The European Union at 50: What Europe Can Learn from Latin American Social Science After 5 Decades of European Integration - An Essay in Honor of Osvaldo Sunkel
Innsbruck University - Faculty of Political Science and Sociology - Department of Political Science; Corvinus University Budapest - Department of Economics; Vienna University; University of Fribourg, Switzerland
One of the most famous pieces of Latin American scholarship, the article Sunkel, Osvaldo 1973 "Transnational capitalism and national disintegration in Latin America." Social and. Economic Studies 22 (1): 156-171, published originally in 1969 and having appeared in many translations and editions around the globe ever since, proposed the still provocative thought that transnational investment and integration might go hand in hand, under certain conditions, with an increasing relative social polarization between rich and poor in the host countries of the evolving transnational system and on the international level.
In 1998, the present author published an essay at the electronic archive of the University of California at Riverside, which was - as a reference to Osvaldo Sunkel - entitled "Transnational integration and national disintegration". Preparing for the festivities of Europe at 50, I came to the conclusion to republish this essay as it was published in 1998, with an afterword, which will show how right Sunkel was and how much the European decision makers can learn from Latin American social sciences.
In 1998; I stated:
Europe faces three very important decisions about the future: east-ward expansion of the European Union, European monetary union, and the structural internal reform of the Union. Faced with these decisions, an intellectual battle rages across the continent between Euro-skeptics and integrationists, between federalists and nationalists, between centralists and regionalists. World systems research and development research provides radical, fascinating and novel answers to these old controversies.
With the latest data, we can show that Europe's crisis indeed is not caused by what the neo-liberals term a "lack of world economic openness" but rather, on the contrary, by the enormous amount of passive globalization that Europe - together with Latin America - experienced over recent years. Our combined measure of the velocity of the globalization process is based on the increases of capital penetration over time, on the increases of economic openness over time, and on the decreases of the comparative price level over time: the United States,
Mexico, larger parts of Africa and large sections of West and South Asia escaped from the combined pressures of globalization, while Eastern and Southern Latin America, very large parts of Europe, Russia and China were characterized by a specially high tempo of globalization.
The "wider Europe" of the EU-25 is not too distantly away from the social realities of the more advanced Latin American countries. From the viewpoint of world systems theory such tendencies are not a coincidental movement along the historic ups and downs of social indicators, but the very symptom of a much more deep-rooted crisis, which is the beginning of the real re-marginalization and re-peripherization of the European continent.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 269
Keywords: Integration, political economy
JEL Classification: F15, F5working papers series
Date posted: April 1, 2007
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