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Do you think Canada, The United States, and Mexico, will have to form an EU like union to remain competitive in the world market?

I'm trying to gauge the level of support people would have for a potential economic union of the Americas. What would be the best and worst aspects of such a union?

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    Jun 14 2013: We already have NAFTA? It is said the the those 3 as well as South America are natural trading partners

    Canada and Mexico are already our biggest trading partners

    http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/top/dst/current/balance.html

    We are already doing what needs to be done which is TRADE. Screw the any other top down bureaucratic ideas...
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      Jun 15 2013: NAFTA seems to be more of a specific union then an overall economic union like the EU, set up for the bennifit of a relative few companies and for a set of specific targeted goals. Theres still no common currency in use like in the EU, and that really is the key difference. By the way I don't advocate such a union, but see it as likely anyhow.
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        Jun 16 2013: No, It benefit all sides.

        You can easily read upon it.
        • Jun 16 2013: You think NAFTA benefits all?
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        Jun 16 2013: You don't?

        Do you have backup?
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      Jun 16 2013: Agree.

      The question would be how to make it trade in an actual free market.
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        Jun 17 2013: With regards to NAFTA it is quite free
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          Jun 17 2013: Thanks Pat.

          If that is true - is there any relevance for the national borders?
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        Jun 17 2013: What do you mean?
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          Jun 18 2013: Well, back in the days when Australia signed the free trade agreement with USA, it seemed to me that a better move would be for Australia to become one of the United States. The basic culture is very similar, and the agreement shifted our judiciary much closer to US jurisprudence. I could not then, and cannot now see any point in maintaining separate federal identity.
          The theme of this conversation is a EU style north American federation .. and I still cannot see any need for federal separation when trade and judiciary are identical.
          Can you see any function for maintaining artificial federal boundaries?
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        Jun 18 2013: Government has a nasty habit of growing and using force to support that growth the more centralized the goverment is the less accountability there is.

        If you look at this index it clearly shows that NZ and AU is better off with things the way they are:

        http://www.heritage.org/index/
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          Jun 18 2013: I see what you mean.

          This reminds me of something that occurred to me ages ago but I never followed it up.
          I had the notion that a government has only one real function - to occupy the dominant power niche. By default, the biggest dog on the block is the government.
          Then there is community .. we want to put together stuff so that things are a bit easier, a bit safer. Community and government are not the same thing - so we try to join them with democracy .. the chance to choose and shape our big dog.
          Big dogs don't like that kind of thing .. they are still big dogs and they deal with big-dog issues . and the community forgets that .
          From that perspective, it looks like the US big dog has a need to be bigger. What is the other big dog on the block forcing the power niche?
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        Jun 18 2013: The thing is that the big dog is at the expense of the individual. Individuals do not prosper under centralized government they prosper under small groups communities, families, churches.
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          Jun 18 2013: I agree on many levels - our tribal nature is the source of our value.

          It seems to me that while ever a big dog can exist - there will be struggles about which dog is biggest.
          I remember being witness to state negotiations between cartel interests and paramilitary crime organisations - warlords abound among us - and the state assists in their invisibility .. the struggle does not respect any law, and the big dog keeps the large dogs at bay.

          Can you see any way to prevent such power concentrations happening before they become big dogs?
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        Jun 18 2013: I think it boils down to no metric. Metrics have a way of making a person look at himself objectively and to be focused on the task at hand and not on himself.
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          Jun 18 2013: hmm sort of like - "the inch is the bit in between the marks on the ruler - not the marks themselves"?
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      Jun 17 2013: Really! And how popular is NAFTA with the Unions in the U.S.A? The NAFTA agreement moved thousands of manufacturing jobs to Mexico! And those jobs have NOT come back!
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        Jun 17 2013: That is a myth. Reason being that comparative advantage add more jobs than are lost.

        http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html
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          Jun 17 2013: I didn't say the unions were right! I just said that they hated NAFTA! And if the plant where YOU or your spouse worked just packed up one day and moved to Mexico, you'd have something real to complain about! People need jobs. Mexico has benefited under NAFTA (Where legally your employer can pay someone $2 an hour to do your job, environmental protection laws are either nonexistent or not enforced, and working conditions rival that of human slavery.) Major U.S. Corporations have also benefited as wage/benefit reductions always add black ink (CASH) to the bottom line.

          From the trailers/Wikipedia, we seem to be moving to a society similar to that depicted in the upcoming movie Elysium w/Jodi Foster & Matt Damon. We already have a hand-full of super-rich elites. The middle class is shrinking. Something is definitely out of balance.

          Any comments Pat? I welcome your reply. I do. I always learn something on TED - & I always try to get the extra reading/viewing done!
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        Jun 17 2013: Watch the video I linked.

        Do you think Hollywood is a good source of unbiased information? Especially from Matt Damon?
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    Jun 19 2013: You know the EU is a disaster don't you?
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      Jun 19 2013: by what standard? You can't judge the EU by it's individual countries, that's why they joined the union in the first place, because they were already losing economically. In terms of economic output and wealth creation the EU is on par with the United States. Furthermore, I see issues like we saw in Greece as growing pains. After some restructuring, not unlike what's been happening in the US, countries like greece stand to do quite well in the future as part of an "investment group of nations". Germany doing great, even bailing smaller countries out. To me that ability is an advantage for unified economies.

      Of course that's mostly all just my opinion, I'm sure I'm off base in many ways on the topic.
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        Jun 19 2013: If Greece and Spain weren't tied to the Euro they could devalue their native currency to stimulate growth and employment, but as they no longer have a native currency they are stuck with trying to solve their debt problems through austerity measures.
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          Jun 19 2013: That is a valid point, though I think Austerity is a valid option too. I was always taught not to spend money you dont have, but now a day people are told to spend their way to growth....seems too risky too me but hey, maybe economics has changed completely.
  • Jun 18 2013: No, because we are the largest economy/market in the world. Our 310 million people produce and consume more than the 2.3 billion plus people in China and India. We produce more per capita than the 503 million people in the 27 member states of the EU. We are by far the largest consumer market in the world in terms of buying power.

    Eventually we will be overtaken, as far as GDP, by some nation in the next decade or so. It is highly unlikely we will ever be over taken in per capita GDP by any large country (with population of 30 million or greater). Every company in the world wants to sell here.

    If the prices of Oil and Natural gas stay where they are now, we will become even more stronger as a net exporter of natural resources and a low cost provider of manufacturing due to our competitive advantage of energy costs.

    As a country, we need other countries as friends to protect our back from nudges and slights from disgruntled trading partners. The rest of the world has to trade with us , because they want access to our markets. We have to trade with them, because we want them to buy from us. If we do not buy from them, they do not have the resources to buy from us.

    The more we try to control markets, the more we screw them up. If every country produced what they did best and sold to the rest of the world on a level playing field, there would be more "wealth" to go around for everybody. Without commerce, no one makes any money.

    In the end, the last thing we need is an North American Union or worse yet is an American Union spanning both continents. NAFTA is enough and it might be to much.
  • Jun 18 2013: I think a little history would go a long way in making my point clear. Before the EU,there was the EC and before that was the European Common Market. The founders were West Germany and France with early treaties 1951. In 1957, they were joined by Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

    Given that background, I could see Canada and the US forming such a union. There would have to be changes in Mexico.

    note: Portugal and Spain did not join the EC until the 1990's
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    Jun 18 2013: That is also because most companies outsource production to china as costs are cheaper. Therefore imports are higher. Mexico is right behind China.

    China is also Canada's second biggest trading partner.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_Canada
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    Jun 17 2013: I didn't say Hollywood was a good source of information. The movie is question is science fiction and set more than 100 years in the future. Matt Damon is a smart guy, but he's not an academic or business guy like most of those on TED. But if he had a TED talk to give, I think he'd probably get the chance. TED = technology, ENTERTAINMENT, design. And to your point, yes, I do agree that NAFTA probably created MORE job in the U.S. than were ever lost to Mexico. I have not seen the specific figures. But I recall hearing that on the new at the end of the Clinton administration. I still need to see the video, so I gotta go do that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM#t=0s

    And Pat, after watching the video above, a society structured like the science-fiction society of Elysium (movie) is just the natural consequence for this self-same trend. I guess if that debate/question is still open, CAN you identify for me what economic forces are going to STOP money, power, & technology from being concentrated in the hands of an ever shrinking number of very powerful hands? What is going to happen to rebuild the middle class? I guess if I have to choose ONE question for you to answer, it is this: What is going to happen to rebuild the middle class? Is it NOT a problem that the middle class is going extinct? And if it is NOT a problem, WHY is it NOT a problem? I say this tongue-in-cheek, but do you plan to be one of our "Overlords?"

    Thanks for your patience with me Pat. I gotta get home to watch your recommended video. http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

    They don't have earphones here at the library.
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      Jun 17 2013: Yes I want to be your overlord, I command you to have the grand epiphany that there is something know about this subject and that you do know it.

      "What is going to happen to rebuild the middle class?"

      The same thing that always rebuilds it, the free market.

      Currently death has taken a holiday from taking companies that needed to be taken. As a result investors have taken a holiday by saying deal me out as they did during the great depression.

      I'm trying to learn you something but it is not possible if you do not know how to listen.
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        Jun 17 2013: Yeah, I think my hearing aid is burning out on me. I gotta go check it out. Maybe the batteries?
        I watched the video. Good video. Technology is good, but inequalities remain. And faith is the free market alone will not be enough -- at least not by itself.
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      Jun 18 2013: I think what will change it all will be open source technology, 3-D printing, and self replicating robots that can build other robots for specific tasks. no more labor force.
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        Jun 18 2013: Good point. I hope it happens in my lifetime. But we gotta get our act together in a whole bunch of areas first. We still have too much opportunity to destroy ourselves. And we still find too much motivation to destroy one another (and ourselves) over trivial differences and disagreements. We gotta get our act together in a whole bunch of areas first. Otherwise, we'll never get beyond ourselves and escape extinction. The Matt Ridley TED video posted by Pat Gilbert is good. Also, Check out this video. Some scary concepts in there!

        http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_suarez_the_kill_decision_shouldn_t_belong_to_a_robot.html
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    Jun 20 2013: The ignored 3rd-world masses in China's hinterlands are growing restless. Wouldn't surprise me if increasing unrest in the interior and increasing wages in the coastal cities soon put the brakes on the world's economic wonder boy.

    As to your question, I see no reason to accept the implication that the U.S. can't remain competitive without joining some multinational union. The EU has had great difficulties defining what it actually is: trade / economic / political..., and many of its nations now wish to make changes to recoup some of their lost sovereignty. EU has also had negative effects on countries in the vicinity who are not members, who have lost markets in EU countries. In a sense the EU is a union against its neighbors, not a very neighborly policy.
  • Jun 20 2013: The world is becoming smaller and smaller as we are getting more and more interacted with one another. Thus, why not? But then there will always be differences between us, even within families, so it still ends up as the "we's" vs the "thems". Large political entities, like the U.N. for example, tend to become so large that they become unmanageable and end up accomplishing very little. Thought-provoking subject!
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    Jun 19 2013: "Trade is profoundly relevant taxes will drive capital where it is treated best.

    I don't need to research this it is obvious."

    Obvious to you Pat. Your a financial wizard. I'm socialist bound and focused on Programs and Science. You, being the ball is in your court, should kick it first. I would have to search the Internet to develop a spread sheet model to see if it is relevant or not. That's why I take the Experts conclusions if they put it in a a good framework and back it up.

    I do know this. If I want to build a manufacturing company developing a knock off Ipad, I couldn't do it in the US, or many places in Europe. I'd have to go to some third world country due entirely to Patent infringement problems. While I'm there I might take advantage of the low labor wages. I'm sure the welcoming country might be interested in a healthy bribe or two. With automation creating the tools I need to make these machines, I'd actually need little labor, just building, some security, some capital, machines and technical help if the host country could not provide it.
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    Jun 18 2013: " Yes I scanned them. Your comments are irrelevant to the economy.

    Have a nice day" ~Pat gilbert.

    Pat Please.... "irrelevant, indeed", It is profoundly relevant.
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      Jun 18 2013: How so?
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        Jun 19 2013: I'll leave the explanation to the experts Pat. You are expert enough to research the information. Let me know what you find and update me.
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          Jun 19 2013: The question on this subject is what is important. Patents and Loopholes are way down on the list, certainly not "profoundly relevant"

          Trade is profoundly relevant taxes will drive capital where it is treated best.

          I don't need to research this it is obvious.
  • Jun 18 2013: John Paul Jackson (Christian prophet) did tell us that in the future N America shall create its own currency and it shall be similar to the EU as a zone. So if I were to go by anything he says the answer is yes. If interested do hear of his prophecies on you tube. Not only that but the region is going to be in deep trouble in the future, nevertheless it is a phase that western nations must go through. He talks of economic collapse and the influence of China and the Middle East.
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      aj trip

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      Jun 18 2013: I can't place any confidence in someone claiming to be prophetic. Speculation and the pointing out of obvious trends is hardly impressive anyway.
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    Jun 17 2013: I see a lot of arguing about jobs in the US. None of them are coming back and it has nothing to do with treaties or trade.

    The culprit is Taxes and Patents. That's why the jobs have moved over seas. I'll say it again.... they are not coming back, regardless of any type of treaty we draft.

    Check out this question where we looked into this problem: http://www.ted.com/conversations/18791/why_are_companies_corporations.html

    For your convince I posted the links to my argument in that question here:

    Patents:
    http://www.buildingipvalue.com/06US_Can/081_084.htm

    Tax Loopholes:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/25/8-ridiculous-tax-loopholes-how-companies-are-avoiding-the-tax-man.html



    It may be different in other countries but as far as the US and Australia, or any Euro nation, It's a dead idea. No tax incentives, iron clad patents...... no jobs.
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      Jun 18 2013: I wonder if another factor might be something simple like population. The demand for labor in emerging countries outstrips those countries ability to apply it efficiently. American companies fill the gaps where possible and "American jobs" become Chinese jobs. Really it's just the greater demand in developing areas of the world that's attracting investment dollars that historically went to America's labor force.They can just get more done, and for less money because the workers can't command a fair wage
      China will develop faster then America did and so will their demand for a better life style, as it does those jobs will shift to the next cheapest option, India.

      I suspect we will see a shift in manufacturing from China to India at a faster rate then that of America's to China. Mostly due to the potential labor force India has as it becomes the worlds most populace nation by 2025. China can make more money as a consumption based economy like America is, shifting it's labor costs to cheaper markets. In this modern economy I wonder if production based jobs as a measure of economic health aren't overblown just a bit considering that quality of life continues to rise when an economy makes the transition from production to consumption based.
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        Jun 18 2013: I would suggest thinking about it really hard, Perhaps try to develop some type of spread sheet model to check out the possibilities. This would be a great Spread sheet project. I haven't seen one anywhere and I have been tempted to do one myself. I think it would take a lot of research.
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      Jun 18 2013: John

      What you are saying is a popular fallacy.

      It does not matter if those jobs are gone.

      Can I show you something?

      The world changes real fast these days. The canary in the coal mine is new jobs being created in new directions. The economy never recovers it changes direction.

      You make buggy whips, hand cranked check printers, telegraph keys, typewriters, carbon paper, pay phones, Polaroid cameras, etc OR you are in a labor intensive industry that always goes where the labor is the cheapest.

      So you have to either move to continue your occupation in a foreign land or you have to figure out how to make that stuff through more automation which is why the largest manufacturer in the world (the undisputed champion by far) is the U.S.

      The real key here is the nascent products and services. The way Apple went from a garage to the richest company in the world was capital investment. When you discourage this investment that grows seedlings into rich fields of crops you get the great depression and now. In other words the government is eating the seed corn as they don't know any better. They are doing this by propping up companies that should have been buried about 5 or so years ago and creating voluminous regulations that will scare off any further investment in the seedlings.
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        Jun 18 2013: I guess you didn't read the material I posted Pat. I don't see any logic in your reply Pat. Could you furnish some material to substantiate your inductive suggestions?

        Thank in advance.
        John.
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          Jun 18 2013: Yes I scanned them. Your comments are irrelevant to the economy.

          Have a nice day
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        Jun 19 2013: If I may Pat, China is the largest manufacturer in the world. America's manufacturers are still the most efficent in the world however.
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    Jun 17 2013: Hopefully it would be easy to travel and see the Mayan Ruins, among other things.

    I think it would stabilize cost differentials between countries within our own Hemisphere. Because of the fact that the top part of South America lies on the Equator opens up many farming potentials. We could grow food year round in those areas to feed all the Amero countries. Cost savings in transportation expenses would be huge also.

    I'm all for it.
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    Jun 17 2013: There is NAFTA as Canada, the US and Mexico are each others biggest trading partners.
  • Jun 17 2013: The USA already IS a union of multiple states! We don't need to economically join with countries that largely don't want to be economically joined with us. We need political policies that allow businesses to do what they do even if that business chooses to do business in a non-union state. Nevertheless, we are likely in the decline of America, much like Britain declined in the 19th century.
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      Jun 18 2013: I think it's a little early to suggest America is in decline. We are certainly being out paced by the Chinese, but that doesn't mean we are in decline. India is out pacing China yet China is not in decline. Plus I forsee a revolution in workforce technology consisting of robots that can build other robots for specific tasks. This is already starting to happen and if it happens fully there will cease to be a reason for labor based economics. The 3-D printers are going to change everything as well. Large population countries would become primarily consumers of goods while not really needing to produce goods. A bit crazy perhaps, but we live in awesome times and imagination may truely be the limit. America surely is looking ahead at these things and making plans to stay on top economically if at all possible.
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    Jun 16 2013: Thats my point, America is dominant economically, but others unify to compete. If we are outpaced by the Chinese for example, why wouldn't we do the same thing? If we cant maintain our influence we are going to be stepped on the same way we step on other countries. We may "deserve" that outcome, but I'd prefer to do the stepping.
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    Jun 16 2013: I suspect the issue of a common currency could be handled in a couple different ways. First, rather then issuing a single currency we could keep our currencies but just bring the value of those curriencies to an equal level. Tie them to the dollar, or go back to the gold standard(or a variation of it). This could actually be the entire union in some ways.
    Another way I see it could happen is with a digital currency. We are part of the way there already. Currency value could be tied to a region like the Americas, based on total output of goods or consumption of them.
    I don't advocate either of those suggestions but I could see it happening anyway.
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    Jun 16 2013: I can't see anything beyond some feudal military agreements.

    The Latin Americas are not likely to re-make past mistakes.

    And who can see any point in joining the Divided States of America? One would have to have a love of police.

    I really do have to mention - a currency is the absolute power of life and death over any who use it - pay unto Caesar.

    Who do you propose could be trusted to issue such a currency over the coalition?
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    Jun 15 2013: Who cares about people ? Power & money decides everything..
    By the way in which domain you feel you need to be competitive ? Isn't US alone in ruler's seat already ?
  • Jun 15 2013: Why? Should it have Sharia law?
  • Jun 15 2013: I just browsed through the "DISCUSSION" on whether a united Europe is a good idea. Most of them gave dissension or doubtful consent on ideological ground. Look at the current situation in the EU or the EURO-zone. Either they are in name only (in EU), or they are near to the state of entirely economic collapse (EURO-zone)
    Forget the idea of a united North America. The people in the USA might want to be the Big Brother in it, but people in Canada and Mexico would never agree to that, and also I don't see how it would work.
    In world history, almost all the so-called united "states" were just done by conquerors (conquistadores), none of them were voluntary. The most recent trends were "splitting out" rather than "united", such as the original state of India, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union and Sudan. The forming of the United States were by all the immigrants from England; they were really not of the existing nations as such. As a matter of fact, they were the conquerors (of the native Indians) themselves.
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      Jun 15 2013: You make some valid points Bart. I would point out a couple points of contention though. Firstly, in my opinion it's far more likely The United States would reject such a union then the Canadians, or to a lesser extent the Mexicans. Canada would probably be most likely to suggest that union in the first place because they have more of a social democracy then the Americans. By that I mean they are far more European ideologically.
      I also think you're incorrect in suggesting that the trend is "splitting out". I disagree because most of your examples are of oppressed countries simply seeking freedom. They fracture and split in an effort to become free, so that they might prosper rather then languish. If economic success is found I'd argue the trend is to unite, as in the most obvious example of the United States. The EU is an example of a union of countries that was only created to counter balance the economic might of the US. Everyone see the Asian rise, and its going to be a short time before they are expidentially stronger then the US economically. In that eventuality North America may indeed have to form a Union just to remain competitive.
    • Jun 16 2013: I agree. The United States is not prone to sharing. The U.S. has to be in control...even if they LET you believe you are. Control is key.
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    Jun 14 2013: Why, you are not happy with G8?
    • Jun 15 2013: To say that the G8 is an organization of economic united union is more ike a joke.
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      Jun 15 2013: I'm not a fan of the G8 or the EU, or capatalism for that matter. But in the absence of a more effective alternatve it's just going to happen. Socialism/Communism have already defeated in an evolutionary economic sense.