Propaganda Victories and Cultural Defeats

A post I wrote a few months ago on Gates of Vienna:
If an author of an unprofitable work deems it too important for the world to miss out on, he or she still can give it away in digital form on the internet, and so it is not like his or her work would not have a chance to be discovered even if so-called independent book stores were to disappear. The author of said unprofitable book may not make much a profit out of their book by putting it online, but at least it will be available to mankind. A really slow moving book will never make much money anyway, so why care?

... Now, that worst case scenario is unlikely to happen and Robert's reasoning is deeply flawed: small book stores that sell "difficult" books offer different kinds of books than supermarket chains do, so supermarkets and small book stores cannot be said to be in direct competition against each other.

If there is a market for difficult books now, there will be a market for them tomorrow too. And if people ever stop buying them, that will be because they are not interested in buying them any more, in which case those books will not be published or sold any more, regardless of whether the state continues to subsidize or regulate the book market or not.

The kind of reasoning Robert Marchenoir follows is used in all sectors of the French economy to make a case for protectionism.

Meanwhile, the failure of French protectionism is obvious across the board, and the intervention of the French state in the publishing sector has not prevented the decline of French literature and it has certainly even precipitated it.

My post was ignored and an American poster went so far as to apologize for being such a cowboy! To which I answered:

The English-speaker once again ends up groveling before the French propagandist. Not that French propaganda victories make much difference in the real world, though, except maybe for making matters worse for them.
It is a fact that Anglosphere-style competition, far from leading to less creativity in culture or to the disappearance of scientific writing or difficult books, has actually fostered these. Protectionism, on the other hand, is killing French culture in general, and it holds true for the print media too. (Wonder why the French blog so much? It is a way they have of escaping their pensee unique-ridden domestic media. Thank you America for free speech and the internet!)


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