George Orwell predicted that trade blocs would evolve into continent-spanning empires with ever-changing alliances. The eastward expansion of the EU and use of the Euro, southern expansion of NAFTA into the FTAA, and increasing co-operation in Asia would seem to validate this prediction.
Particularly since the demise of most of the world's empires, a number of international—generally regionally based—economic blocs have been developed to promote trade between member states.
One of the first economic blocs was the German Customs Union (Zollverein) initiated by Bismarck in the 19th century.
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2 See Also
List of international trade blocs