Globalization and Private Law
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Globalization and Private Law

The Way Forward

Edited by Michael Faure and André van der Walt

This timely book explores the relationship between private law and globalization. It examines the consequences of the fact that law making now takes place in a globalized world which increasingly leads to questions of accountability and legitimacy of the law making process.
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Chapter 9: Globalization and Corporate Law

Philip Sutherland


Philip Sutherland 1 INTRODUCTION [I]f asked to specify what they understand by ‘globalization’, most people reply with considerable hesitation, vagueness and inconsistency. Moreover, much discussion of globalization is steeped in oversimplification, exaggeration and wishful thinking. In spite of a deluge of publications on the subject, analyses of globalization tend on the whole to remain conceptually inexact, empirically thin, historically ill-informed, economically and/or culturally illiterate, normatively shallow and politically naive.1 The globalization debate has become intense in recent years as there is much at stake.2 This chapter will consider the impact of globalization on corporate law by focusing on multinational corporations (MNCs) and their regulation. In doing so it will fall into all of the traps mentioned. It starts with an evaluation of globalization, MNCs and corporate law theory in order to set the stage for further analysis. It will then consider the different manifestations of corporate regulation of MNCs in the globalized environment. 2 WHAT IS GLOBALIZATION? The term globalization has been used to label almost every important phenomenon of the last twenty years.3 The concept has become so controversial that it is almost impossible to give any uncontested account of it. Perhaps the most helpful, but at the same time vague, definition is that globalization is a ‘process of intensifying interconnectedness’.4 Not only may this interconnectedness Scholte (2005, pp. 1–2). Stiglitz (2006, p. 288). Scholte (2005, p. 15). Kaldor (1999, pp. 3–4). See also Pinto (2005, p. 477 and 487); Scholte (2005, pp. 60 ff.). See...

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