PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST
Transcript of Audio Clip
The end of the 19th Century brought the era of Imperialism. The empires are easy to see on the map but the same period brought the expansion of multinational firms. Danish and British firms competed in laying telegraph lines across the continents and across the oceans. Gold mines in South Africa and Australia were dominated by British firms. Japanese ship makers and American oil firms added to the list of multinationals.
Some times these multinational firms came to have almost colonial powers over the countries in which they worked. The board members of multinational firms are now no longer necessarily from the same country or even the same continent.
Even military production entered the arena for multinational firms. The international sales of arms grew even as Cold War confrontation died down, and the American-based firms were the leading sellers in the international arms market. So over the course of a century the empires had fallen away and given rise to independent nations but the tighter connection of the world economy through multinational firms remained.