Culture and Globalization

Question 11

The genuine desire to protect the Canadian culture was a great motivator in the US-Canadian magazine dispute. The Canadian government believes that one of the major ways of promoting and retaining the Canadian culture is through magazines. However, the possibility of using this means have been threatened by the fact that 89% of magazines sold in the country are from other countries mostly America. America and other countries can use the advantage of this percentage to foster their culture to Canadians consumers dominating the Canadian culture. The government therefore had to take an action to prevent outsiders from dominating their culture. The only way the government would protect cultural dominance was putting barriers on foreign magazines through protective tariffs and other taxes. This aim of such steps was to reduce the number of foreign magazines sold in the country and promote the production of domestic magazines useful in fostering the Canadian culture.

The government of Canada was not fully interested in the financial interests of the Canadian magazine industry with its attempts to protect the magazine market. The government focus was on promoting the uniqueness of the Canadian culture through domestic magazine production. Failing to protect the magazine market would put the country at a risk of being culturally dominated by foreign cultures. The government had to protect such a situation by protecting its market. However, the strategy played a significant role in promoting the financial interests off the Canadian magazine industry.

The fact that the Canadian magazines constitute only 11% sales of magazines in Canada raises concerns on the issue of Canadian culture. Having 89% of magazines sales from foreign countries means that Canadians are spending much of their time reading and appreciating foreign cultures. Canada has experienced the threat of culture domination from the 1920s prompting the government to impose protective tariffs as a barrier on foreign magazine sales. In 1965 the government also put measures against foreign magazines aimed at protecting the remaining share of the domestic magazines. This history shows that the domestic magazines have been under threat for years. This means that the Canadian culture has also been under threat of domination for many years making the issue of protecting the market very important to prevent the culture from foreign domination.

Question 12

Based on the magazine sales in Canada, it seems that the Canadians prefer magazines from America. Although purchasing habits suggest that the Canadians prefer associating with America, they cannot be granted voting rights. The purchasing habits do not qualify them as “voters”. There are set rules through which people are allowed to vote in different countries. These regulations are to be followed to the letter and not even favourable purchasing power can alter them. There are other countries that buy American magazines more than they do their domestic magazines or other products. If the Canadians are allowed to vote based on their purchasing habits then a crisis will be created with other countries demanding the same power.

It is fair and at the same time unfair to levy extra taxes against foreign magazines. First it is fair because even if the act has the effect of forcing purchasers of Canada of the foreign magazines to subsidize it will protect the Canadian magazine market. Allowing foreign magazines to dominate the magazine industry has adverse effects on Canada. First, domestic producers are put at a risk of being financially hurt with minimal magazine sales. Second, when the sales go are down, producers are likely to lay off some workers leading to higher rates of unemployment. Third, the country risks experiencing foreign cultural domination. If the Canadians continue to buy foreign magazines at the expense of the domestic ones, they country will have no means of fostering the unique culture and people will instead learn to appreciate the foreign culture and forget their own. In the long run, Canada will lose her identity.

On the other hand, levying extra taxes against the foreign magazines is unfair especially when it has effects of forcing Canadians to subsidize local publications. Every consumer has rights to the consumer what content they prefer. Forcing Canadians to consume local content in local publications that are affordable considering that the extra taxes make the foreign magazines very expensive and unaffordable for the majority of the consumers. The government would be going too far in interfering with peoples’ rights. People who prefer foreign content would be treated unfairly. The government can however, levy the extra taxes and include the domestic magazines the type of content those who buy foreign magazines seek. This way even if they buy the local magazines they will still access their preferred content. This however would be challenging because domestic magazines cannot cover foreign cultures fully in the magazines. Instead local culture and practices would dominate the magazines. The Canadian government should instead seek effective ways of promoting the sales of the local magazines instead of forcing Canadian consumers to subsidize local publications that in the first place they do not prefer consuming.