Overlapping Regionalism, No Integration: Conceptual Issues and the Latin American Experiences

Andrés Malamud

After 20 years of its foundation, MERCOSUR has failed to meet its declared goals. Far from being a common market and not yet a customs union, it has neither deepened nor (legally) enlarged. All other regionalist projects in Latin America fare even worse, albeit they have arguably fostered domestic democracy, economic reforms and more peaceful regional relations. This paper introduces a conceptual toolkit for comparing regional integration, and then apply it to explain the sprawling goals and declining performance of the Latin American experiences. The aim is to show how the strengthening of national sovereignty as opposed to its pooling or delegation is at the heart of most contemporary regionalist strategies.

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