Thinking Big: Student Led Research on the World's Largest Global Corporations
28 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2015
Date Written: April 6, 2015
In 2008 the ANU College of Law commenced a program of law reform and social justice activities; a key part of which is to give law students opportunities to explore and enhance the role of law in society through study, research and social justice initiatives. Law students are encouraged to develop their own projects, and in 2012 the Global Corporate Power Project (‘the Project’) began. From humble beginnings, the Project has now produced research on the size, geographical spread and regulation of global corporations in the banking, insurance, food and beverage, military technology, mining, hotel, pharmaceuticals, automotive and consumer electrics industries. Defining a “global corporation” and determining how powerful such corporations are has been the underlying focus of the research.
This Working Paper explores the Project and its key findings about these industries. It begins by discussing globalisation, and the implication for state sovereignty. In Part 2, the paper sets out the methodology and criteria used in the Project to identify and classify corporations based on their geographical spread. One of the unique aspects of the Project is that it has developed its own methodology to identify geographically diverse corporations. In Part 3, the key findings about the banking, insurance, food and beverage, tobacco, and military technology industries are identified and discussed. The discussion highlights how, in all these sectors, there are less than six corporations that can be called "global". Not surprisingly, many of these corporations are household names and would be familiar to regulators, consumers and governments around the world. Finally, in Part 4, the article reflects on the importance of such research for student learning and future research directions.
Keywords: Globalization, Corporate Accountability, Multi-national Corporations, Global Regulation
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