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What Does Integration Signify?: Its Origin and Optimism for the Global Economy

Listed author(s):
  • Choo, Myung-Gun


    (Sejong Institution)

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    I. Origin of Integration in Human History : Since life first began on earth 3.5 billions years ago, countless species have appeared and disappeared strictly according to the law of the jungle where only the fittest survived. Before the emergence of mankind, the earth had already gone through five mass extinctions with each causing the ecological system to dramatically evolve. The mammals, of which the human race is a part, only began to thrive after the last mass extinction some 65 million years ago. Since then mankind has survived and evolved through several glacial periods. Through the continuous process of moving north during interglacial periods and then south to the equatorial zone to survive the ice ages, mankind was able to put down roots across the globe. With the end of the last glacial period, i.e., fifteen thousand years ago, humans began to engage in agricultural activities instead of hunting and this in turn led to the emergence of large societies owing to higher productivity. Also, the appearance of sophisticated weaponry enabled the militarily strong to forcibly unite the surrounding clans to larger tribal societies. This along with advancements in transportation systems, led to the birth of the nation states. Larger societies are also the consequences of awfully cruel wars as well as of civilization and technology. After a number of large-scale massacres, a mankind tries to look for ways to live together less violently. They found the answer in trade and customs unions which originally emerged as a way to overcome trade barriers. The role of Zollverein, the customs union of the German states was means of the German unification and ultimately it led to the birth of the European Union. Since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which officially established the first free trade agreement of the region, economic integration has been evolving to the rise of the Euro in 1999. In the first decade of 21st century, we have witnessed that the Euro system without fiscal policy integration are entangled in a series of debt crises in several member countries.

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    Article provided by Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University in its journal Journal of Economic Integration.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
    Issue (Month): ()
    Pages: 209-215

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    Handle: RePEc:ris:integr:0568
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