*The Future History of the Arctic*

I loved this book, which is written by Charles Emmerson.  Here is one short bit:

Despite the prominence of the colors of Norway on Svalbard — and the firm insistence from any government representative that Svalbard is an integral part of the kingdom of Norway — there are reminders that the archipelago is both something more and something less than that.  Russians and Ukrainians live here, some in Longyearbyen, though most are at the Russian settlement at Barentsburg.  The girls at the supermarket checkout counter speak Thai.  Somewhere in town is an Iranian who came here six years ago and, under the terms of the Spitsbergen Treaty, was able to settle here.  If he were to return south to the Norwegian mainland, he would almost definitely be forced to leave the country, his asylum claims having been refused.  Import duties are nonexistent on Svalbard: Cuban cigars cost less in Longyearbyen, at 78 degrees North, than they do in Oslo, three hours' flight to the south.

Here is Wikipedia on Svalbard

This book covers why and how Greenland might become independent, what kind of presence in the Arctic Canada can realistically expect to have, the changing historical fortunes of Vladivostock, what the Law of the Sea really means, and why Norway manages its fossil fuel revenues so well, among other matters.  The Future History of the Arctic has fun and useful information on just about every page.



Svalbard is about the size of Wisconsin, but has a population of ~2500 people. Just 2500, not 2500 thousand. My high school had more students than that.

The low population despite the ease of immigration suggest that it is, if anything, having trouble attracting people. I wonder what the median real wage is.

Thank you for the recommendation Dr. Cowen. It's on my wish list.

I'm sorry to see more spammers have infiltrated the comment section.

Or the factr it is almost impossible to get off for 6 months a year, and there is almost no sun for that entire period, 4 months solid with no sun at all.

Most people, even Norwegians don't really go for that

Informative post; the author, however, spells his name "Emmerson," with two "m"'s.

Can we take over greenland? only 50K people. I think we offered to buy it once. It would be great to own, and then we could be bigger than Russia...

Funny lines from Wikipedia:

Visitors and residents are not "permitted" to die in Longyearbyen, as the town's cemetery stopped accepting newcomers in the 1930s.
As a result local citizens often carry rifles, and every UNIS student and member of staff spends their first day learning how to use a rifle to defend themselves against bears

@Charlie: well it'd solve the Hans Island issue pretty definitively. I'm sure we can also make some immediate income (screw waiting for oil rigs) leasing out ports to the Anglo-Dutch fleet when they launch the invasion of Iceland.

The Wikipedia article on the Spitsbergen Treaty fails to mention Iran as a signatory. Perhaps the "Iranian" is really an Afghan?

Is there any reason why a country would not want to become a signatory to the treaty? What downside is there?

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