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[Excerpt] For American proponents of global justice, social Europe appears distant yet inspirational, with all its weaknesses still a "vanguard" model for the social regulation of the global economy. We believe that a great deal can be learned by other countries, regions and the global economy as a whole from the ongoing experience of European economic and social integration. We also believe, however, that American experiences with NAFTA as well as with contemporary labor movement revitalization and coalition building offer positive lessons for Europeans and other actors in the global North and South.

As much as we admire the European model, therefore, we also believe that (1) there is room for mutual learning, and (2) lessons can be learned but models cannot be transferred without significant adaptation. The road to a social America or social global economy lies not in adoption of the European model but rather in the politics of contestation. Just as the limited EU social dimension is possible only because European unions and governments have fought for it, a stronger social order for the global economy as well as regionally in the Americas will only come with pressure from revitalized interest groups and social movements.


Suggested Citation
Compa, L. & Turner, L. (2003). Paths to global social regulation – What can Americans learn from the European Union [Electronic version]. In R. Hoffmann, O. Jacobi, B. Keller, and M. Weiss (Eds.), European integration as a social experiment in a globalized world (pp 149-159). Düsseldorf: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung.

Required Publisher’s Statement
© Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.