(en) Corporate Globalization Factsheet (fwd)

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Wed, 17 Dec 1997 20:19:54 -0800 (PST)


interesting discussion of the power of capitalism:  Pat Myers

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Subject: (en) Corporate Globalization Factsheet (fwd)

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/* ---------- "Corporate Globalization Factsheet" ---------- */

Facts From the Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of
Globalization

Fact Sheet Number One -- Corporate Globalization

Transnational corporations--companies which operate in more than one
country at a time--have become some of the most powerful economic and
political entities in the world today.

Corporations and Governments

Many corporations have more power than the nation-states across whose
borders they operate. For instance:

The combined revenues of just General Motors and Ford--the two largest
automobile corporations in the world--exceed the combined Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) for all of sub-Saharan Africa.

The combined sales of Mitsubishi, Mitsui, ITOCHU, Sumitomo, Marubeni, and
Nissho Iwai, Japan's top six Sogo Sosha or trading companies, are nearly
equivalent to the combined GDP of all of South America.

Overall, fifty-one of the largest one-hundred economies in the world are
corporations.

The revenues of the top 500 corporations in the U.S. equal about 60
percent of the country's GDP.

Transnational corporations hold ninety percent of all technology and
product patents worldwide.

Transnational corporations are involved in 70 percent of world trade. More
than thirty percent of this trade is "intra- firm"; in other words, it
occurs between units of the same corporation.

How Many Are There?

The number of transnational corporations in the world has jumped from
7,000 in 1970 to 40,000 in 1995.

While ever-more global in reach, these corporations' home bases are
concentrated in the Northern industrialized countries, where ninety
percent of all transnationals are based.

More than half come from just five nations--France, Germany, the
Netherlands, Japan and the United States.

Despite their growing numbers, power is concentrated at the top. For
instance, the three hundred largest corporations account for one-quarter
of the world's productive assets.

What Do They Do All Day?

Described by the United Nations as "the productive core of the globalizing
world economy," these corporations and their 250,000 foreign affiliates
account for most of the world's industrial capacity, technological
knowledge and international financial transactions.

They mine, refine and distribute most of the world's oil, gasoline, diesel
and jet fuel.

They build most of the world's oil, coal, gas, hydroelectric and nuclear
power  plants.

They extract most of the world's minerals from the ground.

They manufacture and sell most of the world's automobiles, airplanes,
communications satellites, computers, home electronics, chemicals,
medicines and biotechnology products.

They harvest much of the world's wood and make most of its paper.

They grow many of the world's agricultural crops, while processing and
distributing much of its food.

Given their dominance of politics, economics and technology, it is not
surprising to find the big transnationals deeply involved in most of the
world's serious environmental crises (see Fact Sheet #2).

Corporations and the Politics of Globalization

Transnational corporations exert significant influence over the domestic
and foreign policies of the Northern industrialized government that host
them. Indeed, the interests of the most powerful governments in the world
are often intimately intertwined with the expanding pursuits of the
transnationals that they charter.

At the same time, transnational corporations are moving to circumvent
national governments. The borders and regulatory agencies of most
governments are caving in to the New World Order of globalization,
allowing corporations to assume an ever more stateless quality, leaving
them less and less accountable to any government anywhere.

These corporations, together with their host governments, are reorganiznig
world economic structures--and thus the balance of political
power--through a series of intergovernmental trade and investment accords.
These treaties serve as the frameworks within which globalization is
evolving--allowing international corporate investment and trade to
flourish across the Earth. They include:

The Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

The World Trade Organization, which was created to enforce the GATT's
rules.

The proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The European Union (EU).

These international trade and investment agreements allow corporations to
circumvent the power and authority of national governments and local
communities, thus endangering workers' rights, the environment and
democratic political processes.

------------------------------------------------------------- source:
Joshua Karliner, The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of
Globalization (Sierra Club Books, 1997)

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