The Corporate Planet

The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization by Joshua Karliner (Sierra Club Books, 1997), is now available in bookstores, the CorpWatch website, or here.

Transnational corporations have become the most powerful economic and political entities in the world today. As author Josh Karliner points out, together with the governments of their home countries in Europe, North America and Japan, as well as international institutions such as the WTO, the World Bank, the IMF and increasingly, the UN, multinational corporations are molding an international system in which they can trade and invest even more freely--a world where they are less and less accountable to the cultures, communities and nation-states in which they operate. Underpinning this effort is not the historical inevitability of an evolving, enlightened civilization, but rather the unavoidable reality of the overriding corporate purpose: the maximization of profits.

Local economies and communities suffer in the process. Recognizing that foreign investment has become the main force behind economic integration, multinational corporations and industrialized countries are advocating a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which would 'open' all sectors of countries' economies, strip nations and localities of their right to differentiate between local and foreign companies, and let corporations directly challenge local laws.

The corporate contribution to the global environmental crisis includes:

Corporations are now making a highly visible effort to be leaders in the "envionmental movement." However, as Josh Karliner says, "today's corporate environmentalism is to the ecological and social crises of globalization what a band-aid is to a gaping wound."

See the special feature on The Corporate Planet on the CorpWatch website. More info and excerpts from The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization.