Regionalization and Globalization in the Modern World Economy: Perspectives on the Third World and Transitional Economies

By Alex E. Fernández Jilberto; André Mommen | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The world at present is facing critical challenges and uncertainties. Forces of global capital remain largely unaccountable to governments. In this book we will try to expose the facts behind the process of globalization and regionalization and study the specificity of the current processes of regionalization in the Pacific Area, the Americas, Africa and Europe. We stress that the process of globalization fosters regionalization and creates a competitive drive within regions that weakens nationally established monopolies and protected industries. Moreover, we argue that the process of globalization and regionalization is a challenge to all nations, especially to those of the Third World and the countries of the former socialist bloc, because it raises the spectre of exclusion from the developed industralized world divided up into free trade blocs. Regional arrangements may spread and become stumbling blocks to a more integrated international economy. Therefore, pessimists predict that the world trading system will fragment and that the multilateral trading system functioning under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will disintegrate when Europe, North America and Pacific Asia become ‘fortresses’ and create a tripolar world system.

Discussion of the ‘new world order’ prompted by the Gulf War of 1990 and the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe has reinforced that process of globalism and regionalism. The dynamics of globalization and regionalization, responding to the organization of capital flows, the play of monetary and financial forces and market opportunities, will be the subject of debate in this book.

Globalization and regionalization are also tied in with the failure of state-led socialism and Third World strategies linked to import-substituting industrialization and protectionism. Socialism within one country or bloc became ideologically discredited when it was perceived as an unattractive economic order. This pattern of globalization sharply challenges the North-South normative project that had been affirmed at an earlier stage of world history. Then, the East and South-East Asian states managed to achieve high rates of economic growth even in the face of global recession and ‘oil shocks’. That pattern revealed that location in the South was not by itself an explanation for persistent underdevelopment. The movement for a new international economic order was discredited and abandoned. The collapse of the Soviet bloc was seen as confirming claims about the overall

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