Reconciling Cultural Diversity & Free Trade (FR 106)

 

This course will cover the history of trade in cultural goods and services (including, for example, media and entertainment items such as movies, television programs, music recordings, books, newspapers, and magazines), cultural economics, international censorship rules, the major World Trade Organization (WTO) free trade rules and dispute cases regarding cultural goods and services (with particular emphasis on the "public morals" exception to the WTO rules), and the pros and cons of adopting a comprehensive cultural exemption to the WTO rules pursuant to the new United Nations Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The U.S. and the EU possess diametrically opposed views on how cultural goods and services should be treated in the global economy, with the U.S. maintaining that, for the most part, they should be treated like any other commodity or service and the EU (led by France) insisting that they are "the cherished articulations of a nation's soul"[1] and accordingly they should receive special protection in the global economy. This "trade and culture debate" has a long history (with some commentators claiming it goes back to the early 1900s, when France lost the fledgling movie industry to Hollywood) and furthermore goes to the very essence of which subjects should be regulated by the international community and which subjects should be left to the discretion of each individual nation.

 

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