Highly Cultural Mexico
Culture is valued differently according to each country, and its people’s beliefs, although it is not always clear how one could measure this. According to Ernesto Piedras, in his book “¿What is the value of Culture? Economic Contribution of Copyright Protected Industries” the value of culture considers activities which are developed upon artistic and literary original creations, which are subject to copyright. Ernesto Piedras implies that cultural industries are by themselves, a sector of economic activity that shares similar characteristics to other economic activity sectors.
Although Mexico is known for its cultural heritage around the world, culture is sometimes not given the importance that it really has based on its contribution to the economy. This shows how culture is esteemed in the country. Cultural industries in Mexico, which will be shortly explained, have an above the average value when compared to the rest of the world. This sector is of great economic importance given its contribution to GDP, high productivity and, ultimately, to the extent that provides the country with competitive advantages in commercial interaction with the rest of the world.
To perform this study, Piedras followed the guidelines of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which classifies the companies into five main categories, namely:
a) Base Industry: press and literature, music, film and video, radio and television, photography, visual and graphic arts, advertising and collective societies
b) Independent Industry: TV sets, radios, VCRs, CD players, DVD players, video games and similar devices, computers and equipment, musical instruments, photographic and cinematographic instruments, photocopiers and paper
c) Partly related industries: textiles clothing and shoes, jewelry, other types of art, furniture designs collection for music in nightclubs and discos, design of household goods, china and glassware collection for music in bars and restaurants, architecture, engineering and interior design museums
d) Not engaged Industries: wholesale and retail, general transport, libraries, and internet
e) Illegal and informal economy Industries: production and sale of works of art without registration, production and marketing of illegal discs, videos and books, printing and marketing illegal posters, pictures and photographs and public communication unregistered music.
It is important to note that WIPO takes into account both the legal and illegal economic spillover, which allows to realistically approach the actual value of culture in a country.
Mexico, in a comparison with 12 countries, holds the third place on the list on the value of cultural industries in relation to the total GDP of the country, just below the United Kingdom and United States, both with 8 per cent contribution to GDP. Mexico´s cultural industries contribute 6.5 per cent of GDP, while the average in Latin America, including Brazil, is just over 3 per cent. Spain’s contribution of culture to the GDP is about 4 per cent, below Mexico.
In some cases, like in Mexico, culture had more weight in the country’s GDP than the construction sector, with 5 per cent or telecommunications, with 4.2 per cent.
So we must ask ourselves, what are we telling ourselves about the cultural impact and level of the country? What do figures tell us about the actual level of Mexico’s culture? We must learn to see Mexico as the country it really is, allowing us to acknowledge it and its people in a powerful way.