Multi-National Companies = Today’s Grey Powers Behind the Scenes

Malinda Seneviratne, in Email Memo

If you really really wish to know who controls our economy regardless of who we elect…………… read this passage, 10,001 times over and over… it is they who should be sent to their homes..

Multinational conglomerates like Unilever, etc., infiltrate international agencies, including the UN system. With their effective intelligence networks, they can even destabilize governments. While making use of the military and diplomatic power of international capitalism as represented by the USA, they in turn serve its political interests.

To a large extent the conglomerates can defend their interests abroad without colonialism based on conquest of territory, for the reason that they can control activities by their monopoly of technology and markets. First, a good portion of their income is in the form of technological rents, royalties, licensing rights, technical assistance fees, etc. The technology is rarely transferred, and its diffusion outside the orbit of such corporations is rigidly controlled. When deprived of this technology and marketing know-how, the natural resources and cheap labour of the host countries become idle assets at least in the short run. Second, transfer pricing enables a multinational to siphon away profits from high-risk territories; or by easily inflating accounting costs, it can also minimize local tax liabilities. Third, a ‘fairly wide geopolitical spread’ of production facilities enables multinationals to switch the venue of their operations, treating a large part of the world as their keyboard. The 25 biggest US multinational firms in 1967 had production facilities, on an average, in 27 countries. A parallel feature is the spreading of markets over several overseas territories, any one of which contributes only a small share of the total business. For all these reasons, the bargaining power of a multinational is immeasurably stronger than that of the transnational enterprises of the classical colonial period. (SBD de Silva: The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, 1982).

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