Regionalism is the path towards a “Third Position” between communism and capitalism. Market economy thinking is oriented towards competition. So far so good, but the regional dimension of markets, and the defined purpose of competition, regarding its incorporation in the overall economic structure – as well as the perspective regarding the processes of production and the generation of profit – are decisive criteria on which to judge an economic system that is in question. The globalist economy, which functions and spreads at the expense of smaller, regional economies, and whose central element is speculative and growth-driven profit maximisation, has not only led to excessive international division of labour, but has also led to local populations suffering from an enormous vulnerability to various different crises – especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – thus leaving regions in an economic state in which they eventually become too weak to function autonomously, and are forced to instead rely upon external, larger economies and geo-political powers to help prop them up.
Regionality, Subsidiarity, Sustainability
The very nature of a highly speculative financial sector – which is promoted not least by the economic policies of the central banks – has led to degenerated competition at the expense of labour as a factor of production, as well as the degeneration of the domestic production economy in general. Small and medium-sized economic units, in particular, fell victim to the cannibalistic principle of "growing or giving way". The economic policies that politicians are compelled to make relating to market competition – as well as international trade – must not be seen exclusively as absolute economic solutions from the angle of business management, but should instead be measured by whether or not they have an economic effect on regional structural improvement or destruction, in regards to different sectors. The value of a social and regional economic structure in this sense is shown by the degree of its capability to subsist.
Regions with endogenous potentials of subsistence – i.e. the potential for independent self-preservation – are a cultural asset worth protecting, and must not be surrendered to external economic powers under globalist constraints of misconceived ideas of competition. Globalisation as a profit maximisation strategy leads not towards innovation, but rather towards destructive “competition”, in which only particular interests of oligopolistic corporations dominate. Unfortunately, for too long the subsidy policy – which is subject to EU guidelines in Brussels – has been aimed unilaterally at increasing international competitiveness, thereby almost completely neglecting a regionally-oriented link between production and marketing.
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Regionally-Integrated Value-Added Chains
Social market economy therefore also means regional market economy, by aiming towards a broad identity spanning social, economic and settlement structures. Strengthening the idea that is globalisation to the level that it becomes an economic dogma choked – beyond the concept of stock exchange and derivative quotations – the awareness of degeneration to a merely extended workbench of globalist-capitalist centres. That is especially the case if there are no longer sufficient regionally-integrated value-added chains, depth of production and marketing opportunities implemented domestically. It is about time that Europe changes its course. Responsible politics must replace the pathological export craze of an ever-increasing “bazaar economy” (the term being coined by Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn), with a concept of regional subsidiarity. Regionalised economics as a counter-measure to globalisation is more relevant than ever. However, what exactly does all this mean? Which guiding principles must politics pursue to relocate economic activity?
Firstly, there must be an initial understanding of the region as a historically-grown, culturally defined area, and the self-determination of a settlement-oriented provision of public services as a political objective. That requires a consolidation of decentralised structures of production, processing, and marketing not only – but especially regarding – agricultural products as the basis for regional supply. In some peripheral areas that have already fallen behind, concepts of multi-functional local supply centres will have to be focused, whereas, in other areas, it will be afforded to counter-act the problem of oligopolistic trade concentration. However, the funding policy must pursue a strict regionalisation strategy.
National Competences & Sovereignty
It is necessary for the successful revitalisation of domestic structures that regional economic unity between producers, processors, craftsmen, traders, consumers, etc. must be the focus of the public funding policy, as well as the promoting of co-operative corporate concepts. However, to implement regional criteria regarding public procurement presupposes having sovereign political competences independent of Brussels' free-trade requirements. A conscious political decision made to the advantage of economic activities of regionally-anchored companies must not be interpreted as a general restraint of competition. Even if one “risk” is that the respective products are not regarded as the “cheapest” on offer, in terms of general pricing, such policies in favour of the domestic economy must be endorsed. The municipal or regional scope for decision-making, as well as regional budgets in the sense of partial local self-governance, must not be restricted by Brussels’ heteronomy if considered appropriate by nation-states. Economic protection where it is needed the most must always take precedence over the notion of unlimited free-trade, no matter the cost.
One of the most crucial aspects within economic theory is to realise that – contrary to Ricardo’s Law, which determines today’s globalisation – price-levelling of goods in the form of so-called comparative cost advantages must not be a decisive factor. Rather it must be the focus on the recognition and understanding of the consequences of foreign trade relations for a national economic structure as a whole. It was precisely the realisation of Ricardo’s free-trade doctrine, that led to the decay of once varied and complex regions, which have since changed into industrial monocultures. Once monocultural structures are well established, since the international division of labour has been carried to the extremes, then dependencies more and more develop, until it seems that we can hardly function as a society without various trade flows implemented, which were otherwise not deemed necessary before.
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Capitalism Leads to Imperialism
Today, a new political theory is needed to produce a suitable degree of structural coherence. A framework for regional connectivity is required, but without undermining and eroding regional structures for self-reliance. Regionalism can provide the much-needed counter-balance to the danger that is globalist supremacy. Regional production and the increase in local goods is a far more preferable option that is in stark contrast to the concept of mass-produced goods. Regionality means a more diverse market sector due to local characteristics that open up opportunities for agriculture, retail, catering, tourism, etc. Furthermore, regional economies far less of a burden on ecosystems, due to the lack of long-distance transportation of such domestically-produced goods.
It is also worthy of note that there exists a state of interdependence between the prevailing capitalist system and hegemonic imperialism. The inherent nature of capitalism – with its competitive displacement manifest as a result of systematically-forced short-term aims of maximising profit – breeds, in a certain manner, a market-oriented form of expansionism. That explains why economic trade liberalism fuels the striving for hegemonic tendencies, and the synchronisation of different cultural values into one globalist worldview. And last, but certainly not least, we nationalists must draw a clear conclusion – the territorial and cultural integrity of historically-grown areas of settlement must not disappear due to a speculative logic of competition driven by the concept of accumulating capital by Western financial systems (by doing so risks damaging domestic productive economic substance). Neither must domestic economic integrity fall victim to an egalitarian relativism of values.
Sascha A. Roßmüller
Globalism Destroys the Homeland – Join Europa Terra Nostra, the Nationalist Answer to the Globalist Failure