MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES AND THE THIRD WORLD by Louis Turner

MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES AND THE THIRD WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This useful book about the confrontation of multinational companies and the Third World is well researched yet accessible to the general reader. In a field where the literature is either contentious or too technical, Turner's contribution is refreshingly descriptive and balanced. Multinationals indisputably play a role in the industrialization of the Third World, but their record is deceptive, obscuring the price paid in dependency and inequality. There is little reason for these corporations to concern themselves with political, economic, and social policies that spur indigenous entrepreneurs, widen local markets, redistribute income, and otherwise bring the masses into fuller participation in national life. The needs of the Third World of course vary from case to case, and there is no reason -- at least in the short run -- why the multinationals should be concerned with them, though in the future the companies will have to compete with national and regional bodies. Moreover, Turner contends that development without the help of multinationals is possible and sometimes preferable, for they are often economically onerous to host countries, they distort native cultures, and they still meddle nefariously in domestic politics, e.g., ITT in Latin America. The increasing defiance of Third World governments is shifting the balance of power away from the multinationals and they will survive only if they develop technologies appropriate to an ecology-minded economy and processes better tailored to the needs of poor countries. In the future, multinationals are likely to be ""on tap -- not on top."" For a more hedged if scholarly assessment, see Raymond Vernon's Sovereignty at Bay (1971).

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux