International Firms, Mercantilism and Industrial Capitalism
The concept of an international firm has evolved considerably in the course of history. For instance, one can speak about the era of mercantilism that spanned from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. In this case, much attention should be paid to the role played by chartered trading companies. In particular, one can mention the Dutch East India Company or the East India Company. They were joint-stock businesses owned by wealthy merchants living in various European countries. The main peculiarity of these organizations is that they had a monopoly on trade in different regions of the world. More importantly, they had private armies, and they could take administrative control over the colonial territories. It is possible to say that these firms were supported by imperial states.
Moreover, the advocates of mercantilism argued that the economic sustainability of the state had been based on the positive trade balance and control of colonial lands. In turn, chartered trading companies were the main agents of this economic system. In turn, the period of industrial capitalism was marked by the increased role of individual entrepreneurs and resource-based trading companies. They organized the international production of goods. For instance, one can mention the English entrepreneur John Cockerill, who played a leading role in the development of the Belgian steel production industry. These organizations moved to regions that were less advanced in terms of technological development.
It should be noted that during different historical periods, London was the centre of international business activities. First, this city was a place to which the goods from various regions of the world were moved. Furthermore, one should speak about the importance of the London Stock Exchange, which was critical for the economic cooperation between businesses and entrepreneurs.