However, critics of the forms this integration has taken have consistently pointed out that the forms of regional integration promoted have often been neoliberal in character, in line with the motives and values of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – promoting financial deregulation, the removal of barriers to capital and global corporations, their owners and investors; focusing on industrialisation, boosting global trade volumes and increasing GDP. This has been accompanied by a stark increase in global inequality, growing environmental problems as a result of industrial development, the displacement of formerly rural communities, ever-expanding urban slums, rising unemployment and the dismantling of social and environmental protections. Global financial deregulation has also contributed to the increasing frequency and severity of economic crises, while Governments have increasingly lost the sovereignty to take action to protect and foster weakened economies, as they are held to the rules of free trade implemented by the WTO and IMF.
Advocates of alternative regional integration argue strongly that the solutions to global crises (financial, economic, environmental, climate, energy, health, food, social, etc.) must involve regional solutions and regional integration, since they transcend national borders and territories, and require the cooperation of different peoples across geography. However, they propose alternatives to the dominant forms of neoliberal integration, which attends primarily to the needs of transnational corporations and investors. Renowned economist, Harvard professor, former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz has also argued strongly against neoliberal globalisation (see Neoliberalism). Stiglitz argues that the deregulation, free trade, and social spending cuts or austerity policies of neoliberal economics have actually created and worsened global crises. In his 2002 book Globalization and Its Discontents he explains how the industrialized economies of the US, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan developed not with the neoliberal policies promoted in developing countries and the global South by the WTO, IMF and World Bank, but rather with a careful mix of protection, regulation, social support and intervention from national governments in the market.