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Book Review - Barry C. Lynn, End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of The Global Corporation (2005) - [Barry C. Lynn, End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of The Global Corporation (New York: Doubleday, 2005, ISBN: 0-385-51024-1). CAN$ 21.00]

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019


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Copyright © 2007 by German Law Journal GbR 


1 Mr. Zhang Shuhong's tragic story provides a glimpse into: a) the pressures that suppliers might be enduring from lead firms, and b) the risk lead firms assume by outsourcing production. Mr. Shuhong was a co-owner of the Lee Der Toy Company, which supplied toys for Fisher Price, a subsidiary of the American toy giant Mattel. On August 2, 2007, Fisher Price recalled almost one and a half million toys supplied by Mr. Shuhong's company, after learning that they were coated with non-approved paint pigment that contained a dangerous level of lead. See: Toys recalled over safety fears, BBC News (2 August 2007), available at:, last accessed 14 August 2007. On August 13th, it was reported that Mr. Shuhong hanged himself in his factory. See: Chinese toy boss ‘kills himself’, BBC News (13 August 2007), available at:, last accessed 14 August 2007. The following day, after a two-week review of the work of Mattel's Chinese subcontractor, Mattel reported that it would have to recall over 18 million toys. See: Mattel recalls millions more toys, BBC News (14 August 2007), available at:, last accessed 14 August 2007. As the story progressed, after even more recalls and the firing of several firms, Thomas Debrowski, Mattel's executive vice president for world operations, made a statement to the press stating: “The vast majority of these products that we recalled were the result of a flaw in Mattel's design” and not the fault of Chinese manufacturers. See: Mattel sorry for ‘design flaws’, BBC News (21 September 2007), available at:, last accessed 28 September 2007.Google Scholar

2 Barry C. Lynn, End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of The Global Corporation (2005), 16.Google Scholar

3 Id., 16.Google Scholar

4 Id., 17.Google Scholar

5 Id., 16-17.Google Scholar

6 Id., 17.Google Scholar

7 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (1992).Google Scholar

8 Lynn, supra note 2, at 72.Google Scholar

9 Id., 111-113.Google Scholar

10 Id., 136-137, and 139-141.Google Scholar

11 Id., 127.Google Scholar

12 Id., 177.Google Scholar

13 Coase, Ronald H., The Problem of Social Cost, 3 J.L. & Econ 1 (1960).Google Scholar

14 Lynn, supra note 2, at 177.Google Scholar

15 Id., 179-180.Google Scholar

16 Id., 141.Google Scholar

17 Id., 154.Google Scholar

18 Id., 154.Google Scholar

19 Id., 154.Google Scholar

20 Id., 17.Google Scholar

21 Id., 154.Google Scholar

22 Id., 224.Google Scholar

23 Id., 215.Google Scholar

24 Id., 220.Google Scholar

25 Id., 232.Google Scholar

26 Id., 232.Google Scholar

27 Id., 213-216.Google Scholar

28 Id., 214-215.Google Scholar

29 Id., 1-3, 177, 215, 217, and 218.Google Scholar

30 Id., 214-215.Google Scholar

31 Id., 256-257.Google Scholar

32 Adam Smith, An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776); Edward S. Mason, Methods of Developing a Proper Control of Big Business, 18:2 Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science 40 (1939); Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1950); Edward S. Mason, Schumpeter on Monopoly and the Large Firm 33 Rev. of Economics and Statistics 139 (1951); Adolf A. Berle, The Developing Law of Corporate Concentration, 19 U. of Chic. L. Rev. 639 (1952); Richard Orme Wilberforce, Alan Campbell, and Neil P. M. Elles, The Law of Restrictive Trade Practices and Monopolies (1966); John Kenneth Galbraith, The New Industrial State (1967); Richard A. Posner, Antitrust Law: An Economic Perspective (1st ed., 1976); Robert H. Bork, The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself (1978); Frank Easterbrook, The Limits of Antitrust, 63 U. Tex. L. Rev. 1 (1984); Alfred D. Chandler and Takashi Hikino, Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (1990); John E. Kwoka and Lawrence J. White, The Antitrust Revolution: Economics, Competition, and Policy (1999); Massimo Motta, Competition Policy: Theory and Practice (2004); Tony Prosser, The Limits of Competition Law: Markets and Public Services (2005); and Howard Shelanski and Michael Katz, Merger Analysis and the Treatment of Uncertainty: Should we Expect Better?, forthcoming, Antitrust L.J. (2007).Google Scholar

33 Smelly old SOX, The Economist 384:8539 (July 28 - August 3 2007).Google Scholar

34 For the important of reformer laborlabor markets for securing economic stability and growth in the European context, see for instance: Can Europe's recovery last?, The Economist 384:8537 (July 14th-20th, 2007). For the connections between gross domestic production, and social conditions and well-being of citizenry, see generally: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Economic Policy Reforms: Going for Growth (2006).Google Scholar

35 David Millon, Why Is Corporate Management Obsessed with Quarterly Earnings and What Should Be Done About It? 70 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 890 (2002), and also Leo E. Strine, Jr., Toward Common Sense and Common Ground? Reflections on the Shared Interests of Managers and Labor in a more Rational System of Corporate Governance, The Dorsey & Whitney Foundation Lecture, 10 March 2007, forthcoming, J. Corp. L. (2007), available at, last accessed 28 October 2007; for a comment on Strine's paper (and Stephen Bainbridge's reaction), see Peer Zumbansen, Varieties of Capitalism and the Learning Firm: Corporate Governance and Labor in the Context of Contemporary Developments in European and German Company Law, University of Cambridge, Centre for Business Research, Working Paper No. 347/2007 & CLPE Comparative Research in Law & Political Economy Research Paper 21/2007, forthcoming, Eur. Bus. Org. L. Rev. 2007, available at:, last accessed 28 October 2007.Google Scholar

36 Jam today: Worries about short-termism grip America’ business elites – wrongly perhaps, The Economist 384:8537 (July 14th-20th, 2007).Google Scholar

37 Lynn, supra note 2, at 254-256.Google Scholar

38 Id., 256.Google Scholar

39 Id., 258.Google Scholar

40 Id., 259.Google Scholar

41 Id., 259.Google Scholar

42 Id., 259.Google Scholar

43 Id., 254-255.Google Scholar

44 Id., 256.Google Scholar

45 The capacity of the nation-state to control transnational corporations has been in decline throughout the twentieth century. For example, nation-states have faced erosion of the corporate tax system, resulting in a lesser ability to redistribute wealth within society. See John Braithwaite, Markets in Vice, Markets in Virtue (2006), 16-34. Enforcement issues aside (which are significant), Braithwaite observes the catch-22 of tax policy in the age of globalization between “attracting capital and securing growth on a small-government, low-taxation-of-capital, weak-safety-net trajectory, or having a bigger-government, lower-growth trajectory where the gulf between rich and poor is not allowed to widen”. The challenge for smaller nations to maintain sovereignty against transnational corporate interests is grossly amplified. See Raymond J. Michalowski and Ronald C. Kramer, The Space between Laws: The Problem of Corporate Crime in a Transnational Context, 34 Soc. Prob. 34 (1987). In addition, other aspects of the decline of the nation-state in the age of the transnational corporation and globalization has been well documented, see amongst many others: Merry, Sally Engle, Anthropology, Law, and Transnational Processes, 21 Annual Rev. of Anthropology 357 (1992); Falk, Richard, Towards Obsolescence: Sovereignty in the Age of Globalization, 17 Harv. Int'l L. Rev. 34 (1995); Schmidt, Viven A., The New World Order Incorporated: The Rise of Business and the Decline of the Nation State, 124 Deadalus 75 (1995); ed, Gunther Teubner., Global Law Without a State: Studies in modern law and policy (1997); Teubner, Gunther, Societal Constitutionalism: Alternatives to State-Centred Constitutional Theory?, in Transnational Governance and Constitutionalism, 3, (Christian Joerges, Inger-Johanne Sand, and Gunther Teubner, eds., 2004); Jack L. Goldsmith and Eric A. Posner, The Limits of International Law (2005); Hathaway, Oona A. and Lavinbuk, Ariel N., Rationalism and Revisionism in International Law, 119 Harv. L. Rev. 1404 (2006); Kennedy, Duncan, Three Globalizations of Law and Legal Thought: 1850-2000, in: The New Law and Economic Development: A Critical Appraisal, (David M Trubek and Alvaro Santos, eds., 2006); and Lobel, Orly, The Paradox of Extralegal Activism: Critical Legal Consciousness and Transformative Politics, 120 Harv. L. Rev. 937 (2007).Google Scholar

46 Perez, Oren, Normative Creativity and Global Pluralism: Reflections on the Democratic Critique of Transnational Law, 10 Ind. J. Global Legal Stud. 25 (2003), at 25.Google Scholar

47 Gralf-Peter Calliess and Peer Zumbansen, Rough Consensus, Running Code: A Theory of Transnational Private Law, TranState Working Paper 2007, 8-9, available at, last accessed 28 October 2007.Google Scholar

48 Peter F. Drucker, Concept of the Corporation (1946).Google Scholar

49 Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (1944), 3.Google Scholar

50 For the position of an American scholar, who was also a statesman and policymaker at the time, see: Adolf A. Berle, Jr., Government Function in a Stabilized National Economy, 33 Am. Econ. Rev. 27 (1943), 1.Google Scholar

51 John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1937).Google Scholar

52 United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods (22 July 1944).Google Scholar

53 Drucker, supra note 48, at 286-298.Google Scholar

54 Drucker, supra note 48, at 284-290.Google Scholar

55 For more detail, see: Jeffrey D. Sachs, Twentieth-Century Political Economy: A Brief History of Global Capitalism, 15 Oxford Rev. of Econ. Pol'y 90 (1999), 93-95.Google Scholar

56 Thomas K. McCraw, American Business, 1920-2000: How It Worked (2000), 18-27.Google Scholar

57 The road to recovery, The Economist 384:8541 (August 11th- August 17th, 2007).Google Scholar

58 For an example of result of such fallacious assumptions, see: Joel Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004), 160-164.Google Scholar

59 Lynn, supra note 2, at 11.Google Scholar

60 Friedrich A. von Hayek, Individualism and Economic Order (1948), 77-91.Google Scholar

61 Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy (1998, 2002) 96-138.Google Scholar

62 In particular, see from a law and sociology perspective: Gunther Teubner, Substantive and Reflexive Elements in Modern Law, 17 L. & Soc. Rev. 139 (1983). And see from a law and economics perspective: Richard A. Posner, The Economics of Justice (1981).Google Scholar

63 Duncan Kennedy, Three Globalizations of Law and Legal Thought: 1850-2000, in: The New Law and Economic Development: A Critical Appraisal (David M Trubek and Alvaro Santos, eds., 2006); and also Teubner ed., Global Law Without a State, supra note 45.Google Scholar

64 Philip C. Jessup, Transnational Law. Storrs lectures on jurisprudence (1956).Google Scholar

65 Calliess and Zumbansen, supra note 47, at 284-290.Google Scholar

65 Polanyi, supra note 49, at 3.Google Scholar

66 Peer Zumbansen, Transnational Law, in: Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, 738 (Jan Smits, ed., 2006).Google Scholar

67 Calliess and Zumbansen, supra note 47, at 8-9.Google Scholar

68 Calliess and Zumbansen comment on the role of law in shaping processes of “private” interaction by comparing the role/non-role of law within this interaction to the anti-parable of “before the law” presented to K., the protagonist of Kafka's The Trial, by a priest. This passage can be found in the chapter entitled “In the Cathedral” within the book. See: Calliess and Zumbansen, supra note 47, at 7. Also see: Franz Kafka, The Trial (1957).Google Scholar

69 For evidence of such a project, take seriously the significance of: Richard A. Posner, Creating a Legal Framework for Economic Development, 13 The World Bank Observer 1 (1998).Google Scholar