Would someone please browse through this website called Nation magazine below and find at least two resources related to multinational expansionism. Please explain how this expansionism affected...

Would someone please browse through this website called Nation magazine below and find at least two resources related to multinational expansionism.

Please explain how this expansionism affected job security for the American working class and the working classes of most of the third world countries.


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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Nation magazine is an old and revered – on the political left – publication that is frequently critical of U.S. foreign policy and the role of U.S.-based multinational corporations.  Its articles, as the two the links for which are provided below, demonstrate, that role on the part of U.S. multinational corporations is overwhelmingly negative.  Articles in The Nation regularly criticize U.S. business  practices in foreign, especially less-developed countries, where many establish manufacturing facilities because of the markedly lower labor costs and, these articles regularly suggest, because of the lower environmental standards often present in those less-developed countries.  These articles often reflect the perspectives of labor unions, which represent the textile and myriad other manufacturing workers whose jobs have been eliminated over the years because the corporations for which they work have shifted those manufacturing activities to foreign countries where productions costs are significantly lower.  And those shifts have definitely occurred.  Corporations headquartered in virtually every developed country, and, in the case of China, “developing” countries routinely seek out foreign locations where manufacturing costs are lower so that they can remain competitive and ensure the highest possible returns on investments.  It is absolutely correct, as The Nation points out, that hundreds of thousands of American jobs have been lost to multinational expansionism over the decades.  Whether these jobs were inevitable or even appropriate, however, is rarely addressed.

The economy of the United States and of most of the industrialized world is predicated upon the free, or at least minimally-regulated flow of goods and services across borders.  Businesses, by nature, seek out those options that promise the highest return on investments in such things as labor and regulatory requirements.  The fewer the regulations imposed on business, and the less costly the labor, the more attractive the location for manufacturers.  Southeast Asian countries, the so-called “Asian tigers,” experienced enormous levels of economic growth during the 1980s and 1990s in no smart due to their willingness to attract foreign businesses and investment by offering lower operating costs.  Even Chinese corporations, as they reach the highest levels of international competitiveness, sometimes relocate manufacturing facilities to lower-cost regions.  This phenomenon involves the shifting of millions of jobs across international borders, with the resulting sense of economic dislocation experienced in countries like the United States.  Certain industries, for example, textiles, steel, shipbuilding and others, that historically employed millions of workers experienced tremendous rates of contraction because of the lower manufacturing costs in countries like China, Russia, Taiwan and others that sought to develop their own industries at U.S. expense or because U.S. corporations found it too attractive to shift their own operations overseas to ignore the option. 

The consequence of multinational expansionism, then, is fewer manufacturing, and, increasingly, service jobs in the United States but more such jobs in poorer countries where employment opportunities would otherwise not exist.  Critics of this process, like The Nation, argue that wealthy countries led by the United States, exploit poor foreign workers forced to function in conditions considered intolerable in the United States.  Lacking the U.S.’s tougher environmental and labor standards, they insist, American companies avoid U.S. laws by operating overseas, in the process subjecting the less-fortunate workers in those poorer countries to unfair working conditions.  Supporters of multinational expansionism, on the other hand, argue that business has no choice but to take those measures necessary to reduce costs in a highly-competitive environment and that workers in foreign countries enjoy far better jobs under far better conditions than would otherwise be the case.  The truth tends to lie in between those two perspectives.