The ‘Flying-Geese’ Theory of Multinational Corporations and Structural Transformation
New Horizons in International Business series
Chapter 1: Why Akamatsu’s original theory needs reformulation
Kaname Akamatsu set forth the flying-geese theory of economic development as back as the 1930s, drawing on his statistical studies of Japan’s trade in manufactures in 1870_1939. He considered essential the old-fashioned, highly nationalistic, infant-industry protection strategy, a strategy that was designed to propel the three-step sequence of import, domestic production, and export, all by indigenous firms in avoidance of incursions by foreign interests. Arm’s-length trade was the major mode of exchange. Since then, however, the world economy has drastically changed. Multinational corporations (MNCs) are now ubiquitous, setting up production and marketing facilities in each other’s economies. The three-step sequence is carried out instantaneously at the hands of MNCs: local production is initiated simultaneously for export as well as for import substitution. MNCs’ involvement in the three-step sequence is explored.