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The Political Power of Global Corporations

ISBN: 978-0-7456-9846-5
256 pages
February 2018, Polity
The Political Power of Global Corporations (0745698468) cover image


We have long been told that corporations rule the world, their interests seemingly taking precedence over states and their citizens. Yet while states, civil society and international organizations are well drawn in terms of their institutions, ideologies and functions, the world's 100,000 + global corporations are often more simply sketched as mechanisms of pure profit maximization. 
In this book, John Mikler recasts global corporations as political actors with complex identities and strategies. Debunking the idea of global corporations as exclusively profit-driven entities, he shows how they seek not only to drive or modify the agendas of states but to govern in their own right.  He also explains why we need to re-territorialize global corporations as political actors which reflect and project the political power of the territories from which they hail

We know the global corporations' names, we know where they are headquartered, and we know where they invest and operate. Economic processes are increasingly produced by the control they possess, the relationships they have with other actors, the leverage they employ, the strategic decisions they make, and the discourses they create to enhance acceptance of their interests. This book represents a call to study how they do so, rather than making assumptions based on theoretical abstractions.
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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Tables and Figures
  • Abbreviations
  • 1.Introduction: The Global Corporate Takeover
  • 2.Theorizing Global Corporations’ Power
  • 3.Geographical Concentration
  • 4.National Institutional Embeddedness
  • 5.Private Authority and the Potential for Private Governance
  • 6.Conclusion: Three Implications
  • References
  • Index
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Author Information

John Mikler is Senior Lecture in the Department of Government and International Relations at The University of Sydney.
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"Few would deny that global corporations are immensely influential. They dominate markets and have profound influence over technology, prosperity and the environment. John Mikler's brilliant study of how they share political power with government provides a cogent and perceptive analysis. It is a landmark in one of the most crucial yet under-emphasised debates in contemporary social science. Corporations structure our present and define our futures, to understand their power requires Mikler's masterful, wide-ranging and richly illustrated exposition."
Stephen Wilks, Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter

"This book provides a timely and highly needed addition to the literature on corporations as political actors in today’s global political economy. Mikler's strategy to reterritorialize corporations and specifically corporate power in geopolitical terms allows fascinating perspectives on actors typically considered in terms of transnational characteristics."
Doris Fuchs, University of Muenster

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