Thursday, October 23, 2008

A North American Union like the EU

I’ve just begun Tony Judt’s A Grand Illusion? Subtitled, “an Essay on Europe.” The book was written in 1996, but the title suggests that he was probably prescient. The European Union failed to obtain the support it needed to make it a meta-nation. However, the EU has a certain level of coherence that is working.

Which caused me to think about the possibility of an NAU, a North American Union. From a conservative standpoint, an NAU would be anathema. It would almost by definition infringe upon or at the very least corrupt our “American way of life” as described in our constitution, Bill of Rights, etc. But given the fact that we seem about ready to elect a president whose political philosophy is consistent with the dominant philosophy of Europe, who calls himself a “Progessive,” which means progressing toward a European sort of Leftism, we might at least think about an NAU. After all it seems to be working for Europe. Why couldn’t it work here?

Mind you, I’m writing this article as the investigation of a hypothesis. I won’t be voting for Obama and do not agree with the dominant philosophy of Europe, but that is no reason not to look at it and think about it.

According to the CIA fact book, the EU has a population of 491,018, 683 and a GDP of 14,430 trillion. It’s GDP per capita is $32,700. Its area is less than half the size of the U.S.

If we group my hypothetical NAU nations (Canada, Mexico & the U.S.) together, their combined population is 446,900,000. Their combined GDP is 16,625 trillion.

Mexico has the lowest GDP but not as low as one might think, $1,353 trillion. It has a population of 110,000,000 and a GDP per person of $12,400; which is much lower than Canada’s GDP per person of $38,600 and the U.S. $45,800. But when you think of the nations in the EU, Poland has a GDP per person of $16,200, and Romania $11,100. The EU is apparently working things out with Romania, Poland and some of the other nations with low GDPs per person. Presumably we could work with Mexico as well.

One advantage would be the elimination of the illegal immigration problem in one fell swoop. We could make Mexico’s membership contingent upon their identifying and keeping track of all their citizens. Mexicans could then come to the US or Canada and work to their heart’s content, but they could not become American or Canadian citizens by virtue of working here. Citizenship would be granted in the old-fashioned legal method. Mexicans would no longer need Green Cards. Their Mexican citizenship cards would do.

We have many problems with Mexico – that is problems with Mexican problems, but I can’t imagine that an NAU would make any of these problems worse. In fact it might provide an incentive for the Mexican government to do more than it has. We should bear in mind that the Mexican government has already done quite a lot. Agencies that evaluate third-world nations consider Mexico a promising “emerging market.” They think Mexico is getting better; which would mean that the problems we worry about would lessen with time.

Canada and Mexico might like a say in regard to when the U.S. decides to go to war, but Obama would already like to give them one. He would like to give the whole U.N. a say, so it shouldn’t hurt to give Mexico & Canada a say early on.

Why do I, being a conservative, sound so “upbeat” about this matter? Well, in an earlier note I established that there was no place for us to go if Obama was elected; so I may as well make the best of it. Life does not end just because one is a Left-Wing Canadian or European.

Lawrence Helm

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