The Illusion of Bloc Formation


Fortunately, Latin America is nowhere near any kind of regional integration akin to the NAFTA situation in North America or the European Union.

Of course, there have been symbolic and ultimately meaningless efforts to create trading blocks in Central America, and in South America (Mercosur) and various Andean and Bolivarian alliances. None of these add or subtract from the rules and regulations that previously existed, at least not in the real world.

Across Latin America, import and export restrictions and tariffs remain in place (not that this is necessarily a bad thing, just depends on the situation). There is no common currency. There is no common ideology. Geography does not ffavor any kind of real integration, with the Andes dividing South America.

The political cultures and national governments range from extreme left (Cuba) to extreme right (Honduras) and everything in the middle. I would say that Latin America is even more ethnically diverse and divided than Europe, as it has substantial portions of people of all races and ethnic groups.

The EU model was simple: more power to the top, to the oligarchs, to Brussels. Fortunately, for Latin America, this version of globalization is off the table. If globalization were to continue, it should do so from the bottom-up, in decentralized fashion, with complexity, with overlapping networks of cities, provinces, nations, and sub-regions.

Ultimately, real solutions to real problems begin at the local level and then work themselves up to the national level. So it’s a good thing that Latin America does not have its own version of the Eurocrats attempting to micromanage everything.

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