Laten de Amerikaanse multinationals de VS in de steek?

Op een recente conferentie in Washington, DC, heeft de voormalige Amerikaanse minister van Financiën Larry Summers gezegd dat Amerikaanse beleidsmakers zich beter kunnen richten op productieve activiteiten die in de Verenigde Staten plaatsvinden en werk bieden aan Amerikanen, dan op bedrijven die in de VS zijn geregistreerd, maar hun productie naar elders hebben verplaatst. Hij verwees naar onderzoek van de vroegere Amerikaanse minister van Arbeid Robert Reich, die – meer dan twintig jaar geleden – heeft gewaarschuwd dat de belangen van Amerikaanse multinationals, die hun productie naar het buitenland verplaatsten, botsten met die van het land zelf.

Het is makkelijk het met Summers en Reich eens te zijn dat het nationaal economisch beleid zich moet concentreren op de Amerikaanse concurrentiekracht in het algemeen en niet op het individuele welzijn van bepaalde ondernemingen. Maar het scherpe onderscheid dat zij aanbrengen tussen de economische belangen van het land en de belangen van Amerikaanse multinationale ondernemingen is misleidend.

In 2009, het jongste jaar waarvoor samenhangende cijfers beschikbaar zijn, waren er slechts 2226 Amerikaanse multinationals op een totaal van bijna dertig miljoen in de VS werkzame bedrijven. De Amerikaanse multinationals zijn meestal groot, kapitaalintensief, onderzoeksintensief en handelsintensief. Ze zijn verantwoordelijk voor een aanzienlijk en disproportioneel deel van de Amerikaanse economische activiteit.

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