Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The bad role of multinationals

Some decades ago it was fashionable to vilify multinationals for their sometimes dubious actions in the developing world. But now it may be time to have a good look at their role in the developed world.

Inside Europe the multinationals have been a major force behind the common currency. They like to say that that will result in major savings. What they don't mention is that those will be their savings and that it will increase their competitive position towards local companies. What they don't say either is that it may be harmful for the countries involved. Even before the present problems with the southern flank of the eurozone it was clear that the EU countries outside the eurozone had higher growth figures than those inside the zone.

In international trade multinationals have a similar dubious position. With their international branches they are optimally configured to profit from international trade. But when China calls on US multinationals to fight against a necessary chance in exchange rates we are definitely facing a situation where the interest of the multinationals is not the same as that of society.

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