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Internationalization and Varieties of Capitalism: the Limited Effects of Cross-National Coordination of Economic Activities on the Nature of Business Systems

Опубликовано на портале: 24-03-2008
Review of International Political Economy. 1998.  Vol. 5. No. 3. P. 445-481 . 
The increasing internationalization of economic activities in the late twentieth century has encouraged the belief that a new form of cross-national economic organization is becoming established and replacing existing forms of capitalism. Both the intensification of international competition and growth of managerial coordination across borders are seen as generating the convergence of currently separate business systems. However, the extent of such internationalization is less than often claimed, especially when compared to the late nineteenth century, and the processes by which it will lead to such convergence remain obscure. Since the different varieties of capitalist economic organization in Europe, Asia and the Americas developed over some time interdependently with dominant societal institutions, the ways in which they change as a result of internationalization are path dependent and reflect their historical legacies as well as current institutional linkages. Qualitative changes in central business system characteristics, such as ownership relations, non-ownership coordination and employment policies, are therefore unlikely to be rapid or to result solely from internationalization. Furthermore, the ways in which firms from different business systems internationalize reflect their varied natures and strategies which are unlikely to alter greatly unless key institutions alter. If multinational firms do develop different characteristics from national competitors, their impact on their domestic and host business systems will likewise depend on a number of strong conditions. Similarly, the establishment of a distinctive and dominant 'global' business system is only likely in very restrictive circumstances.