chapter  3
16 Pages

Global governance and the corporate sector

A key aim of this book is to explore the developing role of the corporate sector in ‘political’ issues of international affairs – using a study of companies’ impacts on post-conflict reconstruction to explore this wider relationship. This chapter examines our existing understanding of this topic: what is our existing understanding of the corporate role in international relations? What we find is that although many commentators hold that the corporate sector has become more important in global affairs, International Relations theory appears to be struggling to adequately incorporate private-sector businesses not just into its understanding of post-conflict environments but into any other aspect of how the world is perceived to operate. Indeed, many authors would argue that companies exist internationally only as agents of the states from which they emanate. According to Gilpin, ‘. . . . world politics is still characterised by the struggle of national entities for power, prestige and wealth.’1 The norm remains the ‘rootedness of all capital in discrete national formations.2 As such, a transnational capitalism that transcends and subsumes national capitalisms cannot exist.’3