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Transnational Corporations and Human Rights: Silencing the Ontological Controversy


  • Bjørn Letnes



"Engines of development" or "tools of exploitation"? Both expressions have been used to describe the transnational corporation's (TNC) activity in the developing world. In this paper, it will be argued that these extreme characterizations--each armed with their preferred method and unit of analysis--are merely assessing different aspects of the relationship in question. Moreover, theoretical issues can help shed some light on the Janus-faced nature of TNCs' human rights' effects. These issues suggest that FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) benefits are conditional and can help determine whether or not the presence of TNCs will be benign.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjørn Letnes, 2004. "Transnational Corporations and Human Rights: Silencing the Ontological Controversy," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 259-277, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:porgrv:v:4:y:2004:i:3:p:259-277

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    Cited by:

    1. Brown Dana L & Vetterlein Antje & Roemer-Mahler Anne, 2010. "Theorizing Transnational Corporations as Social Actors: An Analysis of Corporate Motivations," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-39, April.

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