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A Comparative Analysis of Integration Efforts in Europe and South America
Unformatted Document Text:  Brian Hardt The world that Bolivar knew is long gone. The growth of the global economy has been pushed by the rush of globalization in a world where a liberal cobweb theory of international relations and interdependence has become the dominate force in the world. The development of the global economy has seen the need for interdependence and cooperation between States become ever more important. Even the post-Yalta era of conditional aid packages and a world separated by giant bi-polar alliances has seen a rapid change to a free- market capitalist economic system dominated by the United States hegemony. Even today, changes are rapidly occurring. Regional integration has greatly affected the world economic system. Integration has helped to quell regional conflicts and has promoted the use of diplomacy for peaceful solutions (Nester, 2003). Three trade blocs have come to dominate the global political economy: the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), the European Union (EU) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) but a new trade bloc has been emerging. The Mercosur group is a custom union which originally included the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay with Chile and Bolivia quickly becoming associate members included in Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) (Roett, 1999). Venezuela gained full membership status July 4, 2006 although Brazilian and Paraguayan legislatures have not approved final member status. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru joined Chile and Bolivia in negotiating associate membership status. This South American Common Market has seen early success and steady growth. The market includes over 250 million people and a $1.1 trillion GDP (2006 figures), making it the fourth largest trade bloc in the world (Downhill from here, 2006). It is in this success of regional economic integration that the Bolivarian idea of Latin American unification can still be seen. While the Mercosur agreement has only started to address economic goals, it has the potential to lead a push for greater integration which could later become a goal of unification. This can best be seen in the example set by the European Union. The foundations of the EU were established in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) founded in 1951. The ECSC attempted to create a common market for coal and steel products between France, Italy, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. The ECSC experienced reasonable success. When Europe leaders saw the benefits of regional integration in the form of regional stability coupled with growing political strength, the ECSC became a manifest 3

Authors: Hardt, Brian.
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Brian Hardt
The world that Bolivar knew is long gone. The growth of the global economy has been pushed by the
rush of globalization in a world where a liberal cobweb theory of international relations and interdependence has
become the dominate force in the world. The development of the global economy has seen the need for
interdependence and cooperation between States become ever more important. Even the post-Yalta era of
conditional aid packages and a world separated by giant bi-polar alliances has seen a rapid change to a free-
market capitalist economic system dominated by the United States hegemony. Even today, changes are rapidly
occurring. Regional integration has greatly affected the world economic system. Integration has helped to quell
regional conflicts and has promoted the use of diplomacy for peaceful solutions (Nester, 2003). Three trade blocs
have come to dominate the global political economy: the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), the
European Union (EU) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) but a new trade bloc has been
emerging. The Mercosur group is a custom union which originally included the countries of Argentina, Brazil,
Paraguay and Uruguay with Chile and Bolivia quickly becoming associate members included in Free Trade
Agreements (FTA’s) (Roett, 1999). Venezuela gained full membership status July 4, 2006 although Brazilian and
Paraguayan legislatures have not approved final member status. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru joined Chile and
Bolivia in negotiating associate membership status.
This South American Common Market has seen early success and steady growth. The market includes
over 250 million people and a $1.1 trillion GDP (2006 figures), making it the fourth largest trade bloc in the
world (Downhill from here, 2006). It is in this success of regional economic integration that the Bolivarian idea
of Latin American unification can still be seen. While the Mercosur agreement has only started to address
economic goals, it has the potential to lead a push for greater integration which could later become a goal of
unification.
This can best be seen in the example set by the European Union. The foundations of the EU were
established in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) founded in 1951. The ECSC attempted to create
a common market for coal and steel products between France, Italy, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium
and Luxemburg. The ECSC experienced reasonable success. When Europe leaders saw the benefits of regional
integration in the form of regional stability coupled with growing political strength, the ECSC became a manifest
3


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