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Regional Integration Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones (Research Paper Sample)


The main focus of this paper is to clear the existing doubt whether regionalism is a stumbling block or a stepping stone in the process of globalization. Through analysis of various forms of global business integrations, the paper will also bring the insight to regionalism as concept, the approaches to this and the various underlying theories to support it. In the concluding section of this paper, it will explore the various regionalisms in GCC and EU.

Course title
The current state of the world economy has witnessed myriads of calls from various political, social and economic powers for regional trade agreements. The world trade organization registered over 350 cases of formed RTAs in 2007 and out of this, 205 of the managed to gain control. The increase urge for regionalization has raised various questions from curious critics whether the move for regionalization is a stumbling block or a stepping stone in the process of gaining global power (Larsen 2010).
The main focus of this paper is to clear the existing doubt whether regionalism is a stumbling block or a stepping stone in the process of globalization. Through analysis of various forms of global business integrations, the paper will also bring the insight to regionalism as concept, the approaches to this and the various underlying theories to support it. In the concluding section of this paper, it will explore the various regionalisms in GCC and EU.
Problem statement
To understand various concepts in detail, it is crucial that the paper gives an explanation to region, regionalism, regionalization, globalization, and globalism. This would be significant in broadening the ideas regarding globalism. Giving an answer to the questions regarding these concepts is the key aspect in this paper. Region; regions are politically generated and is a complex situation that is created in the process of globalization. It is noted that a region has varied make up and changes from time to time.
Regionalism; is said to be a national initiative that is aimed at crediting regions in terms of economic and political aspects. The participants in exercising regionalism can either be the state or individuals. Both the state and individual actors are equally crucial in the process of regionalization (Mun and Andréosso 2012). The involvement of non state actors such as NGOs and other movements justifies the concept of new regionalism witnessed in the world today.
Most arguments on regionalism points out to two regimes: the new and old. Depending on the year of occurrence, the first phase of it stated in the late 1940s and ended in the late 1960s. The second occurrence was in the mid 1980s and led to the existence of new regionalism. As opposed to the regionalism supported by the classics, this form of regionalism does not ignore the role of non state actors.
Regionalization in this context has been used to refer to increased participation on the society particularly as it pertain economic and social aspects. Regionalization means the broad global insight on economic integration and changing aspects of production. It is believed that understanding globalization is the gateway to mastering the concept of regionalization.
Globalization can also be broadly described as form of transformation of the social and economic setting. This view has attracted criticism from national policy makers. They argue that the process yields pros and cons in the process of development. The relationship between regionalism and globalization has been observed to be the consequence of each other. Schiff, & winters refutes that the underlying conflicting views of these concepts arise only in theory and not in real life encounter. He adds that both concepts are part of the same equation and therefore understanding one is likely to lead to understanding the other.
Theories and conceptual framework
A clear understanding of the relationship between regionalism and globalization is essential irrespective of its complexity and ambiguity. To understand these facts, it is imperative that we examine theoretical schools of thought. Schiff, & winters identifies two major schools of thought; neo-realists, and neo-liberalists that our study will focus on.
Neo-realists theories are based on the power of politics. Nations that proclaim this theory would prefer not to hold integration with the willing partnership states on assumption that such scenario would make the partner comparatively stronger. This has been proven to work to the disadvantage of less developed countries from the basis that these countries have no powers to defend their economic resources. As defense mechanisms, these countries often form alliances with powerful nations who help them provide a solution to their political and economical unrests. This is solely based on the belief that security situations they face stem from their feeble political economy, causing economic threats.
Neo realists believe that regionalization among developed and developing countries is entirely for the sole purpose of security reasons. Proponents of this theory believe that evaluation of the success of regionalism will be based on the ultimate gain that accrues to the different partners in the cooperation. Realists rubbish international organizations as merely institutions of various states and categorization of such states as global or regional is merely irrelevant. However, the strength of this theory is not enough to recognize the changes in the world. The most common example of this arrangement is EU whose member states have voluntarily given their power to oppose realist’s opinion on regionalism.
Neo realists approach is majorly focused on relations between regions. This theory is Eurocentric and mainly concern movements towards regional integrations. Neoliberals argue that, the regional groups either should not aim at building impediments, stumbling blocks or building blocks. They strongly propose the cooperation of states especially where stable economic and movement of goods is deemed essential. Neo liberalist the only way to bring about multilateral cooperation is to increase competition in the world market. This is the most sincere and effective way of reducing conflicts.
On the other hand, neo liberalists also believe in the homogeneous application of economic development policies. They argue that all the policies of economic development in developed countries also apply to the less developed economies. The powerful nations are believed to manipulate policies in their favor through the World Bank and IMF. This theory is thought to explain the role of the IMF and the World Bank.
The major opposing view to neo-liberalists is neo- Marxist who advocates for imperialism and mainly explains the views based on the developed economies. Anderson. (2009) describes imperialism as the relationship between countries from the middle too far and extreme regions. He further explains that the EUs relationship with the developing world is based on colonialism. Anderson further supports this view by arguing that some organizations of Africa have cautioned the AU to cease their neo colonialism in Africa. Mun and Andréosso ( 2012) explains that the ultimate role of EU to be stopping the continued trade agreements between the African, Caribbean and pacific countries which had gripped in the late 90’s.
The African summit have a times caused the EU of misusing the peace by engaging some African states in conflicts. In this regard, proponents of regionalization argue that it benefits as a building block for reconstruction of different global systems. This view has also been supported by McCall (2006) as the only remedy for the underlying problems of capitalist economies.
Schiff, & winters (2012), the competition strategy and is the crucial determinant factor of the countries position in the global market. Where such competitively is a complex product of many economic, political, and social factors’ Schiff, & Winters contends that the centers use the following five forms of monopolies to bar other nations from development. These five monopolies include; technology, natural resource access, financial control, weapons of mass destruction and media and communication. The creation of the five monopolies is used to redefine the orientation of the legal framework of the law of globalized values. Due to the inability for countries to curb these monopolies individually, regionalization is assumed to be the most effective remedy. Regionalization is believed to provide cautions against the effects of capitalization on globalization.
Conversely, McCall (2006) argues that some present forms of regionalization are building blocks and work in favor of economic globalization. He further argues that the aim of regionalization is not to bring trade isolations but rather to strengthen the economic ties for development purposes and increasing the entry of other nations. McCall ,contends that ‘the examples of the Association of South East Asian Nations Free Trade Area (AFTA), the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] will show politicians and the general public alike that a country’s well-being does not hamper another’s wealth. Similarly, for McCall, regional trade blocs are building blocks toward free trade. He further Contents that the only remedy to liberalizing industrial tariffs is creation of North-South free trade agreements. Wallace et al (2008) argued that the presence of regional trade agreements that support multilateraral liberalization is crucial to developing countries in increasing their competitiveness and comparative advantage more so as it pertain the efficiency in their local industries. It helps them restructure their economy in line with the world direction. It’s also essential in strengthening their political commitment to an open economy’. It is obvious that the differences among various theorists (and possibly policymakers too) in relation to regionalism vis-à-vis globalization are too great to overcome.
Comparison between RTAs in Less developed countries and in developed countries.
The introductory p...
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