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International Public Relations Serves as the Eyes, Ears, and the Voice of Multinational Corporations

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Many types of organizations virtually and physically interact and communicate with publics and/or audiences outside their own country of origin to build a dynamic set of relationships. Trade, direct foreign investment, political coalitions, worthy global causes, information flow, and social networking, among other phenomena, are increasing the complexity of these relationships dramatically.

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The concept, history, and definition of PR are products of economic and politicalcircumstances of its time and evolve according to the needs of these broader environments.The history of PR can be traced back to the 1770’s as it was first used in the United States inthe service of politics. Since its beginnings PR has developedin different ways in different countries, for instance commercial interests drove thedevelopment of PR in the United States. The public andlocal government in particular facilitated that of the British, whereas industrialization, newform of technology, emergence of new form of media, urbanization, increasing level ofliteracy, and changing political environment brought about the development in Germany tomention a few countries where PR is well established today (Tench & Yeomans, 2009, pp

4,9-15). Culbertson and Ni (1996) along with educators and practitioners active in differentcountries devoted an entire book to comparing PR practices in different regions and countriessuggesting that there are still important variances in the use of PR.

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Numerous other individuals and groups are also engaged in such efforts. The best known of such groups is Amnesty International, an organization devoted to the freedom and humane treatment of political prisoners around the world. Such interventions in the foreign policy process are often resented by the foreign policy establishments as intrusive. However, people diplomacy can serve as a corrective to the governments' narrow or nationalist objectives (Mandelbaum 1966; Hoffmann 1966)

Economically, separate industries that had developed around each of these technologies are combining to service the new multimedia environment through a series of corporate mergers and alliances. Politically, global communication is undermining the traditional boundaries and sovereignties of nations. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) is violating national borders by broadcasting foreign news, entertainment, educational, and advertising programs with impunity.

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In summary, the greatest potential threat posed by multinational corporations would be their continued success in a still underdeveloped world market. As the productive capacity of multinationals increases, the buying power of people in much of the world remains relatively unchanged, which could lead to the production of a worldwide glut of goods and services

Such a glut, which has occurred periodically throughout the history of industrialized economies, can in turn lead to wage and price deflation, contraction of corporate activities, and a rapid slowdown in all phases of economic life. Such a possibility is purely hypothetical, however, and for the foreseeable future the operations of multinational corporations worldwide are likely to continue to expand.

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Tehranian, Katharine and Majid Tehranian. 1992. Restructuring for World Peace: On the Threshold of the 21st Century. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Hoffmann, Stanley. 1996. "In Defense of Mother Teresa: Morality in Foreign Policy," Foreign Affairs, March/April.

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