State-Centric Realism Eclipsed: TNCs as the Rising Powerful Actors in the Age of Trade Liberalization

  •  Wei-en Tan    


This essay argues that the global trade liberalization, particularly since 1995, strengthens some transnational corporations (TNCs) to become more powerful. In this sense, some statements argued by state-centric realism have to be revised; however, doing that does not mean that realism is fully out-of-date. The case studies suggest that mother country, such as the U.S., is a critical agent for TNCs to project their power and/or to protect their vital interest in the global market. In other word, sovereign state, especially the stronger one, is still important under some specific conditions. Ironically, most countries in the global south are increasingly retreating from the stage of international trade while TNCs from the North are detaining many efficient means of control over technology, capital and even political access.

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