Transnational Class Formation? Globalization and the Canadian Corporate Network


  • Jerome Klassen Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • William K. Carroll University of Victoria



The issue of transnational class formation has figured centrally in recent debates on globalization. These debates revolve around the question of whether or not new patterns of cross-border trade and investment have established global circuits of capital out of which a transnational capitalist class has emerged. This paper takes up the notion of transnational class formation at the point of corporate directorship interlocks. Using Canada as a case study, it maps the changing network of directorship interlocks between leading firms in Canada and the world economy. In particular, the paper examines the role of transnational corporations (TNCs) in the Canadian corporate network; the resilience of a national corporate community; and new patterns of cross-border interlocking amongst transnational firms. Through this empirical mapping, the paper finds a definite link between investment and interlocking shaping the social space of the global corporate elite. Corporations with a transnational base of accumulation tend to participate in transnational interlocking. While national corporate communities have not been transcended, transnational firms increasingly predominate within them, articulating national with transnational elite segments. This new network of firms reconstitutes the corporate power bloc and forms a nascent transnational capitalist class.




How to Cite

Klassen, J., & Carroll, W. K. (2011). Transnational Class Formation? Globalization and the Canadian Corporate Network. Journal of World-Systems Research, 17(2), 379–402.



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