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Creating the Future

  • Sandrine Tesner
  • Georg Kell

Abstract

The political conditions of the twenty-first century provide a context in which the original partnership between multilateral institutions and corporations finds a stronger rationale than ever. Key to this recovered alliance is an understanding of the differences and comparative advantages of both actors, and the acknowledgement that their respective interests do not negate the fundamental motivations of each party. Corporations are profit-making entities, and the current UN outreach to the private sector does not question the fact. Indeed, it assumes that the continued prosperity of global corporations is an unmatched opportunity for development. It is precisely to sustain global economic expansion that the UN secretary-general challenged business leaders to adopt his Global Compact in January 1999. Multilateral organizations are by definition political creatures. Their membership is constituted by nation-states, which continue to wield ultimate decision-making power. At the same time, these states have lost the capacity to rule single-handedly on an array of issues critical to the future relevance of the multilateral system. The United Nations therefore needs to find acceptable ways to engage nonstate global actors—civil society and the private sector—in its activities and programs. In this new political equation, global corporations are a key variable.

Keywords

Civil Society Corporate Responsibility Business Leader Global Compact World Intellectual Property Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See Albert O. Hirshmann, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945,Google Scholar
  2. as well as Charles Kindleberger, The World in Depression, 1929–1939. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.Google Scholar
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    Robert Wade, “Globalization and its Limits: Reports of the Death of the National Economy are Greatly Exaggerated,” in National Diversity and Global Capitalism, eds. S. Berger and R. Dove. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Dani Rodrik, Has Globalization Gone Too Far? Washington, D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 1997, p. 2.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    Kell and Ruggie citing D. Henderson, The MAI Affair: A Story and Its Lessons. London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1999.Google Scholar
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    Peter Schwartz and Blair Glibb, When Good Companies Do Bad Things. Responsibility and Risk in an Age of Globalization. New York: John Wiley, 1999.Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    See Daniel Cohen, The Wealth of the World and the Poverty of Nations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  8. 50.
    John Gerard Ruggie, ed., Multilateralism Matters. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Sandrine Tesner 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandrine Tesner
  • Georg Kell

There are no affiliations available

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