We live in a world today that is somewhat dominated by capitalism and consumerism, and so we rely heavily on MNCs and the products they produce to go by our daily lives, with products such as gas, food products, clothing, etc. Looking at the top 25 MNCs that are more powerful than many countries, mentioned according to Foreign Policy, you see Walmart as the top company. I personally visit Walmart at least twice weekly because of its convenient location and prices, and I suspect thousands of others do so too. So how is it that an MNC or a company, that is a retailer, becomes stronger, or more powerful, than several other countries? Would such a scary phenomena change the world indefinitely?
Parag Khanna makes an interesting argument that sovereignty and government laws are not the only thing that matters anymore, but we are mostly more controlled by supply and demand, which indicates that the power of globalization and capitalism has shifted power from countries to MNCs. And the reason is, because of that, some MNCs, such as Apple and Walmart, are worth more than some countries. For example, Khanna mentions that “the cash that Apple has on hand exceeds the GDPs of two-thirds of the world’s countries” (Khanna, 2016). Moreover, MNCs do not only gain power because of its consumers, but because of their political agenda. For example, Google, in 2017, spent around US$18 million lobbying politicians and lawmakers, which got them to be the number one lobbyer in the world (Green, 2018). Therefore, it is not exactly just an economic factor that strengthens MNCs, but political ones as well.
My question here is, should we be worried about such a phenomena? Is it okay for us to be living somewhere and know that MNCs have more power than such country? Are MNCs taking over the world? Again, I raise the importance of the rise of globalization, and how it is affecting all of us daily. Globalization has paved the way for capitalism, and the rise of capitalism has made it very easy for MNCs to climb the ladder of power. Corporations are becoming more central players in global affairs, and are getting more involved politically, rather than just economically. If MNCs are able to lobby politicians, and one company can have more money than the GDP of two-thirds of the world combined, then they have enough power to take over the world. MNCs are already becoming stateless, so is it possible that at one point, us – citizens – become stateless, or have our laws put by MNCs?
Green, A. (2018, September 18). Are multinationals now more powerful than the nation state?). ‘ Retrieved from https://www.spectator.com.au/2018/09/are-multinationals-now-more-powerful-than-the-nation-state/
Khanna, P., & Francis, D. (2016, March 15). These 25 Companies Are More Powerful Than Many Countries. Retrieved from https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/15/these-25-companies-are-more-powerful-than-many-countries-multinational-corporate-wealth-power/