A megacorpstate is a cartel involving both groups of large, multinational corporations, with oligopolistic power, and a group of nation states. Inspired by Alfred Eichner’s term "megacorp" (Eichner, 1976), J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. introduced the term in 1981 to describe the combination of the leading multinational oil corporations and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1973 that engineered a substantial increase in world oil prices. While many focused on conflicts between these groups due to the increased power of OPEC relative to the companies, especially the then dominant Seven Sisters (Sampson, 1975), coordination was argued to occur through Saudi Aramco where four of those companies had close relations with Saudi Arabia, the dominant nation in OPEC, and the main instigator of the 1973 oil price increase. While both OPEC and this reputed megacorpstate would lose monopoly power in the mid-1980s, a new form of it may have arisen in the last few years.
Another example that has been suggested to fit this description is the diamond cartel, originally organized by the Oppenheimer family in the 1930s, and now dominated by the De Beers group of companies, including its numerous set of joint ventures with governments in producing countries (Roberts, 2003).
- Alfred S. Eichner. The Megacorp and Oligopoly: Micro Foundations of Macro Dynamics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1976.
- J. Barkley, Rosser, Jr. “The Emergence of the Megacorpstate and the Acceleration of Global Inflation,” Journal of Post Keynesian Economics Spring 1981, 3(3), pp. 429-439.
- Sampson, Anthony. The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Shaped. New York: Viking Press, 1975.
- Roberts, Janine. Glitter and Greed: The Secret World of the Diamond Cartel. New York: Disinfo, 2003.
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