In the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, renowned public intellectual and scholar Stephen Clarkson asks whether North America “exists” in the sense that the European Union has made Europe exist. Clarkson’s rigorous study of the many political and economic relationships that link Canada, the United States, and Mexico answers this unusual question by looking at the institutions created by NAFTA, a broad selection of economic sectors, and the security policies put in place by the three neighboring countries following 9/11. This detailed, meticulously researched, and up-to-date treatment of North America’s transborder governance allows the reader to see to what extent the United States’ dominance in the continent has been enhanced or mitigated by trilateral connections with its two continental partners.

An illuminating product of seven years’ political-economy, international-relations, and policy research, Does North America Exist? is an ambitious and path-breaking study that will be essential reading for those wanting to understand whether the continent containing the world’s most powerful nation is holding its own as a global region.

This book is the second of Clarkson’s three-volume series, following Uncle Sam and Us: Globalization, Neoconservatism, and the Canadian State (2002) and followed by Dependent America? How Canada and Mexico Construct U.S. Power (2012).


Introduction: Framing the Question

1. North America as Market and Community

Part One – Less Than Meets the Eye: State Re-regulation via Regional Institutionalization
2. NAFTA's Institutional Vacuum
3. NAFTA's Uneven Judicial Capacity
4. Transborder Labour Governance
5. Transborder Environmental Governance
6. Transboundary Water Governance

Part Two – More Than Meets the Eye: Market Reconfiguration at the Continental Level
7. The Role of Big Business in Negotiating Free Trade
8. Continental Energy (In)security
9. Agriculture: Beef, Wheat, and Corn

Part Three – The Continent in Transition: Further Reconfiguration under Globalizing Pressures
10. The Steel Industry
11. Textiles and Apparel
12. The Governance of Capital Markets

Part Four – Not What Meets the Eye: Global Governance in North America
13. The Banking Sector
14. Labelling Genetically Modified Food
5. Intellectual Property Rights and Big Pharma

Part Five – Just What It Used to Be: Persistent State Dominance
16. Border Security and the Continental Perimeter
17. North American Defence
18. The Third Bilateral: The Mexico-Canada Relationship
19. The Security and Prosperity Partnership Conclusion: Framing the Answer


Winner of the American Political Science Association Canadian Politics Section’s 2012 Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award

“Stephen Clarkson’s Does North America Exist? is an excellent, comprehensive, and encyclopedic examination of many important areas of public policy; a must-read for public officials in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as well as anyone interested in North American relations, globalization, and international relations.”—Peter Karl Kresl, Department of Economics, Bucknell University