Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Global Integration On OUR Terms

Let's face it: the world is becoming more integrated as we speak. The European Union, NAFTA, the Free Trade Area of the Americans, The Independent Task Force on North America (a.k.a. the "deep integration" guys).

Now before we go on, there are reasons why increased integration is good and bad:

  • Could bring nations and people closer together.
  • Increases economies of scale.
  • Can improve mobility of people and goods.
  • Tends to be initiated and run by elites.
  • Tends to be run under a neo-liberal agenda with lower and middle classes being the losers and the rich being the winners.
  • Internal process tend not to be transparent
In this post, I'll will use the assumption that integration is inevitable.

I notice that the Left in Canada tends to be anti-globalizationist and anti-integration; understandably because of the neo-liberal connections. But beyond that, the Left does not have an alternate; just "integration is bad, m'kay".

However, I believe that alternate integrations agenda can be and should be adopted by the Left; with the key concepts being 1): ensuring that integration is done in an democratic way, not by elites; 2): That the middle and lower classes benefit as well as the rich; 3) respecting nationality; and 4) Ensuring Transparency. I think that if we don't start defining what we, on the left, want out of integration, then we will get the junky neo-liberal type.

Possible Example: Canada, US, Mexico Integration

Now that I have presented what I think what the a progressive integration agenda should like, its time to apply it to an example. The (controversial) example I will use is Canada, US, and Mexico Integration.

Currently, the integration that is presently existent in these three countries is NAFTA. Now NATFA has been creating its own political institutions, such as courts; but at the same time, nobody really understands how those institutions work.

In this context, I think that this is the form Canada, US, and Mexico Integration should take, even if it is for a small policy area such as free trade.

There should be democratically elected representative overseeing any integrations activities. However, since Canada is small in population compared to the US, I think that the representatives should be representing States and Provinces in a 91 seat chamber; 13 for Canada, 50 for the US, 31 for Mexico. Any important decisions should be passed only with a "triple majority" 50% + 1 approval of Canadian representatives, 50% + 1 approval of American representatives, 50% + 1 approval of Mexican representatives. Any expansion of powers of the integrated institutions should also be approved by the national governments. A referendum conducted in each of the three countries to approve the establishment of any integrated institutions.

The executive of any integrated institutions should come from the 91 seat chamber; there is no need of repeating the European Union's mistake of having an executive, the European Commission, appointed instead of elected in some form.

By doing this, we are being the process of integration into the light of day instead of leaving it behind closed doors of the meeting rooms. The best way to kill a vampire, after all, is to expose it to sunlight. And by ensuring that integration is democratic from the first step, the Left will have a new opportunity to improve the lives of a whole Continent.

1 comment:

The JF said...

I like this idea, although I'm not sure the Americans would be too keen on giving too much sovereignty to Canadians and Mexicans. I think it would also be interesting to bring in some of the Carribean countries and others in the Western hemisphere in the longer term. But starting with democratizing North American integration is better than our current course. Personally though, my alternative is to build closer ties with the EU. I really need to finish this site: