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New Left Review I/68, July-August 1971


Bill Warren

The Internationalization of Capital and the Nation State: a Comment

The central thesis of Robin Murray’s essay in nlr 67 is to the effect that the postwar ‘internationalization of capital’ [1] Variously dated by Murray from 1904 and from 1950. has tended to weaken the (capitalist) nation State. His argument may be summarized as follows. Since the Second World War there has developed an increasing territorial divergence between the activities of nation-states and those of large international firms, which are becoming the economically dominant institution of the capitalist world. An analysis of the economic functions of the nation State shows, firstly, that these functions need not always be performed by a firm’s ‘own’ nation State and are in fact being progressively less so performed; and secondly, that the increasing operational divergence of international firm and nation State significantly weakens the State and reduces its ability to control the major firms and the economy in general.

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