Regionalism across the North-South Divide: State Strategies and Globalization

Regionalism across the North-South Divide: State Strategies and Globalization

Regionalism across the North-South Divide: State Strategies and Globalization

Regionalism across the North-South Divide: State Strategies and Globalization

Synopsis

In contrast to most studies of regionalism, Grugel and Hout focus on countries not currently at the core of the global economy, including Brazil and Mercosur, Chile, South East Asia, China, South Africa, the Maghreb, Turkey and Australia. What seems clear from this original analysis is that far from being peripheral, these countries are forming regional power blocs of their own, which could go on to hold the balance of power in the new world order.

Excerpt

The post-war development of inter-state relations can be divided into different episodes. First, the establishment of a bi-polar world with two hegemons (the Soviet Union and the United States) which dominated the world system and the interactions between nation-states. the key concept was military security, which produced an often uneasy type of stability. Second, the emergence of a large number of new states due to decolonisation and of divisions between these states due to the competition between the two hegemons, forming the ‘first’ and ‘second’ worlds. in addition to these ‘first’ and ‘second’ worlds, a ‘third’ world came into existence, which was by and large dependent either on the richer capitalist countries or on the established communist states. Political adherence of third-world countries implied their economic dependence on one or other of the more developed ‘worlds’. Third, in the wake of the opec crisis and the subsequent worldwide economic stagflation, international economic relations changed dramatically and affected all three ‘worlds’ in one way or another. the longer-term effects of these changes in relations can be observed in various ways: the disintegration of the Communist bloc or ‘second world’, the moves towards a more unified Europe, and the growing divisions of the third world in the 1980s. All these developments have been conducive to a re-ordering and re-orientation of the components that make up the complexion of the aforementioned three worlds. in other words, the existing world order was slowly reconstructed into a politically multi-polar world in which long-standing coalitions between blocks of states fell apart. This phenomenon is particularly visible in states with developing economies—the ‘South’—and has, more often than not, been conducive to the formation of new coalitions between states that cut across the former ‘worlds’. According to the editors of Regionalism Across the North-South Divide, this makes it imperative that international political economy be approached from a fresh perspective.

This perspective needs to take into account a two-tier development: the emergence of globalisation of the economy with more actors than nation-states alone on the one hand, and the emergence of regionalisation and concurrent regional cooperation between nation-states on the other hand. Such a perspective also implies that international economic relations are not . . .

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