding the topic will be examined coming from this precise angle.Firstly it is fundamental to understand what these huge corporations are and why they are called trans-national corporations (TNC). TNCs are companies that produce goods or market services in more two or more countries. They are arguably the most important actors in the world economy. These companies may be relatively small firms with one or two factories outside the country in which they are based, or gigantic international ventures whose operations crisscross the globe (Giddens, 2001). It is the latter of the two types that the discussion will focus on. The TNCs are ultimately always oriented towards global markets and global profits, even when they have a clear national base. They are not limited by national boundaries and the largest TNCs have sales which exceed the aggregate output of most countries (Hansen, 1988). Interestingly, it has been estimated that they account for two thirds of all world trade; they are instrumental in the diffusion of new technology around the world and they are major actors in international financial markets. Despite being present since the 60's it is only in the late 1980s and 1990 that the TNCs expanded dramatically becoming an increasingly well-known phenomenon. The technology mentioned above plays a great role in allowing the TNCs to form global ties and branch networks. Any possible amount of funds can be shifted internationally with the click of a mouse, allowing instant transactions.It is only in recent times (over the past...

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