The term empire was coined from the Greek word, imperuim, which is used to refer to political power or authority (Alessio, 2010). Therefore, the word empire is a term that is used to define a geographic expansive state that comprises of a number of different states and individuals from different cultures and backgrounds that are united and ruled by one common leader. In most cases, a monarch (a royal family where leadership is passed on from one generation to the next within the family), an emperor or an oligarchy rules an empire.
All through history, numerous cases have been reported with regards to the establishment of empires. The Holy Roman Empire is perhaps one of the earliest empires that were established in time. This empire was in existence from the 8th century up to the 19th century (Alessio, 2010).
However, the empire collapsed during the renaissance period. The Spanish Empire is also another good example of a strong empire that existed in history. This empire existed during the 16th century. The British Empire is also another classical example. This empire comprised of dominions, colonies and mandates that fell under the jurisdiction and authority of the British government. It was established during the 16th century and exists up to the present moment.
It is regarded as the largest and strongest empire in history. During the first quarter of the 21st century, the Empire was believed to have had authority to over 450 million people in the globe (Alessio, 2010). This comprised of approximately a quarter of the global population at that particular time.
There were a number of reasons behind the need of establishing various colonies in the world. The need of having a strong economic base, power, expansive land and authority were among the key reasons. In most instances, new lands were normally conquered through wars and invasions.
It was never peaceful. All through history, there are numerous reports of various invasions that led to the building and development of many empires all around the world. The most recent of these invasions being the scramble for colonies by European powers all around the world since the 16th century.
At the present point and time that we are in, it is practically impossible for a nation to build an empire using these old tactics. This is because it is viewed as inhuman and goes against the fundamentals of human rights and sovereignty of states. Therefore, the best means through which a nation can expand its influence to fulfil its economic needs and requirements is through purchase or lease of land from foreign states.
This is more or less similar as the game of monopoly where individuals can purchase or lease assets for their own advantages. In addition, many businesses are growing and developing in an alarming rate. Globalization and expansion of their markets have made them to operate on an international level. Such businesses therefore need to establish business empires in order to be profitable and sustainable in the short run and in the long run.
To achieve this, they have to lease or purchase land overseas. With this regards therefore, the main aim of this essay is critically analyse the means through which states and multi-national corporations can establish empires through purchase or leasing and the impacts that these actions may have on their operations and sustainability.
The Case of Modern States
Traditionally, countries established empires through the conquering of other states. In most cases, this process involved a lot of violence. Nations went to war in the process of conquering new territories while other went to war in order to defend their interest, territories and boundaries. In the course of this process, many lives were lost, new territories were earned and nations become stronger due to the vast amount of land they owned and influence they had over their subjects.
The main reasons why nations spent a lot of their resources, time and energy to expand their territories was to improve their political sovereignty, improve their economy, have strategic advantages over their enemies and rival states and command authority over their subjects. During the colonial era for example, the colonial powers sought to get raw materials and cheap labour for their companies. It was also these colonies that acted as market for the finished goods and services that were produced.
However, at the present moment, a lot of things have changed. Nations have now become sovereign states. As a result therefore, they have the authority and mandate to rule themselves in the manner that they feel is best for their subjects. Crossing the boundaries of a sovereign state may be viewed as an act of invasion.
In most occasions, the most probable outcome of this act is military response and this may lead to war (Alessio, 2010). The invading country may therefore be viewed as an enemy of the country that it was invading and the international community at large. This may in turn lead to poor diplomatic relations between the invading country and the rest of the world. As a result, the country will have increased its problems instead of reducing them through the invasion.
We are living in a capitalist world at the present moment. In this world, national and international market is controlled by competition. This is due to the adoption of the doctrine of laissez faire. As a result, many nations are looking for cheaper and better ways to produce goods and services in order to meet their needs and desires of growth and development (Alessio, 2010).
To achieve this, nations must utilize their resources. It is however essential to note that most of these resources are non-renewable. At the same time, a nation may have the resources but lack the capacity to utilize these benefits to the fullest. It is due to these needs that many nations need expand their influence and territories into new lands.
The main question that comes into mind is what is the best way that a nation can achieve these needs without compromising its diplomatic relations? Many scholars and researchers have come up with a number of ways through which nations may achieve these needs.
However, most of these methods cannot be applied. This is due to the weaknesses that they have in their application. In most cases, they tend to compromise the sovereignty of states. In addition, they lead to the development of bad diplomatic relations between a nation and the international community.
However, there is a method that very little research and effort has been put on. This is the building of modern empires through the purchase or lease of foreign land. The considerations, terms, rules and regulations are similar as those of the game of monopoly. As compared to invasion, this method is peaceful as it does not lead to wars or loss of life.
In addition, the method respects human rights and the sovereignty of states. As a result therefore, both nations will maintain warm diplomatic relations with one another. At the same time, these countries would both benefit from the new agreement or partnership that they have entered into with one another.
In modern history, the United States is perhaps the country that has increased the size of its territory through the purchase of new lands. The process was so successful and as a result, USA is one of the biggest nations in the world in terms of geographical size (Alessio, 2010). Although the US is one of the most powerful nations in the world, it is not regarded to as an imperial power. This is because it acquired most of its territories through purchase rather than political conquest.
Florida was one of the early states that the US acquired through purchase (Alessio, 2010). Although there was a lot of resistance from the natives in the establishment of the American rule, the means through which the state was acquired is through purchase. That is why the acquisition of the state is known as The Florida Purchase. Florida was initially a colony of the Spanish Empire. However, during the begging of the 19th century, the power and influence of the Spanish Empire was declining.
There was also a lot of tension between the Spanish and the Americans with regards to the borders of their territories. To end the dispute between these two nations, both parties signed the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 (Alessio, 2010). According to this new treaty, USA was given exclusive rights over the jurisdiction of Florida. In addition, the boundaries between USA and the Spanish Empire were set at New Spain (currently Mexico).
USA also acquired Texas and New Mexico and California through purchase. There had been disputes between USA and Mexico over the place where the border between these two countries.
The original boundary between Texas and the rest of Mexico was at the Nueces River. However, when Texas got its independence, among the demands that the natives had was the extension of the boundary to Rio Grand. Due to this fact, USA deployed its army to patrol its borders.
However, Mexican soldiers sneaked into the alleged US territory and killed US soldiers on US soil on April 26th 1846 (Zinn, 2005). This led to emergence of the Mexican American War that lasted for several years. In the process, USA captured and controlled a number of Mexican Towns. By the time the Americans captured Mexico City, they had no government to sign a treaty with.
Through Polk`s negotiator, the US government formed a transitional Mexican government with which they signed the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with. In the treaty, USA had the control of New Mexico and California. In addition, the border between USA and Mexico was now pushed 150 miles deeper into Mexico to Rio Grande. The United States paid Mexico $15 million (Zinn, 2005).
According to the US government, the Mexican-American war was a retaliation of the Americans after Mexican soldiers invaded into America and killed American soldiers. However, to show their respect of the sovereignty of Mexico, USA signed the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and purchased the land that now is California, Colorado and New Mexico. USA also purchased other states. Louisiana is one of these states that was purchased when USA was under the reign of President Jefferson.
Alaska was also purchased by USA in 1867. However, USA is not the only country that has purchased new territory. In 1870, Canada purchased Rupert1s Land for ? 300,000 (Palmer, 2004). This land comprised of 1.5 million square miles. Hudson Bay Company was the original owner of this land.
From the discussions that have been presented in this section, it is evident that countries can increase the size of their territories through the purchase of new territories. This is because after purchasing land, a nation gains exclusive rights of control over the new land. As a result therefore, the nation can exploit this new land to meet its needs and requirements.
The Case of Multi-National Corporations
A multinational corporation is an organization that has its operations in more than one country (Alessio, 2010). These forms of corporations are normally established in one country called the host nation.
It is in the host nation that multinational companies have their headquarters situated at. The other countries that these companies have their operations are known as host nations. The world is currently experiencing a lot of changes in the manner in which it is operating. This has greatly affected the manner in which firms are managed and operate.
Like nations, multinational corporations also want to build business empires all around the world. This has come about as a result of the need of these companies to increase their market share in order to be sustainable in the short run and in the long run and earn more profits. To ensure that they achieve this goal, multinational companies have embarked on a programme of exploring the global market (Alessio, 2010).
The business world is changing drastically due to globalization. The economy is fluctuating at a high rate, the tradable services are changing and the needs and preference of consumers is changing every day. Companies that used to enjoy abnormal profits are now facing a lot of competition due to the free entry of the market.
In addition, theses companies have to scramble for the available resources in order to manufacture their goods and services. This has greatly increased their cost of production. To survive under such conditions, companies have incorporated a mix of methods to reduce their production costs and at the same time improve quality and quantity of their products and services to ensure that they satisfy the needs of their customers.
One method that has been greatly employed by multinational companies is through the expansion of their services into overseas markets. To achieve this, these companies need to purchase or lease land in order to establish their plants and stores in these new localities.
The level of trade has grown remarkably over the last few decades as a result of the advancements that are being experienced in the field of information, communications and technology (ICT) (Jovanovic, 2011). These advancements have also increased the number of tradable services in the field of IT and ICT that have made the offshoring and outsourcing of services to be much easier.
The ease in the tradability of these services coupled with the increased independence of the location has contributed to the offshoring of services by many companies in the west (Kapila, 2009). Companies are now outsourcing services such as support, customer care, research and consultancy. The main reason behind this is that outsourcing for services is much cheaper and the end result is desirable. The development in IT and ICT has led to the globalization of services all around the world (James, 2003).
IKEA is a good example of a multinational company that aims at building a global business empire in the field of manufacturing and retailing of furniture. Since its incorporation in 1943, the company has grown to be the leading retailer of furniture in the world.
The company has been aiming at producing high quality furniture that has stylish designs but affordable to all including individuals with a tight budget (Ford, 2005). The founder of the company referred to this strategy as democratic designs. The strategy was successful and within a small period of time, the furniture sales of the company boomed (King, 2011).
IKEA has found it relatively easy to venture into new markets. Due to this fact, it has been able to expand its operations into new countries such as Germany, China, Canada, Scotland and so on. As a result, the company is planning for massive expansion for the next coming years.
However, it has to be noted that this is not always going to be the trend. There will be some instances of difficulties in the entry into new markets in the course of its expansion. To expound on this issue, this report will focus on the difficulties that IKEA faced while entering the American market.
In the late 1970s, IKEA made a successful entry into the Canadian market. Between 1976 and 1982, the company had opened up several stores in the country. The customers were fascinated with the stylish designs of their furniture and their low prices (Romaniuk and Sharp, 2004). This was because they were used to purchasing expensive furniture of a lower quality as compared to IKEA products. With this success, IKEA planned to venture into the United States. This proved to be a more challenging task than they were expecting.
The company was also successful in entering the US market. Although it faced stiff competition during its early years, the company was able to set its base in the early 1990s. At the present moment, IKEA has over 35 stores in USA.
To achieve this success, the company had to adopt the American standards of furniture productions and have a specific target group. Through hard work, strategic planning and determination, the company was able to overcome these difficulties and is now one of the leading furniture selling companies in the world.
At the present moment, the company is operational in over 35 different countries, has over 285 stores and has a workforce of 127,800 individuals (Kotler, 2010). IKEA has been able to achieve all this success through the purchase of land and leasing of facilities to establish its stores and manufacturing plants on different locations all around the world. In the process, it has been able to create its own business empire.
At the present moment, the most convenient way that a nation or a business corporation can establish an empire is through the purchase or leasing of land. In this process, a nation or a multinational corporation is able to gain exclusive rights over this land and use it to achieve its goals and objectives.
Through purchase or lease of land, warm relations are maintained between the host nation and the mother nation or the multinational corporation. This ensures that both parties benefits from the purchase or lease. It is therefore essential for this method to be considered in the process of building empires in the modern world.
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