The so-called culture industries-film, television and radio
broadcasting, periodical and book publishing, video and sound
recording-are noteworthy exceptions to the rhetorical commitment of
Western countries to free trade as a major goal. These exceptions
threatened to derail such high-profile negotiations as NAFTA and
its predecessor, the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, as well as the
Uruguay Round of the GATT.
Conventional wisdom did not foresee trouble from this source,
because these established industries are not commercial national
champions, nor are they particularly large providers of jobs. As
Patricia M. Goff shows, the standard trade literature considers the
monetary value but doesn't recognize the symbolic importance of
cultural production. In Limits to Liberalization, she
traces the interplay between the commercial and the cultural.
Governments that want to expand free trade may simultaneously
resist liberalization in the culture industries (and elsewhere,
including agriculture and health care).
Goff traces the rationale for "cultural protectionism" in the
trade policies of Canada, France, and the European Union. The
result is a larger understanding of the forces that shape
international trade agreements and a book that speaks to current
theoretical concerns about national identity as it plays out in
politics and international relations.
Subjects: Political Science
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