The Role of Corporations as Global Citizens

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Are the multinational companies going to replace the traditional governments all over the world? Do the multinational corporations really act as the global citizens?

1. The Introduction:

Corporations or to be more specific the MNCs/Enterprises as an organized organic entities appear to be fast emerging as Global Citizens (GCs) in their own right. These GCs don't seem to be hundred per cent loyal to any particular political ideology or government authority of any single and particular nation-State. Rather, these GCs are more loyal to their Monetary Benefits (MBs) accruing from their Transnational Transactions (TTs). Therefore, this peculiar MBs approach compels these GCs to think globally so as to plough back to their mother countries (MCs) the fruits of their Global Commercial Operations (GCOs).

In this whole MBs game, these GCs wittingly or unwittingly cater to some extent at least to the needs and aspirations of the people of the Host Political Regions (HPRs) in which these operate.Without some perceptible aforesaid catering and sensitization to the issues prevalent in HPRs, these GCs can never hope to gain a solid foothold or local favours/permission to operate therein. The net result is that these Corporations with the passage of time are likely to display a propensity to become GCs cutting across the broad spectrum of all political barriers (PBs) like political boundaries, etc.

2. The Background:

Corporations have since ancient times been playing the vital role of GCs , though not as all pervasive, all embracing and more powerful as in the present times. For example, in a restricted sense of the term GCs, the various Guilds of merchants acted as a binding factor across the length and breadth of the Indian Subcontinent during ancient and medieval era. Such Guilds operated in the then numerous small principalities and states of the region. But, these could not have a profound and a long lasting impact on the contemporary political events and the scene. Later, we see the British East India Company, a giant MNC, overrunning the Indian subcontinent with equanimity and impunity, and facilitating the transfer of political power from Indian hands into the then hands of the British Monarchy.

It is only during and after the world wars I &II that we witness these Corporations acquiring a cumulatively increasing role as GCs with both the positive and negative implications to both the HPRs and the MCs. For example, IBM, the international computer giant based in USA had been accused a few years ago of having connived with Hitler by providing statistics on Jews which ultimately helped him exterminate Jews in Germany. Of course, it on a more positive note did help Allied Forces during the World War II by furnishing information on Germany that had been collected by it during its operations in Germany. In a way, IBM seems to have double-crossed with protection of its MBs being its only sole goal.

 3. The Process:

An individual all by oneself is helpless and does not have enough political power to influence the political process in the world today. But , a group of individuals in the shape of a Corporation can manage to exert tremendous pressure and influence both in the MCs and HPRs. The HPR reconciles to the Global Outlook(GO) of a Corporation , since a Corporation brings in through international trade the necessary fresh doses of monetary, technical , managerial and other numerous forms of assistance to the HPR. The HPR acquiesces in the presence of these GCs in its territory because of the perceived benefits as mentioned above, whether rightly or wrongly. These GCs are able to influence the policies of the HPR in exchange for above mentioned benefits doled out by them to the HPR. In fact, consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously these GCs come to be viewed as its own citizens by an HPR with unwritten mutual understanding on this score between these GCs and the HPR.

4. The IMPORTANCE:

With cold war era having been a thing of past history and an emergence of the Internet and other fast means of communications, the present world has become a witness to the ever shrinking influence of the political boundaries (PBs), notwithstanding the intentions to the contrary of  the Political Authorities in a given Political Region(PAPR). People residing in all Political Regions (PRs) suddenly seem to have come into fast contact with each other to the surprising extent never seen earlier in history.

It is being increasingly realized by all people all over the globe that it is futile to live in self-imposed isolation and narrow shells called nation- States or the PRs. Further, it is becoming obvious that there is a glaring gap between the perceptions of those wielding political power and the ruled ones in any PR. Thus, the PBs in a sense are crumbling each passing day.

Still, these ruled ones as individual entities are too feeble to force their ruling classes to go in for integration of all PRs into one single Global Political Region (GPR). Also, it is crystal clear that survival of any PR is mainly a function of its Economic Strengths (ESs). But, it requires favourable International Commercial Transactions (ICTs ) to achieve ESs. These ICTs are now in the powerful control of GCs. As such, these GCs as the representative of numerous groups of individual people have come to have a solid bargaining power vis a vis the political instrument of the PAPRs.

It is indeed ironic that the visible and well structured edifice called the U.N.O. has frankly speaking failed in accomplishing the task of the global integration of disparate PRs. In future, it shall be the perceptibly invisible winds of change blown by GCs that shall cause the strengthening of the people to people contact on a global scale and weakening of the parochial narrow PBs such as loyalty to one's nation- State or the PR. These GCs shall become instrumental in accomplishing the objectives of a truly Globally Balanced Economic Landscape both in terms of regions and sectors of the economy.

I have been to able to submit to you this paper online instantly  sitting in India  simply because of the greater freedom of communication showered  on us by GCs like the Microsoft.

Finally, Although utopian an idea it may seem at this point of history yet these GCs in times to come are likely to supplant the role of the PAPRs which shall ultimately culminate into a truly  integrated Global World or the "Vasudhaeeva Kutumbkama" (the concept of the whole world being a family as propounded in the Sanskrit texts )where human mind and spirit shall be without fear of any political retributions from any parochial PR.

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