International Business and Trade in a Historical Perspective
The objective of this course is to discuss the development of world
trade from early modern times until today. Firstly, the historical
development of world trade and trade policies are discussed in terms of
causes and effects of international trade. A central aspect is the
discussion of the importance of trade for growth and distribution of
wealth over the world. The role of trade for countries in the less
industrialised world is compared to its role for the industrialised
world. Linked to this, is the discussion of whether protectionism or
free trade has been the best way to promote economic development.
Secondly, the course relates to the development of “big business”.
The aim is to achieve an understanding for the present situation of
multinational companies by studying their historical development. The
studies start with how multi-national companies were formed.
Multinationals have sometimes been accused of contributing to social
injustice in countries in the third world. In the industrialised world
they are accused of disrupting competition. The effects of big business
establishment are to a large extent decided by how the activities are
regulated. The national state can build institutions and regulate
business activities by for example introducing tariffs, different forms
of taxation, regulation of wages and so on. An important issue is to
study under what circumstances multinational companies are contributing
to growth and redistribution and when they are not.