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

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GLOBALIZATION VERSUS REGIONALIZATION

Alex E. Fernández JilbertoandAndré Mommen

Since 1945 the globalization of the world economy has made considerable progress. In the critical areas of trade, production and finance, the world has become more interconnected and integrated than ever before. The globalization of financial markets with their volatile effects on national economic management has destabilized and weakened the autonomy of all nation-states. The global market represents a concentration of power capable of influencing national government economic policy and, by extension, other policies as well (Sassen 1996:39). Market forces and multinational corporations are creating tensions and shaping new patterns of interdependence. Growing corporate interests in foreign investments and exports urge the reduction of traditional trade barriers, while additional pressure arises from regional arrangements. This induces a process of deeper integration and liberalization of foreign trade. Integration refers to the fundamentally political process of policy coordination and adjustment designed to facilitate closer economic interdependence and to manage the externalities that arise from it (Haggard 1995:2; Keohane 1984: passim).

Nation-states adapt to these global pressures or try to resist by joining regional trading blocs within an integrating world economy. Hence, globalization refers to the multiplicity of linkages and interconnections between states and societies which make up the present world. It represents two distinct phenomena: scope (or stretching) and intensity (or deepening). It implies an intensification in the levels of interaction, interconnectedness and interdependence between states and societies. It embraces a set of processes covering most of the globe (McGrew and Lewis 1992:22) and refers to a profound reorganization of the economy and society in what has hitherto been called North and South, East and West. This division has gone and a ‘Triad’ configuration has appeared with the emerging industrial economies of Asia as a new gravitational pole of a globalizing economy (Schwartz 1994: 240-258).

A BORDERLESS WORLD?

The concept of ‘globalization’ has an outspoken liberal connotation. Globalization means the production and distribution of products and/or services of a

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