Transnational Corporations

This journal takes a fresh look at major legal, sectorial, regional and environmental issues facing corporations operating internationally. Released three times a year, it provides in-depth policy-oriented research findings on significant issues relating to the activities of transnational corporations.


Book reviews: Global electrification. Multinational enterprise and international finance in the history of light and power, 1878-2007

Over the last decade or so, huge transnational corporations (TNCs) operating in the electricity sector – as well as in other infrastructure sectors including communications, transportation and water – have emerged to occupy important positions in the rankings of the world’s most important TNCs. In 2009, firms including EDF, Suez, RWE, Endesa, Veolia and National Grid, listed in the UNCTAD ranking of the world’s non-financial largest TNCs (UNCTAD, 2009). Indeed, the UNCTAD team was quick to pick up on the importance of infrastructure services in FDI, addressing the topic in the World Investment Report: The Shift Towards Services (UNCTAD, 2004), and again, more specifically on the infrastructure services, in the World Investment Report: Transnational Corporations and the Infrastructure Challenge (UNCTAD, 2008). A key concern coming out of this latter report was the unevenness of FDI in infrastructure by sector and country, the major upshot being that, despite a global surge in investment in these sectors, some developing countries now face significant under-investment in particular infrastructure sectors. This dilemma was analysed again at the UNCTAD “First Symposium on FDI for Development” in March 2010. Infrastructure services can claim to be a special part of the economy. Not only do they provide basic services to households and communities – water, transportation, communications and energy – but also provide the infrastructure upon which the rest of the economy depends to function. Growing internationalization of infrastructure ownership brings opportunities and challenges: today, privately or publicly-owned utilities based in a foreign country may be partially or wholly responsible for the provision of electricity to those living in another. Since household electricity has been considered a basic service for much of the twentieth century, and has also historically been considered a strategic sector for governance, this development is complex and fascinating.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error