Consequent to the implementation of the neo-liberal economic agenda upon the global economy, implying the removal of barriers to trade and most forms of protectionism, 90% of the global GDP was owned and controlled by just under 20% of the North's citizens, while 20% of the South's citizens controlled and owned under 1% of the global GDP ('Why the World,' 2005). In addition to that, and as Longsworth (1999) reports, the combined wealth of Microsoft's three top executives exceeds the combined wealth of fifty LDCs. Indeed, globalisation has substantially and dangerously expanded the gap between the haves and the have-nots, as evidenced through the fact that the income gap between the fifth of the world's people living in the richest countries and the fifth in the poorest was 30:1 in 1960, 60:1 in 1990,and jumped to 74:1 in 1997 (Indonesia's despair,'2000). Economic statistics establish globalisation as an instrument for the transference of wealth and resources from the South to the north, from the poor to the rich and not, as its proponents have claimed a strategy for the elimination of poverty and underdevelopment.
The means by which globalisation transfers wealth and resources from the have-nots to the haves are, within the context of any discussion on regionalization versus globalisation, extremely informative. Globalisation, as earlier stated, has imposed neo-liberal economic agendas upon national economies, dictating the virtual withdrawal of states from their domestic economies and constraining their powers to exercise protectionism, if only to allow their infant industries the space and time to grow and stabilize. As Schwam-Baird (2003) writes, insofar as both developing and single national economies are concerned, the consequences are potentially...
The United States, both fuelled and fortified by its multinationals has emerged, not only as the world's only superpower but as an unequaled and unmatched force. More importantly, it is a force which is determined to overwhelm and consume other nations. Single economies, irrespective of their individual strength, cannot resist this power/force alone but can as a collectivity. Indeed, they can should they respond through the formation of their own `empire,' a union of nations which, besides being capable of surviving globalization, possibly thriving under it, can emerge as a counterforce to the American empire. Consequently, from this interpretive perspective, not only is regionalization a strategy for survival under, and resistance to, globalization but it is, potentially, a project for the resistance of the American Empire through the recreation of the bipolar world order. In the final analysis, regionalization is, quite incontrovertibly, a counterforce to globalization, with it being quite valid to argue that, as a phenomenon, it rose in direct response to globalization. This should hardly be surprising considering the fact that globalization functions as a very real threat, not only to the economic survival, political independence and national sovereignty of the nations of the South but, to the countries of the North. Regionalisation, as such, emerges as a strategy for the pooling of national resources and unifying for the maximisation of strength and, hence, capacity to resist and survive.