The process of economic transformation that we have experienced from the eighties until the twenty-first century, as a result of the introduction of free market principles, has produced profound changes in economic, political, social, technological, legal and cultural structures. From the cultural point of view, our countries have had to face a series of challenges that have forced them to rethink the processes of reorganisation of their cultural scenarios.

This new context, characterised by the globalisation of the economy, communications and culture, is oriented towards the creation of the information and knowledge society in which cultural industries play a fundamental role. As Martin Hopenhayn indicates, this is forcing this sector to become “the strategic sector of competitiveness, employment, the construction of consensus, the way of doing politics and the circulation of information and knowledge”.

Already in this decade we are moving towards the identification of a vibrant sector that plays a leading role in the culture / entrepreneurship / innovation / creation affiliation, of which the Ibero-American countries are actively participating, and in some African countries, which have specialised units and a policy of internationalisation of its offer of cultural goods and services, in all sectors, from those of the “traditional” cultural industries (book, cinema, visual arts, and audiovisual) to the fields of performing and musical arts, digital arts and that long etcetera that covers the creativity of the sector.

The irruption of the Market form in the processes of circulation of goods and services associated with theatre, music and dance, with interesting examples, and in the case of Tenerife, indicate an advanced mentality in exchange and management proposals of advances models for a sector in need of innovation when it comes to distribution, with what is perceived as a fertile ground for the
presence of an international market that generates new spaces for south/south integration, and, from this territorial field, generate platforms for the world.

However, in a broader context, the market in general, and this sector in particular, has been characterised by the fact that, during its development process, the rich countries depended heavily on the protection of trade and subsidies, which generally did not observe the patent laws or the so-called intellectual property rights and only defended free trade when it brought them economic advantages. From this point of view, these countries are now pushing the developing world to adopt the policies they avoided.

Likewise, the policies of the rich countries not only included protectionism and State intervention, but also a policy of deliberate colonisation and deindustrialization of the Third World, which, added to the globalisation factor, generated a pronounced inequality.

All this resulted in the monopoly in the creation and circulation of cultural content, and the subsequent defence of these in international treaties, with opprobrious advantages, in all the stages of international trade (WTO, GATT, etc).

This is why we think that, as far as trade policy linked to cultural industries goes, history and “he theory of competitive advantages” indicate that the most appropriate procedure would be to consider the liberalisation of trade selectively, as individual industries become sufficiently competitive in the world market.

This approach, linked to the emerging cultural markets of which we are part of, is valid for a sector in which the contents linked to creativity and innovation are very strong and demanded by the world market, and which are present in our countries with high levels of diversity, even considering the asymmetries that characterise our Ibero-American cultural space, and the ones in Africa,
which we feel close to.

MAPAS, apart from strengthening the sector within the framework of the public cultural policy of Tenerife, both from the budgetary point of view and from the perspective of the consolidation of markets that export local offer, is part of the reality of global markets and will generate spaces for reflection in these contexts.

Welcome to this II edition of MAPAS, Tenerife's cultural market for the whole world.

Octavio Arbeláez Tobón

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