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We hear about them all of the time. We hear about all of the destruction they are causing to third world countries. How much do we really know? Multinational Corporations.

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We hear about them all of the time. We hear about all of the destruction they are causing to third world countries. How much do we really know? Multinational Corporations are the cause of a great deal of controversy in the business world. Some say these monster businesses do nothing but destroy the economies of developing countries, but others argue that they are beneficial as they provide labor for many people. It is important to understand the basics of multinational corporations, sweatshops, forced labor, and unions before we pick apart individual companies. A company must fit a certain set of generally accepted criteria in order to be considered a multinational corporation. The ownership of the company is key, and should be international1. For example, British as well as Dutch interests control two prominent multinationals, Shell and Unilever. By this definition however, very few Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are in fact multinational. The definition has been loosened to include large companies that have central headquarters in at least one country and several smaller divisions around the world that are run nationally but also managed internationally. MNCs move around the globe for several reasons. Of course, the first reason that is usually pointed out is that they can easily avoid export and import tariffs and get a tax break. ...read more.


Although these seem like wonderful initiatives to make the world a better place, this is the same company that is subjecting employees to extremely unsafe conditions on their palm oil plantations. Workers in Malaysia earn below industrial wages and are exposed to lethal pesticides on a daily basis. No protection is given to employees from these chemicals.6 This is a clear example of a corporation that is taking great strides forward but at the same time holding their employees welfare behind. Walmart is an MNC that is a lot closer to home, and the effects are felt a lot closer to home as well. The company portrays itself as being a community-based company, friendly and welcoming, and understanding of the needs of the modern family. Walmart employs approximately three quarters of a million people.7 Of these, many qualify for food stamps. Walmart does not provide employees with reasonably affordable health care plans, and there is only one unionized Walmart store in the world, and it is in Canada where the labour laws are a little bit tighter. Walmart products are also advertised as being made in the USA, and while some are, there are also some that are produced in China by forced labourers, some of whom are children. This goes to prove that just as there are some companies that are seen as being all bad who are actually doing some ...read more.


To the same effect, there will also always be drawbacks for both nations involved. Rather than making blanket statements that label all MNCs as being good or bad, we need to look at each corporation and each circumstance individually, and assess the situation based on the facts. 1 "Multinational Corporations" Economics Department, Iowa State University, 16 Feb 2004 http://www.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ355/choi/mnc.htm 2 "What is a Sweatshop?" UNITE Stop Sweatshops! Campaign 16 Feb 2004 Copyright (c) 2000, Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees http://www.uniteunion.org/sweatshops/whatis/whatis.html 3 "Forced Labour Convention" (c) Copyright 1997 - 2002 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland 16 Feb 2004 http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/31.htm 4 "Unilever Today" Unilever.com (c) Copyright Unilever 2003 Feb 19 2004 http://www.unilever.com/company/unilevertoday/ 5 "A View from the Third World" John Kurien 16 Feb 2004 http://www.icsf.net/jsp/publication/fishstakes/art5.pdf 6 "Planting Poverty" New Internationalist Issue 172 June 1987 18 Feb 2004 http://www.newint.org/issue172/planting.htm 7 "Site for Social Action - Boycott Walmart" Doug Casner 16 Feb 2004 http://pweb.jps.net/~dcasner/SFSAWalMartPage.html 8 "The World of the World of Coca-Cola" Ted Friedman, Communication Research, Vol. 19 No. 5 October 1992, pp. 642-662 16 Feb 2004 http://eserver.org/theory/world-of-coca-cola.html 9 "Coca-Cola Worldwide" (c)2003 The Coca-Cola Company, all rights reserved 19 Feb 2004 http://www.cocacola.com/worldwide/flashIndex1.html 10 "North South" Viewpoints, Susan Aliphat et al. (c)1993 Prentice Hall Canada Inc., Scarborough, Ontario 11 "GoodYear's Values" (c)Copyright 1996-2003 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company All Rights Reserved 16 Feb 2004 ...read more.

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