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Multinational corporations are global goliaths, but they have not conquered the world, nor are they responsible for every economic ill, as is sometimes alleged. These firms contribute to global prosperity by improving productivity and efficiency, innovating, and creating jobs-mostly good jobs-in both home and host countries. Governments lavish attention on multinational corporations, seeking the good that accompanies their investments even as policymakers worry about the influence multinational firms have on the local environment, social conditions, and politics. In this regard, governments face the tradeoffs that commonly afflict economic policymaking. Efforts to control the actions of multinational firms typically come at the cost of reduced investment, thereby reducing the contributions of these firms to local economies. This tradeoff is particularly stark when, as is often the case, governments compete with each other to attract multinational firms.


Pages 537-546, "Principles for Policymakers" by Foley, C. Fritz, James R. Hines, Jr., and David Wessel in Global Goliaths: Multinational Corporations in the 21st Century Economy, edited by C. Fritz Foley, David Wessel, and James R. Hines, Jr., 1988, reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield.All rights reserved. Please contact the publisher for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.