On May 24, the nations of South America signed a treaty to create Unasur, a regional parliament that builds upon the trading agreements Mercosur and the Andean Community, but also may coordinate common military defense actions. <Read the article here >
The South American Union is an obvious analogue to the European Union, which is to say that the South American nations may have seen the success of Europe under the EU and modeled an agreement to follow their path. However, how are we to understand the growth of regional political and economic organizations? South America is not close to Europe’s level of development, relying on plantation agriculture and mining, low-level exports for centuries. Part of South America's weaknesses were due to Europe's exploitation. Do the two regions share a similar path to prosperity?
Hopefully, by looking at the development of the European Union and preliminary attempts to integrate the South American economy into a larger unit, we can make hypothesis about the future of the South American Union. Here are some readings about the South America’s economy and the growth of the EU, to help get a handle on this.
Regarding the European Union:
Transformation of Governance in the European Union - A good description of the European Union's current structure
Ever Closer Union: An Introduction to European Integration - A historical perspective, that traces the EU's development.
Regarding South America:
Mercosur: Between Integration and Democracy - An introduction into the Mercosur agreement.
The Andean Pact - Some background information about the Andean Community.