Entrepreneurship and Multinationals

Entrepreneurship and Multinationals

Global Business and the Making of the Modern World

Geoffrey Jones

This fascinating volume explores the roles played by entrepreneurship and multinational enterprises in the development of the modern global world. Through a combination of new and previously published essays charting business developments from the nineteenth century onward, the author demonstrates how multinational corporations have driven globalization through the transfer of innovation and cultural values.

Chapter 3: Globalization and beauty: a historical and firm perspective

Geoffrey Jones

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, international business


This chapter uses the beauty industry to explore the impact of globalization over the long run. Beauty may seem an odd choice: the industry rarely features in the management literature. Yet the industry is large, with global sales of $426 billion in 2011. Moreover, the industry sells products which (for better or worse) impact all of us as individual human beings, because it defines who is conceived as being attractive. As recent research has demonstrated, there is a “beauty premium” which enables people considered to be more attractive to earn higher incomes, get acquitted more often in jury trials, earn higher student evaluations, and much more. In so far as the globalization of the beauty industry involved the globalization of what was considered to be attractive, the societal, cultural and individual impact was profound. The modern beauty industry, involving factory production and the selling of brands, originated in nineteenth-century Europe and North America as a very local activity drawing on long-established craft traditions and beauty rituals. The use of beauty products themselves certainly did not originate in the nineteenth century. Indeed, every known human civilization for thousands of years has used beauty aids of one kind or another, lending support to the view that the use of cosmetic artifices rested ultimately on biological imperatives to attract and to reproduce.

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