Points at issue between the different theories of international production
To a large extent the differences between the approaches outlined above can be accounted for by the fact that they have addressed different questions, and in doing so different levels of analysis have been appropriate. The recognition of this variety of interest has led to a retreat from the search for a general theory of international production as remarked upon at the start. Perhaps the most important distinction is that theories of the individual firm vis-à-vis markets have naturally been interested in the existence of the firm or the MNC in itself, and issues related to it, while competitive international industry and macroeconomic approaches have been concerned with a broader set of issues, focusing on the interaction between the growth of the firm and the location of production. This distinction, together with the possibility of combining insights gained from these alternative perspectives, is considered below. The implications for the ways in which different authors have interpreted the existence and growth of the firm are examined in the earlier part of this section. The role attributed to the interplay between the growth of MNCs and the changing location of production is considered below, while some suggestions for a cross-fertilisation between approaches are set out in the final section.