Peter Grant
Partner and Chair of the Technology, Communications and Intellectual Property Group
McCarthy Tétrault

"Blockbusters and Trade Wars"

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Peter GrantA "cultural tool kit" is one of the measures that a government can develop to encourage a range of local cultural products without undermining freedom of expression. Such was the theme of Peter Grant's lecture delivered on the occasion of the Annual Grafstein Lecture in Communications on March 30, 2004: "Popular Culture in a Globalized World." The world of cultural economics, says Grant, works quite differently than the marketplace for ordinary commodities. Subjecting cultures to trade agreements "precludes countries from maintaining space and choice for local cultural expression." Grant proposes the establishment of a cultural tool kit - a series of measures that he believes governments should adopt to encourage local popular cultural products. Among the policy measures that he suggests include the "support of public broadcasting" and the "imposition of reasonable scheduling or expenditure requirements on private broadcasters." Many countries are now pitted against the huge US entertainment industry in order to preserve their cultural identity. According to Grant, if countries around the world are unable to tell their cultural stories and are instead overwhelmed with foreign cultural material, resentment will result. Instead, if local culture is fostered and nourished by welldesigned cultural tool kits, a nation confident in the future of its own culture will also be "capable of accepting other views without fear." Grant has also written a recent book on this topic, Blockbusters and Trade Wars