Joining Together, Standing Apart: National Identities after NAFTA

Article excerpt

Joining Together, Standing Apart: National Identities After NAFTA, edited by Dorinda G. Dallmeyer. The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 1997. Pp. 155. $74.50 (hardcover).

The Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law and the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia co-sponsored a two-day conference entitled Joining Together, Standing Apart: National Identities After NAFTA, which attracted an interdisciplinary group of scholars from the fields of international law, political science, sociology, and economics. This book consists of papers from that conference and is part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Law and Policy Series.

In chapter one, "NAFTA and Economic Integration: Three Perspectives," Louis L. Ortmayer discusses three analytical perspectives that illuminate the complexities underlying NAFTA. The first perspective focuses on the interaction of trade policy and negotiation processes as a form of Hegelian dialectic rather than a pure form of economic integration. It traces the events that culminated in the formation of NAFTA.

The second perspective, the two-level games approach, focuses on the interaction between domestic and international spheres in policy-making, as well as on how statesmen seek to manipulate politics and reach agreement on the two levels simultaneously.

The third perspective examines multinational corporations' (MNCs) strategic behavior in response to the NAFTA accords. Although MNCs have taken NAFTA into account in devising their corporate investment and production decisions in the North American market, this section contends that economic integration occurs in North America less through the negotiated agreements of the United States, Mexico, and Canada than by the prior and continuing investment decisions of private business.

In chapter two, "Mexico: Open Economy, Closed Options," Alejandro Nadal examines the vulnerability of the economic model pursued by Mexican authorities since 1984. This chapter traces the initial process by which the protectionist economy was dismantled, explores the alleged success of the Salinas administration, and examines the current response of the Zedillo administration to Mexico's continuing economic crisis.

In chapter three, "Mexico: From Euphoria to Sacrifice," Leon Bendesky discusses the Mexican populace's reaction to the sacrifices imposed on it as a result of continuous financial crises that have plagued the country. …