The transnational corporation and emerging market countries
One key image of global power is that of the transnational corporation (TNC). Within the broad context of world-systems theory (WST), as set out in Chapter 1, TNCs can be seen as straddling the world whilst emanating from the core economies, where their head offices remain strongly concentrated. How do TNCs fit into a world-system in which the location of economic and political power is strongly concentrated in the core countries? Table 9.1 attempts to give an insight into the pattern of global economic power at the end of the twentieth century. Global economic entities are divided into three: core economies, emerging market countries (EMCs) and TNCs. The largest economic entities are six of the members of the G8 (USA, Japan, Germany, France, UK, Italy); all have economies of over US$1 trillion in GDP. They represent a clear top stratum in the world’s economy, the size of their economies being greater than those of all other countries, including the heavily populated emerging countries of China and Brazil. After this top stratum, there follow 17 further countries before the first TNC, General Motors, appears. Nine of these countries (with large populations) are EMCs and eight of them (with smaller populations) belong to the group of core economies.