The twentieth century unfolded before economists such a large-scale panorama of grandiose changes in the socio-economic life of the planet that their comprehension will require a lot of time and intellectual energy from scientists. Among the most important trends in modern socio-economic development, it is necessary to name such seemingly opposite in meaning, but at the same time deeply interconnected and interdependent processes as globalization and regionalization.
In the scientific community and society, the attitude to these processes is far from ambiguous, since some understand, for example, globalization as a process of combining the efforts (capital, natural, labor and intellectual resources) of different countries for the joint production of products in order to meet social needs as efficiently as possible. This kind of idea is based on the theory of comparative advantages, which argues that due to the specifics of the natural and economic conditions of different countries. it is expedient to produce the products necessary for the world community where this production is most efficient, and then exchange the goods produced on the basis of international trade. In this regard, globalization implies a liberal regime of international trade, freedom of movement of capital, as well as the division of labor according to the regional principle, territorial isolation and specialization, i.e. regionalization.
Other scientists perceive globalization as an artificially imposed mechanism of global exploitation by the center of the periphery (the countries of the “golden billion” of hundreds of other countries of the world). At the heart of their ideas is the theory of unequal exchange, which assumes that free market transactions are equivalent only on a subjective basis, but are always unequal in material and labor basis, which leads to an uncompensated movement of matter and labor costs from one country to another (international exploitation). The direction of these flows is explained on the basis of the law of equalization of the average rate of return on advanced capital, according to which, in the conditions of free cross-border movement of capital, the rate of return per unit of invested capital in different countries is equalized. At the same time, capital-intensive industries with a high organic structure of capital (K / L) respectively receive a larger share of jointly produced profits in comparison with labor-intensive industries that have a low organic structure of capital. As a result, there is an automatic redistribution of profits in favor of enterprises and countries with high technological development.
Since in modern conditions capital is very, very mobile (including with the help of computer networks), and the freedom of movement of technologies and labor resources is limited by many objective and subjective factors, backward, depressed and crisis regions with consistently low wages, employment and labor productivity are being created in the world thanks to globalization. At the same time, the constant outflow of profits in favor of developed countries further exacerbates this differentiation, giving rise to the phenomenon of uneven development of regions and regionalization.
It is important to note that similar reasoning applies to situations that develop at both the mega and macro levels. Indeed, regional development is also uneven in specific countries, highlighting donor regions and chronically depressed recipient regions. At the same time, almost everywhere the level of socio-economic development of the center (the capital and large regional, regional, etc. cities) is much higher than the provinces. All this testifies not only to the presence of a pronounced regionalization, but also to the need to solve the problem of uneven development of regions and, accordingly, the relevance of science that studies regional problems in order to develop a regional policy that ensures the harmonious development of countries and their territories.
It should be noted that the hope that a free and “all-powerful” market is able to provide an automatic solution to all problems without exception is utopian, since among the fundamental shortcomings of the market, along with the presence of external effects, limited competition and information asymmetry, is its inability to solve the problems of regions with different resource availability. Today, in the context of globalization, which is slyly presented by apologists as a powerful integrating factor, on the contrary, the disintegration of countries and their regions has increased many times, since global market liberalism has led to a total differentiation of socio-economic development in all directions – between individuals, regions, countries and entire continents. It is important to note that regionalization, as a process of unification into alliances and isolation of countries and their groups (EAEU, NAFTA, MERCOSUR, THE EU, etc.), today is perceived as an effective “antidote” against globalization, which is interpreted by many scientists as a mechanism of global exploitation: man – nature, transnational capital – hired labor, the center – the periphery.