[A-List] Competing and collaborating imperialisms
Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Wed Mar 20 05:24:09 MST 2002
"Nicos Poulantzas' work on 'internationalization and the nation state', written in the early 1970s, still stands as the most fruitful point of departure. Against 'the ideology of "globalization"' Poulantzas insisted that it was wrong to think of globalization as an abstract economic process in which social formations and states are seen 'merely as a concretization and spatialization of the "moments" of this process'. Such formulations, which inevitably took the state to have 'lost its powers' to multinational capital, were 'fundamentally incorrect'. Poulantzas's outstanding contribution was to explain: (i) that when multinational capital penetrates a host social formation, it arrives not merely as abstract 'direct foreign investment', but as a transformative social force within the country; (ii) that the interaction of foreign capital with domestic capital leads to the dissolution of the national bourgeoisie as a coherent concentration of class interests; (iii) but far from losing importance, the host state actually becomes responsible for taking charge of the complex relations of international capital to the domestic bourgeoisie, in the context of class struggles and political and ideological forms which remain distinctively national even as they express themselves within a world conjuncture."
--Leo Panitch, "The New Imperial State", New Left Review 2, no. 2, pp. 8-9 (March-April 2000)
Blue chips try to loosen UK ties
Wednesday March 20, 2002
British blue-chip industrial companies British Airways, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce are pushing the government to relax restrictions so they can become majority-owned by foreign investors - moves that could herald a new wave of consolidation.
All three have experienced serious trading turbulence since September 11 but have attracted growing investor interest from abroad, particularly in the US where they are trying to expand their businesses.
Yesterday defence and aerospace manufacturer BAE and airline group BA informed the stock exchange they were pushing up against their foreign ownership limits of 49.5%.
The Department of Trade and Industry confirmed it was holding talks with BAE on the issue although it declined to say what the outcome might be. "We are aware of the statement by BAE [to the stock market] and are reviewing the situation," a DTI spokesman said.
BAE and Rolls-Royce said they were "reviewing" the issue of foreign ownership although they refused to comment on discussions with the government. BA said it had argued for some time that controls on UK carriers were "anachronistic" and should be removed as soon as possible.
"We are talking to government about this issue. BA feels the rules are antiquated and we should be allowed to consolidate and merge freely," said a spokeswoman for the airline.
Clive Forestier-Walker, defence analyst and BAE watcher at broker ING Barings Charterhouse, said restrictions on ownership could damage the development of British companies. "It inhibits overseas buying."
The government introduced a "special share" on these formerly state-owned companies at their privatisation. At BAE Systems, for instance, it allows ministers to restrict foreign share ownership to below 49.5% and dictates that no one investor can hold more than 15% of the total number of shares.
Politicians can also control the composition of the board to ensure that British nationals remain in control, and can make appointments to the board.
In its formal statement to the stock market BAE said the percentage of shares held by non-UK residents had reached 48.09%.
BAE was founded in 1977 as British Aerospace and was privatised in 1981. It transformed itself into BAE Systems in a November 1999 merger with Marconi Electronic Systems, then the defence arm of GEC, and has recently won a number of substantial contracts from the military in the US.
In 1981 only 15% of the company could be held by foreign residents but the figure was increased to 29.5% by 1989 and raised to today's limit four years ago.
"We are currently reviewing the situation," said the BAE spokesman who pointed out that having a restriction on share ownership downgraded the company on certain indices such as the MSCI.
BA told the stock market yesterday that foreign ownership of its shares exceeded 48% and was touching the regulatory limits under which it remains a UK carrier.
Full article at:
Mercuria Business School
michael.keaney at mbs.fi
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