The first puzzle to be addressed is why it is taking so long for the study of international relations to embrace and incorporate big business into the analysis of the international system. Not only is it 20 years since Vernon’s Sovereignty at Bay came out in America: it is 20 years or more since, with the blessing of the London School of Economics’ International Relations department under Geoffrey Goodwin, that I initiated a small graduate seminar on International Business in the International System.2 I was not even on the staff at the time, but that acorn grew into a sapling — a regular Master’s course with examinations. The only other people at the LSE who were interested in transnational corporations then were Professor Ben Roberts and some colleagues in the Industrial Relations department. Their concerns, however, were narrower and their work more directed at how labour relations with management were affected by the internationalisation of production.
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