Friday, September 24, 2010

States vs. MNCs

In regard to globalization, Sinclair concludes that global phenomena such as multi-national corporations, the media, trade and migration have not managed to overtake the role of the Westphalian nation-state. However, as Hanson points out in her outline of the global economy, MNCs have emerged as features that attest to globalization, at least of the economy. “A list of the top one hundred economic entities in the world…indicates that more than half are MNC.” (page 61) Whether or not you believe that a new global society will emerge to surpass the state, you can’t argue that these MNCs have become prominent players in the global stage.

Moreover, it is important to take notice these giant MNCs are creating their own terms for their operations abroad. Hanson asks a very important question: Who is responsible for sweatshop conditions--the subcontractor employer, the local government, or the MNC? Up until now, corporations have been allowed to dictate practices abroad, and they are not held accountable for work conditions. In this sense, have we not allowed the nation-state to cave to globalization already? Is the case that the states are calling the shots by the simply not interfering? Are states dictating the rules, or are they powerless to the whims of MNCs?

So Hanson’s question remains. Should governments change their policies? Regulation is not rewarding for either the MNCs or the countries that wish to attract them, and the only ones who lose are the people who end up working for them. This is the darkest side of economic globalization. Who is ultimately responsible for these workers?

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