Full text: Introduction

recognized more and more as one of the most pregnant changes in our time: It 
is the growing power and influence of the international (or "multi-national' 1 ) 
concerns. Their origin is manifold: On the one hand exploitation of the 
resources of undeveloped countries, on the other hand technical know-how 
combined with protectionism. The present role of these concerns is based on 
the liberalization of trade and payments in the industrial countries. 
Although their share in the manufacturing and mining industries of industrial 
countries is usually less than twenty percent, this share is bound to grow 
quickly because the multi-national concerns grow faster than the rest of 
industry in many countries. The power of these concerns threatens to trans 
cend that of national governments, at any rate those of the smaller industrial 
countries, not to speak of less developed countries where their influence is 
not new. The process of concentration which is dealt with in this book, has 
therefore reached a new and higher stage. 
At the same time there has been a complete volte face in the avowed 
policies of national governments with regard to amalgamations and large 
concerns. Whereas formerly these were officially blamed for their monopolistic 
practices, and monopoly legislation was still being introduced in European 
countries in the 1950*s (its practical effectiveness may have been small or 
even nil), in the last ten years the official aim of European governments was 
to foster amalgamation and the formation of large business units, because it 
was believed that only these large units on account of their superiority 
especially in matters of research and development and sales organization 
could stand up to the competition of the large American business units. 
Broadly speaking, it would seem that the tendencies dealt with in 
this book have not ceased to operate, and that they are even operating on a 
higher - a multi-national instead of merely a national - level. 
Josef Steindl 
April 1972

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