Canadian-Based Multinationals

Description

470 pages
Contains Bibliography
$35.95
ISBN 1-895176-49-2
DDC 338.8'8971

Year

1994

Contributor

Edited by Steven Globerman
Reviewed by Randall White

Randall White is the author of Voice of Region: On the Long Journey to
Senate Reform in Canada, Too Good to Be True: Toronto in the 1920s, and
Global Spin: Probing the Globalization Debate.

Review

This volume has its origins in a conference on Canadian-based
multinational enterprises, sponsored by the federal government and held
in Montreal in November 1993. As the editor notes, foreign direct
investment in Canada by multinational enterprises based in other
countries has long been a “prominent public policy issue in Canada.”
Foreign direct investment in other countries by multinational
enterprises based in Canada has received “relatively little
attention.” Yet “Canadian direct investment abroad” doubled
between 1986 and 1992. Steven Globerman and 21 other contributors have
done a credible job of documenting the phenomenon and exploring some of
its more significant implications—from the standpoint of the rather
arid perspectives that dominate the academic discipline of economics
today.

An initial paper by Globerman introduces the subject, and provides an
overview of what follows. Some final comments by André Raynauld
summarize the “lessons” of the experience with Canadian direct
investment abroad to date. In between are a dozen more detailed
articles. They include two useful descriptive pieces by federal civil
servants; discourses on such topics as technology transfer, labor-market
implications, taxation, and joint ventures by academic specialists; and
two case studies of particular firms (MacMillan Bloedel and Northern
Telecom).

Readers with their own special interests in the subject are bound to
find the volume a useful resource. The papers are largely written by and
for economists and public-policy specialists, but more general readers
may at least find Raynauld’s summary instructive. It would no doubt
also be wrong to expect a book of this sort to say anything unusually
arresting or provocative. The subject is increasingly important and even
fascinating, and there is some good material in these pages. For the
most part, however, it is hidden between the lines. As Raynauld states,
“[in Canada as elsewhere] foreign investment and other transnational
strategies are in the middle of a transition period where the rules of
the game are still experimental, uncertain, and in a state of flux.”
In this atmosphere analysts are perhaps rightly disinclined to be
adventurous. Though there is some food for thought about an adventurous
book on “the rise of Canadian multinationals” here, circumstances
are no doubt not yet ripe for this kind of book. In the meantime what
Stephen Globerman and his colleagues have put together is helpful
enough.

Citation

“Canadian-Based Multinationals,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/1752.