Regionalism as Strategy for Globalization


As countries experience the “shrinking” of the world with technological improvement and growing interdependence between countries, it becomes difficult to detect the various flaws and atrocities caused by the globalized international relations (Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) 2013). Subsequently, the origins of the present form of globalization in the post-World War II society must be redefined and assessed to show why such a liberal-based system was flawed. Current paper discusses why regionalism is becoming a popular strategy in coping with the new form of globalization.

Globalism versus Regionalism

According to Coleman & Underhill (eds.) (2012), globalism implies the process of the world market development, which gradually penetrates and dominates the national economies. However, national economies are likely to lose some aspects of the ‘nation’ by participating in globalism. As a result, the world market will dominate the local economies. From the process of globalism, there might develop political measures in order to safeguard certain level of territorial regulation and cultural diversity (Gilpin 2011). The possible way of attaining such change can be achieved through regionalism. The process of regionalization and globalization are, therefore, integrated in the same larger process of global transformation, whose outcome largely relies on dialectical development rather than linear development. Regionalization and globalization have a complicated association. In comparison to regionalism, globalism is a recent ideology of social science (Jonas 2012).

Weakness of Globalization Addressed by Regionalism

Political scientists, including Keating & Loughlin (eds.) (2013), have criticized that the basic problem of globalization is its selectiveness. According to Keating & Loughlin (eds.) (2013), exclusion is intrinsic in the globalization process and its benefits are spread evenly by conflict, violence and misery. The sources of globalization are linked to the capitalist way of production, technological advancement and the deregulation of monetary markets. For instance, the US in the post-war epoch established the form of globalization that nations acknowledge today as an inadequately controlled world system, which provides special treatment to the few and torture most of the transnational problems (Keating & Loughlin (eds.) 2013).

In the globalization of market systems, large capital amounts can be reinvested and disinvested in a comparatively short time (Kim 2010). As a result, countries can lose the ability to regulate the economic development and consequently they hold reduced responsibility in their own economies.

Another major disadvantage of globalization resides its incapability to address efficiently international political and transnational issues (Lefaivre & Tzonis 2012). As mentioned above, globalization is selective. While it provides adequate attention to some issues, it subjects other global issues to the problems. Transnational issues, such as security, have received little or no attention from the neo-liberalist principles of globalization (Kim 2010).

In addition to security, globalization has failed in ensuring that multilateral political legislations are globally implemented (Lefaivre & Tzonis 2012). For instance, the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and the Kyoto Protocol, which is implemented by few countries in a world where globalization continues to make pollution an international culture (Lefaivre & Tzonis 2012).

Due to the increase in globalization, countries have lost their capability to regulate external relations of their societies, especially when they are vulnerable to shared cultural influences (Mansfield & Solingen 2010). Mansfield & Solingen (2010) argued that cultural effects now appear in a co-modified way. Studies indicate that consumption patterns are converging globally as languages become anglicized. The trends in youth consumption indicate that they consume similar styles of pop and music culture (Mansfield & Solingen 2010).

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Regionalism as Strategy

On the other hand, the new form of regionalism has emerged from the multi-polar world order, and it is a spontaneous process in specific regions, where respective countries see the significance of cooperation in order to deal with the international challenges discussed above. According to R?land (2011), regionalism is multi-faceted and all-inclusive process that not only encompasses economic and trade development but also social, environmental and security issues (R?land 2011). Without mentioning, regionalism forms part of the structural change in which non-state participants are active and operating at various levels of the global system. The new form of regionalism deals not only with free trade but also with various concerns as the entire world strives to adapt to the changing and globalizing universe.

In the domain of economics, regionalism has showed that it is very efficient in securing markets and offering economic capability via the establishment of Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) (R?land 2011). The RTAs bind a government to the liberalization of markets. In the globalization of institutions, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the RTAs restrict the capability of countries to pursue macro-economic policies. Nevertheless, under the trade agreements, according to R?land (2011), economic policies gain more stability and consistence. It is caused by the fact that they cannot be infringed by the signatory nations with the provocations of some form sanction from other members. The stabilization and improvement of Mexico’s economic and policies by the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) is a perfect example of regionalism help in securing markets and offering economic strength (R?land 2011).

In relation to the reinvestment and disinvestment of capital, trade agreements also assist countries to work progressively towards international free trade (Rugman & Oh 2010). The RTAs achieve this by allowing nations to raise the competition level gradually and giving domestic industries enough time to adjust. The growing membership of less economically stable countries in Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), European Union and Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a proof of the economic stability provided by regional economic organizations (Rugman & Oh 2010). ASEAN member states have begun contending for the RTAs with China hoping to rebuild economic stability and to renew growth, which was instable due to the 1997 economic crises. Eventually, being a signatory to regional pacts with hegemonic world powers will be beneficial for small nations (Rugman & Oh 2010).

With regard to transnational political and security weaknesses of globalization, the creation of regional organizations can address local problems and prevent international political interference (Riggirozzi & Tussie 2012). For instance, the Organization of African Unity, presently referred to as African Union (AU), was established to avert external manipulation that globalization allowed. In addition, the AU was established due to the necessity to deal with what globalism efforts could not cope after the Rwandan Genocide and Somalia crisis (Riggirozzi & Tussie 2012).

According to Sbragia (2010), regionalism has reacted to cultural globalization through a growth in cultural identity and the emergence of regionalist parties. The emergence of Parti Quebecois Bloc and the cultural identity held by the Quebec region is a testament of such effect of regionalism (Sbragia 2010). Being the only French-speaking region in North American mainland, Quebec has upheld the francophone tradition. Sbragia (2010) pointed out that the region remains the leader in the western hemisphere for culturally related imports. It is caused by the fact that it belongs to a nation with robust anglicized tradition and globalized community. Generally, it is observable that cultural regionalism is extending in Europe, European-Based North America, Sub Saharan Africa, Latin America and Northeast Asia. As a result, cultural regionalism is emerging as a resistance to global identity (Sbragia 2010).

Further, Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) (2013) view regionalism as a basis for the reconstruction of various global systems. Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) (2013) argued that regionalism is the only effective reaction to the challenges of a progressively deepening polarization developed by the capitalism and globalization process. According to Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) (2013), contrary to some enthusiasts of open regionalism and globalization, the position of a country in the globalized world is described by its capability to compete in the world market. In this context, competitiveness is defined by sophisticated political, economic and social factors. Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) (2013) contended that world’s largest economies utilize five monopolies to deter the small economies from developing: financial control of the international market, technological monopoly, monopolies of accessing the world’s natural resource, monopolies of mass destruction weapons and communication and media monopolies. As the weaker economies cannot compete with such five forms of monopolies individually, Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) (2013) asserted that regionalism is the sole alternative. For Baylis, Smith & Owens (eds.) (2013), regionalism can act as a protection against the detrimental ‘global capitalism’.

Likewise, for Jonas (2012), regionalism is a basis for free trade. The North-South free trade agreements are sole way of liberalizing the industrial tariffs in developing economies. In tandem with multilateral liberalization, according to Jonas (2012), the RTAs can assist nations, especially developing nations, improve their comparative advantages, improve the effectiveness of the industry and act as a springboard to integration into the world economy.


Globalization as a phenomenon cannot be neglected. It has both positive and negative effects. While preserving its positive effects, regionalism can correct its inherent failures. The weaknesses of globalization reside in its incapability to address transnational issues and politics and its selective nature. In relation to transnational political and security weaknesses of globalization, the establishment of regional organizations can address local problems and prevent international political interference. Regionalism has reacted to cultural globalization through a growth in cultural identity and the emergence of regionalist parties.

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