chapter  13
International Capital, International Culture
Pages 28

This chapter examines the power of the multinational corporation from a perspective different from the one that is normally found in the conventional literature. The integration of national economies into the capitalist world system, a process in which the multinational corporation is the main institutional actor, is a research theme of great importance, yet it is also one with great diversionary potential, for it is a theme which may disguise as much as it reveals. Issues of the class compositions and ownership systems of the integrated economies may be bypassed via an exclusive focusing on the question of national capital versus international capital, enabling 'policy conclusions' to be reached that merely support semi-state-controlled national capitalism in place of a scarcely controllable international capitalism. Entire dimensions of understanding are seldom integrated into the limited economic analyses of this question. For example, while the (nation) state nearly always forms a component of the analysis of world economic integration, the nature of the state under capitalism is not usually discussed, hence it is merely assumed to be antagonistic to 'global corporations [which] must be regulated to restore sovereignty to government' (Barnett and Muller, 1974, p. 375). An economics which remains within capitalist assumptions, or an approach which remains exclusively economic, cannot provide the understanding necessary to comprehend the present changes in the world system. Nor can it guide the concerted mass action which might combat the concentrated force already present in the multinational corporation.