The Multinational Monitor


B O O K   R E V I E W S

A Suitable Piece of Real Estate:
American Installations in Australia

by Desmond Ball
Hall and Iremonger, Sydney, 1980

Ball's book discusses the history of the Australian-American intelligence connection, and the secrecy, evasion and deception that have characterized this relationship. Not only has the Australian public not been fully informed of the function and operation of U.S. intelligence installations in Australia-let alone their possible consequences for Australia's security in wartime-but in many cases the Australian government has been ill informed on these aspects, even when requests have been made to the U.S. government for more information.

Ball argues that because of the Australian government's subservient relationship to the U.S. government, Australian foreign policy is a mere adjunct to U.S. foreign policy. Further, by allowing Australia to be the site of some of the most important intelligence installations in the world, Australian governments have 'accepted that the nation could become a prime target of nuclear attack. All of this has been done with almost no public discussion or consultation.

Australian-American Relations: The Web of Dependence
by Joseph A. Camilleri, Macmillan
Melbourne, 1980. 167 pages, $A9.95

This book, the author tells us, "seeks to evaluate the ways in which American values, institutions and policies have come to dominate not only Australia's external conduct, but its economic and political life." It is very successful. Multinational corporations are shown to be prime agents in the economic, technical and cultural domination of Australia, in the weapons and communications systems of modern warfare, and in the economic changes taking place in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Economic considerations, Gamilleri says, govern the nature of security and diplomatic arrangements in important respects, and underpin the alliance between Australia and the U.S. The chapter on the economic context documents the multinationals, local capital, and political, legal, security and academic establishments; the rise and fall of economic nationalism in Australia; and the role of domestic political institutions in serving the interests of foreign capital. The book is the best account to date of the progressive satellization of the Australian economy and society. It shows how this status has inhibited, among many other things, the extent of Australian cooperation with Third , World strategies in such matters as the export of bauxite and alumina.

- E.L. Wheelwright

An Oil Strategy for Australia
Transnational Cooperative Energy Group
Report Back No. 2. 88 pages, $A5.00

Launched last October by the Australian Labor Party leader, Bill Hayden, this book provides a tremendous amount of factual information about the structures of the oil industry in Australia, the Fraser government's policy towards it, and the effect of the industry on workers, consumers, and the economy. It also sketches a Labor policy for handling the oil companies and managing the economy.

Transnational Enterprises: Their Impact on Third World Societies and Cultures
edited by Krishna Kumar. Westview Special Studies in Social, Political,
and Economic Development
Westview Press, 337 pages, U.S. $27.75.

This is a collection of eleven articles by different authors, organized according to the area of society being discussed: transnationals' impact upon social classes and inequality, on knowledge systems, and on consumption patterns and values.

As often happens with collections of this kind, some chapters are better than others; it is difficult to achieve a balanced rendering of the overall issue, given this "scattershot" approach.

Nonetheless, editor Kumar's selection of authors and topics makes for interesting reading. Some of the most important new facts to come out in the past two years - such as the severe physical toll exacted on women working in East Asian microelectronics factories - are included.

Several chapters discuss the ways in which multinationals influence education and vocational training systems in the nations where they operate - a topic of study which has received too little attention in the literature.

The section dealing with the impact of multinationals on knowledge systems in less-developed countries is particularly timely. Controversy in UNESCO and the international press over the developed countries' domination of most world news has brought this issue to the fore and it is likely to become even more important in the near future.

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