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Conflict Between Regionalisation and Globalisation

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The argument between regionalisation and globalisation is very vocal and considerably long-standing. Evidence in support of each is plentiful; however, it is the opinion of this author that evidence in support of regionalisation has greater merit, at least at the present time. This work will seek to critically analyse the article written by Richard Stubbs entitled Regionalization and Globalization where the author makes compelling arguments for the case of regionalisation. There are several points on which this work is to focus Ð'- the source of regionalism and globalisation following the Cold War, how regionalisation is seen in respect of globalisation and the effect both have on national culture and economic policy, and whether regionalisation can be perceived as a step towards globalisation.

Following the end of the Cold War period, international relations became more complicated once the predictability of the period was removed. This coincided with the rapid expansion of telecommunication technology that led to the effect of a much more open and social world. The new methods of communication and social interaction overcame the constraints of space and time and thus creating new opportunities in the marketplace; for example, in cases of global production networks.

However, it is yet to be seen which method of a Ð''wider world' is preferable Ð'- globalists suggest that globalisation is to be favoured due to the benefits generated for the economy; the sceptics to globalisation however, favour regionalisation stating that globalisation erodes national identity and culture, and that it is possible to preserve the benefits without having to globalise .

Richard Stubbs comments that regionalisation is regarded by some governments as a defence to globalisation; a way to take advantage of some of the benefits of globalisation while retaining a semblance of control. Regions can gather collective bargaining power through organisations such as the EU, NAFTA, AFTA, OPEC, and the OECD . Following the expansion of the European Community (later to be formed into the European Union), other regional groups had emerged as both following the example set by the EU, and also to counter the economic power thus generated . Nonetheless, regardless of economic benefit, regional communities must base their cooperation on some common ground. This common ground is the culture that has evolved within the regions.

According to Stubbs, culture can be illustrated in terms of developments of historical and socio-political linkages within a nation or region.

It is far easier to establish common cultural linkages within one nation or one region than it is within the entire world. However, proponents of the globalisation theory assert that earlier developments in information technology had created a sense of belonging within the international community that transcended loyalties to nations . The sceptics on the other hand contend that national identity was achieved over such a long period of time that the influence of mass global culture can hardly impact it severely . Similar socio-political and historical ties result in greater contact with neighbours, which in turn lead to closer economic and political cooperation within a region.

Once an economic region has been formed, the idea of regionalism stresses the need to position the region within the global community to strengthen its participation in terms of trade and capital flows. However, in order to be competitive in the international arena it is necessary for individual countries that make up a region to reduce protection of both the economy and social security . This can be perceived as a sharpening to the edge of capitalism; high-taxing countries become less attractive for investors, and countries that have little concern for redistribution will



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