American corporations in the global economyBarry Copeland 05 / March / 20 Visitors: 520
American corporations currently occupy leading positions in the world. This applies to both their size and competitiveness and their role in world markets and in the global economic system. The foundation of the leadership of the United States and American companies in the global economy is the socioeconomic and institutional system that has developed as a result of many years of historical development on the basis of liberal economic and democratic political principles. There are large and successful corporations in many developed countries, but nowhere do they have such a powerful and comprehensive foundation for development and success as in the United States.
An analysis of the reasons for the leadership of US corporations shows that it is not based on a simple set of “factors”, but a complex, self-regulating system of economic functioning, based on the many interconnections of economic, political, non-profit and individual organizations, institutions and entities. The main thing is the systematic reasons for the leadership of US corporations in the global economy, the synergy of the components of this foundation. If we consider the sources of strength and competitiveness of American companies in terms of the individual components of this system, we can distinguish several central, or key areas.
Firstly, it relies on innovation. The fact that innovation is the basis and source of US competitiveness is regularly officially announced in documents of any US administration. However, these innovations do not appear on their own, but because of the existence of an innovative climate that permeates the entire economy and contributes to the emergence and development of the innovation chain. It should be especially noted that the US innovation leadership extends not only to the scientific and technical field, but also to managerial, organizational, social and other types of innovation.
Secondly, it relies on human potential. The United States has the most developed system of education and training. The American educational and scientific complex, inextricably linked with the private sector with strong financial support and business ties, has dozens of elite universities that attract hundreds of thousands of foreign students to the country. Even the most developed countries can provide the level of training and research base of these universities in only a few high schools. This regular system is complemented by a stably operating own effective network of corporate retraining institutes for specialists and skilled workers. The systematic development of the country's human potential is ensured by the fundamental circumstance that in terms of national spending on the educational and scientific fields of the United States are firmly among the world leaders, ahead of all the major countries of the world. Of key importance is the fact that American standards of organizational, managerial, commercial, and engineering practice have long occupied a recognized place as attributes of the Anglo-Saxon model of corporate structures and motivations.
Thirdly, these are numerous mechanisms of interaction between various economic and political actors, civil society organizations and individuals, which, ultimately, are built into the mechanisms of self-development of the economy and society.
The American state plays a special role, which provides legislative infrastructure for the activities of this complex system of interaction and pursues a well-defined, often tough, policy aimed at maintaining and developing an institutional environment favorable for socioeconomic development. At the same time, American corporations firmly rely on all types of US leadership in the world, and the political and economic leadership of the United States is, in turn, the power of American corporations.
In recent decades, the global economy has undergone dramatic and rapid changes associated with the processes of globalization. They relate to all aspects and aspects of the functioning of companies and are associated with a deep restructuring of the global reproduction process. At the level of individual companies, these changes are expressed in the fact that it becomes possible to carry out individual production, management, scientific and technical functions anywhere in the world, where it is most economically feasible. Global value chains are created, and corporations are transformed into globally integrated enterprises.
Globalization gives a new impetus to economic development in all countries, leads to the rapid acceleration of all processes, both at the company level and at the national level, intensifies competition both between companies and between states. At the same time, the global balance of power is changing as a result of globalization, and companies have to use all available mechanisms to maintain competitiveness and maintain leadership. From this point of view, globalization can also be regarded as a new source and factor in the effectiveness of companies.
In connection with the qualitative changes taking place in companies, a comprehensive political and economic analysis of how globalization processes affect the organizational and managerial structure of large American international companies and how they function, as well as how these changes affect the competitiveness of companies and the country as a whole, is required.
US companies, leaders in global economic development, are at the forefront of the process of change associated with globalization. First, the USA is a leading country in the field of all types of innovations. Scientific, technical, organizational, marketing, social innovations are the strongest competitive advantage of American corporations. The American corporation as a model for organizing production activities, as well as the American corporate governance system, are a model for companies in many countries of the world.
It is safe to say that it was American corporations that have been and still remain the most mature socioeconomic form of organizing large business. However, the globalization of companies has made significant changes in their relative positions in the global economic arena, since changes in the nature and content of the reproduction process and a sharp increase in competition between companies have led to the nomination of new strong players who are serious competitors to US companies. Currently, the main competitors of US companies are Asian companies.
International American corporations occupy a special place in the global economic system. For a long time, they were clear leaders, both in their absolute size and in the degree of influence on world economic processes. Also, American companies dominated the top ten largest companies in the world. However, in recent years, the situation has begun to change quite rapidly. Among the 500 largest multinational companies in the world according to Fortune magazine in 2005 there were 176 companies based in the USA, that is, more than one third, and by 2012 their number dropped to 132. Among the 2 thousand largest companies according to Forbes magazine 2008, 551 were American, and the 2012 ranking reduced the number of American companies to 524.
Despite the fact that the United States still accounts for more than a quarter of companies in this ranking, American companies lose several positions each year, which are mainly occupied by Asian companies. So, since 2007, the number of companies from the Asia-Pacific region in the ranking has increased by 132, while the number of American companies has decreased by 135. In 2008, when 61 companies dropped out of the ranking, the record for reducing the number of American companies in the Forbes Global 2000 rating was. The number of Chinese companies in the 2012 ranking reached 136, which brought this country to third place in terms of the number of companies, after the United States and Japan. Despite the fact that there is a quantitative reduction in the share of American companies in world ratings, US companies still maintain a leading position in some respects.
The demand for shares of American companies in world stock markets is evidenced by their high share in the capitalization of the global stock market. The United States remains the leader in the total market capitalization of shares of national companies, despite a fall in their share from 45% of the total capitalization of world stock markets in 2003 to 29% in 2011. The favorable condition of large companies is also reflected in the Dow Jones Index, which in spring 2012 reached a four-year-high. The total market capitalization of US companies included in the Forbes Global 2000 rating remains the largest of all regions and countries, and amounted to $ 13 trillion in 2012, which is 6% more than the previous year. The world leader in market capitalization has become the American company Apple.
The continued high demand for shares of American companies means the adoption by the business community of their leading role in the global economy. At the same time, the rapid increase in the share of Chinese companies in the global capitalization of the stock market from 15th place and 1.4% of the market in 2006 to 2nd place and 7.9% in 2011 reflects new processes in the global economy associated with fast economic the development of China and other Asian countries as a result of globalization processes.
Strengthening the rapidly growing companies in Asian countries caused by globalization and toughening international competition between companies are caused by objective processes taking place in the global economic system, and, ultimately, should lead to a new alignment of forces in world markets and new economic and political positions as separate companies, as well as entire countries and regions. The most serious financial and economic crisis of 2008-09 in recent decades. and subsequent recessions in many countries will contribute to the restructuring of the entire world economic system, which is also due to objective processes associated with the new international division of labor. Close attention is drawn to the positions and prospects of the United States as a leading global economic power.
Some idea of the current state of affairs can give ratings of country competitiveness. In the ranking of countries' competitiveness compiled by the leading business school IMD Switzerland, the United States for a long time took first place, but in 2012 lost the championship to Hong Kong. Of course, the ratings do not give a complete picture of what is happening, but only indicate some existing problems and trends. However, an analysis of the ratings of international corporations and the competitiveness ratings of countries confirms that the positions of the United States and their companies have weakened somewhat in recent years. The emerging trends indicate fundamental changes that are currently taking place in the global balance of power. We can say that a new configuration of the intercountry division of labor is being formed, primarily due to the rapid growth of the economies of Asian countries. The United States remains and, apparently, will remain a recognized world leader for a long time, and American companies are the leading players in the global economic arena, despite the fact that, in quantitative terms, their share is likely to decline slightly further. This prospect of American companies is associated primarily with the qualitative role they play in the globalization of the global economic process.
One of the most important features of American corporations that allow them to have a significant impact on the global economy is the strengthening of their presence outside the United States. Globalization occurs in all countries and affects most large companies, but the United States has global leadership in this area. The United States is the world's largest source and recipient of foreign direct investment. By the end of the twentieth century, the share of assets, sales and employment of American corporations attributable to their foreign branches was about 30%. Moreover, most of the branches of American companies are located in highly developed countries: in 2009, branches in these countries accounted for 73% of the value added produced in all foreign branches. However, over the past ten years, the share of branches in highly developed countries has decreased by 10%. According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2010 European countries accounted for 56% of US foreign direct investment. According to the estimates of American economists, up to 90% of US trade flows through American international corporations, with about 50% of all trade coming from in-house trade. In 2009, the volume of sales of goods and services of American international corporations in the countries where they have branches exceeded $ 6 trillion, which is almost four times the volume of US exports this year.
Despite the fact that there are different opinions about whether the expansion of international operations by American companies is a positive development for the US economy as a whole, it cannot be denied that such expansion helps strengthen the international and domestic positions of the companies themselves. In the last 10-15 years, there has been a rather serious quantitative decrease in the relative share of economic activity of US international companies within the country and their activity abroad.
Despite the continued absolute growth of internal divisions of American international companies in the 2000s, there is a decrease in the share of sales, employment, investments and R&D expenses in American divisions of companies compared to their foreign branches. Most of the activities of American corporations are still carried out domestically, but the development of foreign branches is more intensive, while the growth of home divisions of companies is slowing down.
The presence of a network of company divisions in different countries and regions of the world allows companies to influence the processes taking place in these countries, as well as strengthen their position in local markets. The opening of corporate branches in countries with fast-growing economies is one of the factors of competition in modern conditions. At the same time, the US economy itself remains extremely attractive for foreign investment, which indirectly indicates a positive assessment of its prospects by economic entities. According to a survey conducted by UNCTAD in 2010-2012, the United States, along with the BRIC countries, are the most attractive countries for foreign direct investment.