Student guide Facoltą di Economia A.A. 2010/11

Multinational firm in an historical perspective
Aim of the course
The course intends to highlight the relevance of the historical dimension for a deeper understanding of the multinational enterprise evolution (MNE).
Multinational enterprises (MNEs) are one of the driving forces of globalisation, but they are also, on many respects, a controversial topic. Are MNEs an instrument of social and economic development for both host and home countries? Are they, conversely, a tool of exploitation of the less developed countries or are they driving work away from the industrialised countries?
MNE is a long-standing phenomena and this course argues that a historical perspective allows us to better understand MNE's behaviour, stressing the importance of  'soft' dimensions (culture, information transfer, politics...).
The aim of the course is to allow students to evaluate the impact of MNE in the history of home and host economies,  retrieving information from some historical sources, from media (documentaries and fictional movies)  and comparing different points of views.
The course will deal with the topics of the exploitation of natural resources, of labour issues and of knowledge transfer, taking into account cases from XIXth to XXIth  Century.
Students' multicultural background and an active class environment will enhance the effectiveness of the learning experience that the course offers.
 1     Introductory lesson
 1.1          Course generalities
 1.2          Theoretical approach
 2     MNEs and work issues
 2.1          Work in the Chinese Miracle (XX-XXI Century)
 2.2          Work in XIX Century's sweatshop
 3     MNEs and natural resources
 3.1          The case of multinational oil industry (1930s and 1950s)
 3.2          Are MNEs “imperialists”? Politics and US FDI in South America during XX Century
 4     MNEs cultural issues
 4.1          Rise and fall of the managerial American model (1950s-1970s)
 4.2          Cultural clash in XIX Century MNEs
Students will be evaluated on:
·        Attendance and class participation (group activities)
·        A final multiple choice test
Reading list
·        Pun Ngai, 'Global Production, Company Codes of Conduct, and Labor Conditions in China: A Case Study of Two Factories', The China Journal, No. 54 (Jul., 2005), pp. 101-113 []
·        'White slaves or, The oppression of the worthy poor', a sermon by Reverend L. A. Banks (1893) []
·        Petroleum History (provided by Environmental Literacy Council): []
·        Marcelo Bucheli, 'Multinational corporations, totalitarian regimes and economic nationalism: United Fruit Company in Central America, 1899-1975', Business History, Vol. 50, No. 4 (July, 2008), pp. 433-454
·        Geoffrey Jones, 'Foreign Multinationals and British Industry before 1945', The Economic History Review, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Aug., 1988), pp. 429-453 []
A detailed syllabus and additional material will be provided at the beginning of the course