Border Views: Michelle Jo Ann Rhodes’ Boom and Bust Borderlands

Border Views highlights books, treatises, or essays relevant to the Canada-U.S. bilateral relationship.

From Michelle Jo Ann Rhodes’ masterful 2002 dissertation, Boom and Bust Borderlands:  Agriculture, Free Trade, and the Politics of Boundaries in the Canadian-American Grasslands (obtain a copy here):

Therefore, there is no ‘open’ boundary, ‘transparent’ boundary, ‘permeable’ boundary, or ‘closed’ boundary across the Grasslands region.  There is but one international boundary that exhibits all of these characteristics simultaneously, despite the intentions of successive free trade agreements.  CUSTA [Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement] may erase tariffs and many trade barriers, but free trade in the North American context has not equated with wholesale economic integration involving a single monetary system, common rate of taxation, or an agreement on regulation.  Nor does it eliminate the possibility of allegations of unfair trading, subsequent investigation, and retaliatory measures.

Furthermore, subnational government have authority over infrastructure development, service provision, land ownership, and a host of other responsibilities that create variability in cross-border economic environments.  This last factor is crucial for understanding regional economic development efforts in the Grasslands.  The disparities in wealth, resource diversity, and infrastructure among the two states and two provinces in the Grasslands creates significant differences between Alberta and Saskatchewan, or Montana and North Dakota.  (pages 227-28)

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