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 An engaging look at Europe's economic prospects, forcefully demonstrating that the continent's future will depend on furthering regional alliances that transcend outmoded and restrictive national boundaries. Financial journalist Delamaide (Debt Shock, 1984, etc.) marshalls a wealth of geographic, statistical, and historical evidence to show that cities like the increasingly independent Barcelona, Hamburg, and Manchester--and the regions around them, whatever countries they lie in--have become Europe's basic engines of economic growth. Such cities, many already formed into interregional councils and other cooperative entities, provide rational, workable bases for much-needed growth, especially in Europe's most underdeveloped regions. Delamaide's model, which leans on Joel Garreau's ground-breaking The Nine Nations of North America for inspiration, is also based on the currently popular notion of ``subsidiarity''--where political decisions are devolved to the smallest appropriate political entity. The idea, if properly practiced, could offer a useful counterweight to the growing centralized power of the EC Parliament. Though forward-looking, Delamaide's model reaches into the past for prototypes of intratribal and cultural trade and cooperation like the ancient Hanseatic League, which ruled trade throughout the Baltic region during the middle ages. He also draws ideas from recent projects by transnationals like Volvo and Ford. But Delaimaide makes clear what problems stand in the way of such a vision (a vision increasingly embraced by European political and business leaders)--from the desperate turmoil in the Balkans, to the transformation of the former Soviet republics into market economies, to the threat of easily manipulated reactionary nationalism in Western Europe. Spiced with observations from philosophy, literature, and pop culture, Superregions is just opinionated enough (about Margaret Thatcher's disastrous impact on the British economy; on the corruption at the heart of Swiss life) to keep readers avidly engaged. Its use as a reference is weakened by lack of an index; perhaps future editions will supply one. That problem notwithstanding, Superregions is full of good ideas, and a fine guide for researchers, businesspeople and others interested in Europe's--and everyone's--future. (10 maps--not seen)

Pub Date: March 17th, 1994
ISBN: 0-525-93651-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1994