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The Internationalization of the Circumpolar North: Charting a Course for the 21st Century
by Oran R. Young
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Current Issues
Is there a need for a comprehensive and integrated Arctic regime similar to the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) that has developed to govern the Circumpolar South?
  While economists who employ the idea of the unseen hand in thinking about the growth of markets and sociologists concerned with the evolution of social practices are often quite content with the notion of institutional arrangements developing on their own, many lawyers and some political scientists believe that there is a need to craft some comprehensive regime or, in other words, a constitutional contract, for the Arctic treated as a distinct region in international society. No doubt, the generally positive experience with the creation and development of the ATS in the south polar region lends credibility to the views of those who espouse the formation of an Arctic Treaty System [14]. But is there a compelling need to move in this direction? And even if the answer to this question is affirmative, is this the right time to make such a move? In general terms, the case for a comprehensive regime rests on the desire to avoid gaps and overlaps in Arctic governance. The argument against such a move not only raises questions about the seriousness of these problems but it also emphasizes the transaction costs involved in creating a comprehensive regime for the Arctic. The idea of creating such a regime has sufficient appeal to ensure that it will not disappear from the Arctic agenda during the foreseeable future [15]. But the probability of significant progress toward this goal occurring during the next decade is low.
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The Internationalization of the Circumpolar North: Charting a Course for the 21st Century,
by Oran R. Young.
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