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Global Economy and International Relations. a Theoretical Framework for the Activity of Multinational Corporations

Global Economy and International Relations. a Theoretical Framework for the Activity of Multinational Corporations

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Published by: Emanuel Copilaș on Jan 29, 2011
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Geographica Timisiensis, vol. 19, nr. 2, 2010 (pp. 35-53) ●
GLOBAL ECONOMY AND INTERNATIONALRELATIONS. A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE ACTIVITY OF MULTINATIONALCORPORATIONS
 Emanuel COPILAŞ 
1
 
Universitatea de Vest din Timişoara
 
Abstract.
The exterior political, social and economical environment has a major impact on thefunctionality and reliability of an international company, starting with the ideas and axiologicalframe which circumscribes the decisional activity of organization leaders, continuing with thecoherency and internal synergy and ending with the flux of the personnel, influenced in a great extent by work conditions, concurrence and the prestige of the corporation in a competitive environment.This paper proposes a analysis of the main economical theories and their influence upon thecompetitive international environment in the contemporary period, focusing broadly on multinationalcorporations, market-state relation in the globalization era, Marxism, neo-Marxism, or liberaleconomy. Towards the end of the article, realism, idealism, constructivism and behaviorism, the mostimportant theories of international relations, are assessed based on their main principles as a possibledevelopmental frame for international companies.
 Rezumat. Economie globală şi relaŃii internaŃionale. Un cadru teoretic pentru activitateacorporaŃiilor multinaŃionale.
Mediul exterior, politic, social şi economic, are un impact major asupra funcŃionalităŃii şi fiabilităŃii unei companii internaŃionale, începând cu ideile şi cadrulaxiologic care circumscrie activitatea organizaŃională a liderilor organizaŃiei, continuând cu coerenŃaşi sinergia internă a acesteia şi erminând cu fluxul personalului, influenŃat în mare măsură decondiŃiile de muncă. Lucrarea propune o analiză a principalelor teorii economice şi a influenŃei lor asupra competitivului mediu internaŃional contemporan, axându-se în general asupra corporaŃiilor multinaŃonale, relaŃia piaŃă-stat în era globalizării, marxism, neomarxism sau economie liberală. Lasfârşit, realismul, idealismul, constructivismul şi behaviorismul, cele mai importante teorii alerelaŃiilor internaŃionale, sunt evaluate în funcŃie de relevanŃa lor pentru eficienŃa companiilor multinaŃionale.
 Key words
:
reliability, economic theories, international relations theories, multinational corporations, global society.
 
1
 
 Emanuel Copilaş, teaching assistant, West University of Timişoara, Politics Department,copilasemanuel@yahoo.com.
 
 Note:
 
The documentation for this article was partially facilitated by an AMPOSDRU scholarship, obtainedtrough the following grant: Investeşte în oameni! FONDUL SOCIAL EUROPEAN, Programul OperaționalSectorial pentru Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane 2007-2013, proiectul „STUDIILE DOCTORALE FACTOR MAJOR DE DEZVOLTARE AL CERCETĂRILOR SOCIO-UMANE ȘI UMANISTE.
 
 
● Global Economy and International Relations…
36
Cuvinte cheie:
 
 fiabilitate, teorii economice, teorii ale relaŃiilor internaŃionale, corporaŃiimultinaŃionale, societate globală.
 
1. INTRODUCTION
This study is centered on pointing out the influence which economical theories,along with the international relations theories, exercise upon international corporations. Thestake of the article resides on identifying complex connections between the mentionedtheories and the agents of international capitalism, the great companies, more exactly of theways in which their efficiency and reliability can be correlated with the main economicaland political tenets prevailing at one time.Along this article I intend to point out a series of questions: What are the place andthe role of multinational companies in the international system? Is the decisional weight of the states sublimated in comparison with the great corporations decisional weight? Why dosome economical and international relations theories limit the activity of multinationals,while others favor it? Which is the most appropriate political and economical model for international commercial actors and why?
2. RELIABILITY. A SOCIAL-POLITICAL EXTRAPOLATION
At first, to set the premises of a valid and consistent theoretical analysis, one mustdefine, as much as possible, the basic concepts on which the structure of the research iscalked on. Therefore,
‘reliability
expresses the property of any system to resist time degradation, preserving its performances within the projected limits. The notion of reliability was embedded implicitly inthat of quality, as long as the traditional technological processes ensured maintaining theinitial properties of a system on a period of time long enough when compared to the humanscale. The development of modern technologies, complex and dynamical, led to the creationof sophisticated systems, with superior performances, but fragile, subjected to a fastdegradation’ (Mihalache, 1994, p. 57).
The stake of the concept and its applicability consists in securing these verycompetitive, but also precarious systems. Globalization dynamics entails an economical andsocial dynamic with at least the same intensity, which risks, - together with the fast requestand offer changes, - creating problems in some less developed states, by inducingeconomical instability and disadvantaging their infrastructures.In industrialized countries, reliability has an ideological dimension, because itsefficiency is proportional with the degree of political and economical freedom existent inthose societies. In other words, inside “closed systems”, almost hermetical from politicaland economical points of view, reliability, without an exterior support, is subjected to acorrosive action conditioned by the entropy level which exists inside that system, while in“open systems”, which obey the logic of interdependency and international cooperation,reliability is assisted trough “corrective or preventive maintenance” (Mihalache, 1994, p.58).
 
Emanuel COPILAŞ 
37
3. MEANINGS OF CORPORATISM
In the
Oxford Dictionary of Sociology
(1994, 1998), the term
corporation
appearswith the following definition: „ a legal form of organization, both of capitalist enterprises,and of the ones from the public sector, in which control apparently or really passes in thehands of a managerial elite, designated on the basis of a specialization obtained along withthe diploma” (Marshall, 2003, 138).In the
Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought 
we can read that „the mostcommon modern meaning of the term «corporatism» is centered on the role of the interestorganizations which hold an intermediary position between the state and the civil society”(Miller, 2000, p. 143). Inside the international environment, corporations represent an actor not necessarily intermediary, but different, both from the states and from what is starting to be called the international civil society. Today, big corporations are
ipso facto
a politicalfactor and a new strong actor on the international stage.For Max Weber, the modern international organizations „are ways of coordinatinghuman activities or man made goods, in a manner stable in space and time” (Giddens, 2000, p. 314). After ascribing to the well known German sociologist from the beginning of theXX’ st century this definition, Anthony Giddens’ reasons that
‘half of the one hundred largest economical units existing in the world today arenational, while the other half is transnational corporations! The operation extent of thesecompanies is amazing. The first 600 large transnational companies own more than a fifth fromthe total production, industrial and agricultural, in the global economy. Approximately 70 fromthese giant companies ensure half of the total global sales (Dicken, 1992). The incomes of thefirst 200 big companies have grown 10 times from the mid ’70 to the ’90. Over the last 20years, the activities of transnational companies have became more and more global; only threefrom the 315 largest companies in the world in 1950 had production plants in over 20 countries,compared to more than 50 in the present’ (Giddens, 2000, p. 325).
In 2005, transnational and multinational corporations reached and even exceededthe astonishing number of 60.000. This multinationals are involved in more than 800.000 branches of activity.
2
Clearly, international companies have a very strong impact uponglobal economy, but they don’t create it. The frame of the international economic relationsis still ensured by national states and economies, as I intend to prove in the following pages.
2
See in this regard Franco Amatori’s book review of Geoffrey Jones, Multinationals and global capitalism: from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, available at http://www.hbs.edu/bhr/archives/bookreviews/79/famatori.pdf.

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