In the last half of the 20th century, an increasingly globalized market economy encouraged companies to grow bigger to take advantage of economies of scale and economies of scope. Because they competed against each other to be more efficient, these companies have been the locomotives of material progress, producing more and better goods at lower and lower prices. In search of higher profits, these large corporations, individually or as part of an interest group frequently lobbied for or against changes in public policy. Corporate lobbying is considered controversial, not only because they are often powerful and effective lobbyists, but because while corporations have the legal status of personhood, they are not "citizens" and their interests and the public interest do not necessarily coincide. As corporations grew in size, reach and power, these concerns intensified, leading to numerous anti-globalization protests and movements opposed to consumerism in general.
Issues relating to multinational corporations include:
- the status of corporate personhood and the grant of limited liability
- corporate donations and their influence on political party policy, including government policy.
- the potential for a revolving door effect where individual's carrers cross from being employed by an industry to being a regulator for the industry and back again - a conflict of interest.
- the ecology crisis triggered by consumerism.
- the influence of advertising - social pollution or mind control?.
- white collar crime and corporate fraud.
- layoffs, unemployment and labour standards.
- a race to the bottom created by policy arbitrage - when corporations shop around for the lowest tax rates or weakest environmental policies.
- corporate welfare and other subsidies/bribes/tax breaks paid to corporations for investing or creating jobs in a jurisdiction.
- human rights abuses tolerated by globalized production.
- economic inequality which follows from the concentration of wealth and power.
- executive compensation for what?
- the old boys club and other means of social exclusion.
Corporate governance should be reformed to include social and environmental stakeholders.
capitalism has ended up better off in the long run, mainly because capitalism is based on freedom and it has inherent checks and balances. Corporations aren't powerful. Consumers are powerful. All the black hooded protesters are voting with their dollars every day.