Global Capitalism and “North-South” Unevenness: In Light of Ranking, Statistical Correlations, and Profits from the Forbes’ Worldwide List of 2000 Top Firms

in Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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Abstract

While a ‘north-south divide’ in world capitalism has been pointed to for many years, in this article we examine how this unevenness continues in today’s epoch of capitalist globalization. To examine this phenomenon, we analyze a recent Forbes Magazine annual ranking of the leading 2000 companies in the world (G2000), by grouping or ‘boxing’ these companies by their 62 domiciles to calculate aggregated sales, profits, assets and market value and correlating these quantities with the GDP of the corresponding domicile. This is an approximation to reality, since the variety of transnational capital and associated global processes make it nowadays problematic to assign national labels to capital. Regardless of where the whole business circuit takes place, we found that the GDP of each country is directly proportional, more or less, to the economic strength of all G2000 top firms based or registered in that country. These proportionalities tend to hover around a certain level globally, yet the correlation is lower for the ‘global south’ (as some describe it). We can also identify important regional variations of ratios such as profits/sales. Other ratios could also be easily calculated from our results. Together these findings help lead to a more nuanced understanding of transnational corporations (TNCs), but also suggest more basically, for instance, that the ‘global north’ remains to some degree more penetrated by TNCs (of the G2000).

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2

Harris (2008b) suggests that a statist-TCC has emerged in countries such as China, Russia, and some Persian Gulf states.

3

Jayasuriya (2004) likewise points to the importance of blocs and regional dynamics for regulatory state apparatuses.

14

See for example Jason Struna’s (2009) theory on global and local proletariat class fractions.

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