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Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Multinational Corporations

Course Abbreviation: 
Credit Only: N Anon Gr: Y

This course will introduce students to the multinational corporation as object and source of law and legal regulation, and the role of multinational corporations in world affairs. The course has been developed for both upper-class law students and students in the School of International Affairs for have completed their first year course work. Globalization is central to the study of the regulatory and policy framework of multinational corporations, and their relationships with states and other non-state actors. Since the early 1970s, with their huge market power and advanced R&D capabilities, MNCs have been seen by some astute observers as purveyors of global efficiency, while at the same time being accused by others of using their transnational leverage and largesse to foster economic and technological dependency, especially among the developing nations. Ironically, however, this once "highly politicized" latter view seems to have given way to a more balanced perspective; most nations are scurrying around to ensure their economies can secure high levels of foreign investment from MNCs so they can better integrate with the mainstream of the international economy. With globalization’s objectives of reducing the barriers to the movement of people, capital and technology across the globe, the MNC has been able to penetrate economies in virtually every part of the world. The result has been a fundamental shift in the relationship of multinational corporations to both law and public policy. With the deepening of the framework and legal structures of globalization, multinational corporations have been transformed from a mere object of law making, like individuals, to organizations that themselves now create law and legal structures. Additionally, the frameworks within which multinational corporations now serve as both objects and sources of law has expanded from relations only with the domestic legal orders of states to deep association with governance structures at the international level, including those of both public and private entities. Students will first consider the conceptual framework within which MNCs operate, including its business and legal forms, its relations with states and international organizations. Students will then consider MNC regulation by home and host states, and then examine the emerging system of international regulation by public bodies and through transnational systems of self regulation.

Corporations (BUSLW 963) is recommended
Larry Catá Backer,