By Mark Casson
"in the postwar global the most function of the multinational firm has been the overseas diffusion of propriety know-how and managerial talents"
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Extra resources for Alternatives to the Multinational Enterprise
It is argued that these costs are likely to be greatest for certain types of intermediate product, notably for information. It is for this reason that the firm is a major instrument for the transfer of information from R and D to production. The multinationality of the firm arises because most information is relevant to world-wide markets and locational factors often dictate that each market should be serviced by its own separate production unit. When market transactions are effected by exchange of ownership we speak of 'arm's length' transactions in an 'external' market; when ownership does not change we speak of 'notional' transactions in an 'internal' market.
11 gives a breakdown of US receipts from proprietary information by country of origin. Payments of royalties and licence fees are contrasted with payments for other property rights, such as management fees and miscellaneous rentals. It can be seen that although on a global scale royalty payments are extremely high (and constitute a major credit in the US balance of payments), the proportion exacted from LDCs is less than 10 %, although LDC payments for other property rights are much higher and constitute a third of total US income from this source.
There is often controversy over whether certain types of good are appropriable for private use. Physical possession is usually taken as prima facie evidence of ownership but can always be challenged. To publicise possession is often to invite harmful imitation or replication, or encourage rival claims upon the good. In such cases the best way to maintain possession is through secrecy. When marketing a good in· which ownership is maintained through secrecy there is clearly a dilemma: to sell the good in an external market it is necessary to publicise it, but the consequence of publicity may be that ownership is lost.
Alternatives to the Multinational Enterprise by Mark Casson