Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tata bids for Corus: the rise of third world multinationals

India’s Tata Steel has launched a 455p a share offer for Corus, the company that brings together what little is left of what was once the publicly-owned British Steel and what little is left of its Dutch counterpart Hoogovens. Two Russian outfits – Severstal and Novolipetsk – are mulling a counterbid.

Yes, the age of the third world (and second world, for that matter) multinational has well and truly arrived. What’s more, these MNCs are buying up large slices of the UK’s shriveled industrial base.

So RMC – Ready Mix Concrete, as was – is now owned by Cemex of Mexico. And, as a P&O Ports shop steward of my acquaintance likes to joke, P&O is now under state ownership. Except the state in question is Dubai.

My question is … where do developments such as these leave Lenin’s theory of imperialism? Is India now an imperialist power driven to export capital? Is Britain a neocolony? Answers on a postcard. Or in the comments box.

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