The European Union and World Regionalism

I picked up The EU and World Regionalism out of our collection of new books in the library. This book intrigued me because I spent a lot of time learning about the European Union in my London study abroad program this past summer. I realize that a lot of people probably would not be interested in reading a book like this because many Americans don’t know much about the EU and probably could not name more than a handful of its member states. I myself did not know a great deal about the EU until I took these summer classes, but my study abroad experience really opened my eyes to other areas of the world outside of the United States.

Although it has only existed for a short time, the creation of the European Union has been a major success for all of its member nations. The EU has created a regional economic market that rivals bigger markets such as the United States and China. It also has stimulated trade between European countries by creating a uniform currency, the Euro, and by breaking down old trade barriers between nations. As a result, there is more economic stability in the region and the standard of living for citizens in these countries has increased.

This book looks at the impact the EU has had on “regionalization” throughout the rest of the world. Countries in other corners of the world have seen how successful the European Union has been and are looking to adopt similar partnerships with their own neighbors. In addition, the book talks in depth about how the EU itself has pushed for regionalization in other areas of the globe. As one example, there is a case study detailing how the EU has had a major influence on Asian countries. The hope is that discussions between the EU and this region will help to create economic cooperation, security, and human rights improvements in these Asian nations. I think this book would be interesting for anyone who wants to gain a new perspective on some of the things going on in the world outside of the United States.

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2 Responses

  1. I like how you explain your interest in what sounds like a dry topic.

    If you wanted to do more to highlight the ignorance of Americans, you could look for some of those survey results that show that x% of Americans can’t find this or that on a map.

    Krugman recently had a column about the Euromess in Greece and Spain. You should check it out.

    How much regionalization do you see happening in the USA?

  2. I think there is probably some degree of regionalization in the US, but overall I think that it is hard to compare the US with EU. Although some business/states might do a majority of their trading within a certain region, the US has eliminated trade barriers and has become a single market. Regionalization is obviously a lot different in the US than in the EU. Both the US and EU operate under a single currency but the US has an advantage for a few reasons. One, the US has been around for hundreds of years while the EU has only existed for a few decades. The EU just hasn’t had enough time to sort through all of its problems yet, especially ones relating to the Euro and trade. Also, all of the US states operate under the same government and follow the same rules, while the EU has some regulatory agencies but most governments set their own regulations. This makes it harder for the EU to establish the single marketplace that is already in place in America.

    Although this is from last April, it is an interesting comparison between regionalism in Europe and Asia:

    http://terrydata.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/asean-regionalism-eu-like/

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