Multinational Corporations and Nations

INGS1001 Major Essay: Question Six: MNCs

MNCs are huge economic actors. The top performing MNCs. Wal-Mart ranks above Norway in terms of gross revenue vs. GDP (US$418.592b vs. US$413.5b)1,2, and ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell rank above Austria (US$370.123b and US$368.056b vs. $366.3b respectively)3,4,5. However,   are ‘multinational’ corporations “products of their home countries”? Toyota and Honda have international sales figures in excess of 70%6,7, and Carrefour in excess of 60%8, is this enough to say they are not products of their parent states? Although it is simple to look at statistics and make statements based on net sales by location, the first section of this essay seeks to look beyond sales figures and refine criteria to judge the extent to which MNCs can qualitatively be termed products of their parent states. The second section will look to address the capacity of MNCs to rival nation states. With such numbers they wield an undeniably large amount of power, but a qualitative analysis of power vis-à-vis nations must rely on more than quantitative comparison. Utilising Doris Fuchs’ “Three dimensions of power” theory9, this essay will analyse the instances wherein MNCs have acquired these aspects of power and hence have grown to significantly rival nation states.
Although a MNC must obviously begin somewhere, and hence finds its roots within its home country, this is far from enough reasoning to call a MNC the “product of its home country”. For the purposes of
1: Securities and Exchange Commission (2011),   Form-10K, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,   US Securities and Exchange Commission Archives, Retrieved on 21/4/11 from
2: Central Intelligence Agency (2010), The World Factbook: Norway, Directorate of Intelligence, Retrieved 22/4/11 from
3: “2010 Annual...