chapter  3
37 Pages

Multinationals, Business Organisations and the Development of the Fiji Economy

This chapter seeks to explore the changing relationships between multinational capital and domestic enterprise in the context of the developing country economy of Fiji. Studies of the operations of foreign-owned multinational corporations in developing countries are notable for two major limiting characteristics. The first is the implicit assumption that all multinational enterprises are the same; effectively having the same goals and aspirations, having equivalent resource bases, and employing similar methods of operation. The assumption is not always immediately obvious in these studies, especially those in geography, but it is most readily apparent when the investment activities of multinationals are reduced to the single category 'foreign private direct investment'. The use of this simplifying device completely removes from consideration the aspirations, operations and idiosyncracies of a host of quite separate legal corporate entities. The second characteristic of these studies is the tendency for multinational corporations as a whole to be treated as isolated and discrete facets of the developing economies within which they are situated. This approach is very much a legacy of the dualistic models that have dominated development studies for more than a decade. It is also an approach which disparages indigenous activity in developing economies as something less than 'economic', reinforcing the arrogance of western industrial activity. In short, obfuscation by assumption has left the social sciences, especially geography, economics, management science and, to a lesser extent sociology, woefully ill-equipped to appreciate the dynamic relationships that underpin the functioning of developing country economies.