Big Business and the Wealth of South Africa: Policy Issues in the Transition from Apartheid

Author
Andrea E. Goldstein
Content Type
Working Paper
Institution
Christopher H. Browne Center for International Politics, University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
The large-scale corporation is at the core of the process of introducing new technologies, developing new organizational and managerial methods, and commercializing new products and services – in plain English, of creating the wealth of nations (Chandler et al. 1997). The manner and extent to which corporations will promote a country's economic and social development depends largely on how well the institutions of the market, on the one hand, and of government, on the other, work together in that country. Modern history suggests that such firms emerged and evolved differently in various economic, political, and social settings. Many thought that trade opening, capital market liberalization, and the convergence in consumers tastes and economic ideologies would lead to a convergence in the forms of organizing, managing, and financing business activity. Nonetheless, even in OECD countries, globalization has not brought about the expected convergence of institutions towards a unique model of interrelations between business, governments, markets, and the society at large. This outcome strengthens the hand of those arguing that purely economic, technological, or legal explanations fail to explain the contours of big business and their behaviours. This is almost a truism in all countries, but it appears particularly challenging in analyzing changes in emerging countries undergoing a series of deep economic, political, and social transformations.
Topic
Human Rights, International Trade and Finance
Political Geography
United States, South Africa