What is the meaning of national cultural policy?

As President Seydoux noted, culture is above all a vector of individual emancipation, an openness of mind, an opportunity to enrich his critical mind, an awakening to aesthetic and artistic sensitivity, it is therefore an individual, intimate emotion.

But culture is also an encounter, an exchange, a sharing with others, others, in the forefront of which the artist himself, the creator or the group of creators - because we too often have an individualistic vision of the creative act. This encounter between the artist and his audience, between the public and the artist, is also an inscription in the City. I am not inventing anything: art is an eminently political process and thus it becomes culture in the precise sense of socialized exchange.

It is a socialized exchange that is part of an economic field in which we must assert not our rights but our space and the vitality of the entire cultural economic fabric, cultural actors in all the territories of our country and in the European territories.

It is too often viewed in a negative way: at a time when cultural activities are dysfunctional and suspended. I am thinking of the crisis of the intermittent show, almost 10 years ago, which suspended the activity of the Avignon festival: it was at this time that some people really realized the importance of the economy of culture for our country and its territories.

It is important for me to be able today, in a context of economic and political crisis but also, without doubt, of moral crisis, to affirm and give meaning to culture. 

This is essential at a time when difficulties could lead us to withdraw into ourselves, in a withdrawal of identity of course but also economic, on more traditional industrial activities. This is essential at a time when the sense of public and collective interest is fading as economic uncertainty grows.

Culture is often seen as a French passion, a supplement of soul, a luxury that we can afford when everything is going well and that we use as an adjustment variable in times of crisis. But this passion is a leaven of citizenship: culture gives full meaning to the notion of public space, it allows to draw a future.

We have to find ways to evaluate the gain, the positive externalities, to use an economist’s language, that culture and cultural sectors produce in the broad sense.

Culture is a means of combating the centrifugal forces of the crisis, forces that would encourage protectionist and nationalist withdrawal, the two often go hand in hand.

Culture being by definition, sharing, exchange, dialogue, it cannot be envisaged without a broad openness, a circulation of works and people, and it thus counterbalances the retreat in times of crisis. There can be no culture without trade and exchange. Likewise, there can be trade between nations without culture. I tend to say that there will be no productive recovery without creative recovery for our country.

To achieve this, an indispensable step is to recast the relationship between economy and culture, to build a doctrine, without angelism or dogma, taking into account realities in a way that is credible and accepted, priorities and choices.

I want to present this project to you by illustrating my remarks with concrete examples; and for this, I must first tell you how I conceive, politically, the relations between economy and culture.

Economy and culture both have the same dynamic: that of exchange. Indeed, exchange, which presupposes the recognition of otherness and therefore of difference, is at the foundation of our modern societies, and for exactly the same reasons, it is at the foundation of the culture by which we apprehend what is other.

Having said that, I think we need to fundamentally renew the description of the economic reality of culture.

We do not yet have all the tools to measure culture and their development is precisely the work that must be done by the Ministry of Culture and Communication for the coming months and years. 

First, much data and statistics are lacking; they are too heterogeneous and often have no historical depth. For example, we know with certainty how much the state spends on culture: every year, it spends about 11 billion euros. $7.4 billion from my department and $3.6 billion from other departments. The Ministry of Higher Education, for example, has museums; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has an archives service; the Ministry of Defence maintains historical monuments and so on. So the state spends 11 billion.

But how much do communities spend on culture? Is it more? Less? It is customary to say that communities assume 2/3 of the cultural expenses in France. But this does not include, for example, the cost of lending national collections, the cost of training professionals, officials of the Ministry of Culture, or schools that train all professionals throughout the territory.

The last survey on the subject was conducted in 2007. We therefore need to have a much finer expertise because these figures will be indispensable to us in the evaluation but also in the valuation of a certain number of public policies. How much do businesses spend? Households? There are data; yes. But they are scattered and discontinuous. So you can’t compare anything and ultimately describe anything accurately to make effective policies. At my request, with the support of the Minister of the Economy, IGAC and IGF will begin a mission of methodology and prefiguration of these new tools of economic evaluation of the weight of the cultural sectors in France.

In the same vein, I would like to highlight the mechanisms by which culture contributes to our country’s economy, to employment - this is the most visible part - but also to investment, foreign trade and attractiveness. The fact that culture contributes to the attractiveness of our territories seems obvious to us here in Avignon, and it would be interesting to have economic evaluations of this impact, which, we suspect intuitively, is absolutely decisive. 

At a time when we talk a lot about competitiveness for our country and for our regions, it would be interesting to see how culture in France contributes strongly to competitiveness. I speak to a convinced public, because when a company is looking for reasons to locate in a given region or territory, it takes into account the entire cultural landscape. 

The cultural market sectors represent 160,000 businesses and employ 2.3% of the workforce. Their activities produce 29 billion euros of added value each year, that is 3 percentage points of GDP. To give an order of magnitude that is a comparison without being a value judgment, it is more than agriculture. I did not choose this example by accident. The contribution of culture to economic growth is generally and unfairly undervalued. Stereotypes have a hard time: culture is still perceived as a non-market sector of subsidies, reserved for a few whimsical creators and an informed public. Too often this is seen as the complete opposite of “serious” activity. The problem we have when we put public policy in place is that in times of crisis, the tendency is to focus on “serious” activities and move away from the realm of entertainers and enlightened amateurs. It is then considered that culture is the problem of the State and some generous patrons.

As you can see, for me, the reality is quite different. I am tired of hearing these speeches that see culture as a dancer, an expense, a superfetish.

With the cultural sectors, I feel that we are at the heart of the hard economy. In a brilliant book, Frédéric Martel evokes culture as soft power: it is an interesting approach and in the first analysis we can only share this definition. Culture contributes significantly to a country’s power, its influence and, indirectly, its economic and geopolitical power. Soft power, but also hard power since we are really in the hard with these economic activities that contribute very clearly to the economic activity of our country and our territories.

This is very noticeable, and all local elected officials know it, when it comes to the territories. When it comes to local communities, regardless of their scale, local elected officials invest in culture not to leave a trace, a footprint, in a regal approach of the generous prince who has always done patronage with culture. They do so because they know that it is good for their territory, that it creates jobs, dynamism, and that it allows them to attract residents, activities, businesses and workers.

What is valid on a local, regional scale is valid on a national scale.

Why would elected officials who know locally that culture is important not make the same choices at the national level?

Finally, it is essential to change the usual discourse of economic spinoffs, such as the famous “leverage effect of public spending on direct, indirect and induced activity”. It is both too simplistic and not specific to cultural activities. For example, have all the consequences been noticed and drawn from the fact that culture is one of the very few economic activities that simultaneously act on all the levers of GDP growth: demand, investment, public expenditure, balance exports imports.... At a time when our trade deficit is flirting with 70 billion euros, the cultural sectors are net exporters, making a decisive contribution to our country’s economy. 

I’ll use an example, architecture. Architecture is a profitable activity: it represents 14% of cultural GDP with a turnover of 7.320 billion euros and 4.135 billion euros of added value. The architect is both an artist and an engineer. Without the artist, no global reflection on the living environment; but without the engineer, no rigorous mastery of the work. Without the artist, no architectural gesture that gives its value to real estate investment, but without the engineer, no export of French know-how from these sectors. France is one of the best architects in the world and our students win international awards. I am thinking in particular of the Rhône-Alpes team, the architecture schools in Lyon and Grenoble, which won the Solar Decathlon International Competition in Madrid in October thanks to an ecological housing project that brings ambition and innovation.

The second major issue is the place of public and private actors. For me, it is a question of re-legitimising public action in culture. A better description of the economy of culture makes it possible to fuel an important pedagogical work with the opinion, the political decision-makers, the economic and financial actors.

Let’s take the example of a real French industrial success story: cinema.

The principles that organize the regulation of this sector are extremely interesting from an economic and cultural point of view.

The first of these principles is that of forced savings: when a producer earns money with a film, rather than hoarding his profits, the CNC allows him to save his earnings in the support account and requires him to reuse this savings for a new film project. The second principle is that of the paying profiteer, or rather the virtuous circle in which the broadcaster contributes to the financing of the creation it will broadcast: when television appeared, and this is still true today of the Internet, it seemed relevant that broadcasters contribute to the production of films. But without public power, this virtuous system would never have been able to flourish and maintain itself for more than 60 years. It is also thanks to public authorities that it will be able to adapt to the digital age. To explain these principles is to show how an original collaboration between the State and all professionals can be fruitful for the diversity of the cultural offer while relying on an economic logic profitable for private actors.

To describe and explain is already a first work on which we must advance together.

This pedagogical work will have to be carried out in France, internationally, but also and especially in Europe. The principles of diversity and cultural exception in the service of diversity are, despite their official recognition in Europe, in Unesco or in the WTO, The European Union has a strong interest in the development of the European Union and its Member States. We need to rebuild coalitions of countries that share a common desire to take into account the singularities of culture and associated public policies.

It will be a long and difficult work, but I am convinced that the preservation and development of our national tools of cultural exception is at stake, as well as the possible political rebound of a European project that is currently bogged down. A too narrow, too schematic vision of the principles of the European Union sometimes leads the committee, in the name of free competition, to want to censor a certain number of mechanisms that have proved their worth in France. We are proud of it, we claim it. 

However, this cultural exception was never conceived as a French cultural exception: it is a cultural exception for culture, for creation. These are virtuous mechanisms of economic regulation of the creative sector that are applicable and, for some, are taken up in other European or international countries.

The cultural exception is absolutely essential and we must defend it in the era of globalization and also in the era of digital technology. We must adapt it, it is more necessary than ever and indispensable to restore to Europe a hope, a future, a common project around cultural development.

What is valid in terms of political project is also valid in terms of economic development: if the European project has become bogged down, the economy of our European countries, especially the eurozone, is far from flourishing.

Through the comparative advantages of France and of Europe as a whole, we must rely on the cultural sectors as essential levers and comparative advantages of our countries. Sectors of excellence where, thanks to our heritage and the vitality of creation, which are the two sides of the same cultural medal, we can found dynamic, innovative and therefore job-creating cultural economy policies, which allows us to have our full place in globalization.

The very strong pressure to question the principles of the cultural exception is a fact. Similarly, the public resources available today are subject to a very strong budgetary constraint, from which culture cannot escape. That is also a fact.

Now the only valid question to ask is: Do we suffer these economic pressures by making a big back and hoping that the storm passes? Is it expected, for example, that together our networks of independent booksellers close one after the other under the pressure of the arrival of actors who, in turn, seek to escape the mechanisms of financing creation, in this case the book chain, patiently set up in the past decades?

Or, do we reject this resigned, despairing attitude in order to assert the possibility of a national and European cultural policy that is both effective, relevant and likely to be shared by our neighbours?

Choosing this second path is my ambition, our ambition, and I believe that it corresponds to a very strong expectation of all our fellow citizens, French and European.

Culture, of course, is economic development, but, and this is where the circle itself is virtuous, it is also a mode of development that is based on values other than the mere pursuit of profit. And like Joseph Stiglitz, who studied the contribution of economic sectors to the increase of gross happiness, we can say with certainty and certainty, although immodest, that culture certainly contributes to the increase in the crude happiness rate in our countries.

I affirm that cultural ambition must be a European ambition that is the only one capable of ensuring a real counterbalance to the logic of a globalised market, those of the world’s major companies which, because they use technologies that allow them to more seamlessly escape regulations, pose a threat to the entire cultural sector and the public interest.

Among the priorities I have identified, the first is to rethink the tools of national cultural policy.

One of the foundations of cultural policy in France over the past decades was the construction of facilities, at the heart of a strategy to develop the cultural offer.

With real arguments and positive effects, because culture is a competitive factor. To take up one of the findings of the Louis Gallois report, the quality of life in France is a major asset for the location of companies. The dynamism and diversity of the French artistic and cultural scene are thus decisive for the attractiveness of our country. I was also delighted to see that the first sector cited by Louis Gallois as a country of excellence, strengths and strengths was cultural industries. 

It is the breadth and quality of the cultural offer that puts France at the forefront of tourist destinations since 80% of foreign visitors come to discover it, generating 15 billion euros in annual turnover, which places tourism at 7% of GDP.

France has nearly 50,000 historical monuments and more than 13,000 local cultural facilities: 4,500 libraries, 2,000 cinemas, half of which are art institutions, hundreds of galleries and art centres, and nearly 500 venues. There is a very clear effort in favour of museums: France has built more than 1200 museums; one is opened every week. They produce twice as many films and publish twice as many books as they did twenty years ago. We have never organized so many shows, concerts, exhibitions. All this is the mark of a vitality and that’s good!  We have also seen this here in Avignon, because despite the crisis, attendance at the festival and all festivals has never been so dynamic. 

But this logic of supply has been pushed to the absurd and inflationary. In recent years, opportunities for intervention have been stretched across the cultural network and at the service of all citizens to the benefit of a number of large projects that were only partially funded. In times of crisis, the increase in supply and the succession of major projects cannot take the place of cultural policy.

Rather than commit the sustainability of the State’s credits to this accumulation, I have chosen to preserve the means to make live the great wealth of our facilities, which constitute a very dense network and our structures in all territories, to preserve and encourage the vitality of economic activities related to culture.

The real question, the first issue, is access for all to culture, heritage, creation and works of the spirit. This is the ambition of arts and cultural education. Here too we must work on innovations: textbooks on interactive digital media, serious games.

For example, the Louvre Museum has developed in partnership with a large gaming company a very clever system of audio-guides, interactive and alive, which allow the geolocation of the visitor. This is not a luxury at the Louvre where we risk getting lost, especially in the works!  The Georges Pompidou Centre has also just developed a virtual museum, innovative by the technique used and especially by the very design of the museum. This is the first example in the world of a virtual museum that is not just a digital copy of the physical visit but the creation, thanks to the semantic web, of a new innovative public museum space for users.

In the same vein, we also have to work on sectoral policies that integrate all the segments and actors that contribute to the development of a sector. Enabling equal access to culture also means ensuring its transmission and supporting training in the cultural professions.

Our cultural and artistic education is rich and varied. Higher education in culture under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture plays a decisive role. In this area too, we have to fight against clichés that have a hard time. Today, a student who depends on the Ministry of Culture has an annual budget that is less than half that of a student from another stream on the pretext that these artistic streams do not lead to jobs. Every year, 5,500 students graduate from an arts and cultural college, 80% of them get a job directly related to their field of training and 75% of young graduates are hired in the first year after graduation.

This is a great success that shows the relevance of the choice of these channels, the relevance of these trainings, and especially the relevance of a sustainable investment in these channels. However, despite the quality of our higher arts and cultural education, I can only make this sad observation: while our territory is irrigated with schools dedicated to artistic training and creation, the young artists we train desert us. How many young video game programmers have left France to pursue careers in the United States or Canada? To stem this flight of our creative talents, we must make ourselves more attractive to our young creators and support them in their creative enterprise. To prevent the flight of our programmers, we could start by granting the status of innovative young company to video game developers.

On all of these topics, we are going to have several meetings in the coming year that will be opportunities to renew our practices and our collaboration. Indeed, I have undertaken work that should lead, on the one hand, to the renovation of our heritage law and, on the other hand, to a creative bill on which we will work together with the professionals.

These two laws will also be the means of having a debate before the national representation. This debate is essential to enhancing the contribution of culture to our economy. Not all legislative measures have a direct impact on the economy, but simply having a debate is an indispensable and valuable political vehicle.

The second challenge we face together is the digital transition of cultural content industries. It’s a big one.

So far things have been pretty simple. The financing of the content was ensured by a levy on the sale of the physical medium ensuring its distribution: all over the world, authors, creators, performers knew how to set up, in the last century, the mechanisms to carry out these levies and distribute the fees. In music, the cinema, the book, the protection of the work, the copyright, were thus guaranteed: the downstream paid for the right to broadcast the upstream.

However, in a paperless economy, it is not clear on what to apply this levy since it is in practice increasingly difficult to trace digital exchanges. One day or another, new economic models will emerge, ensuring the profitability of the various players in each sector. But until then, we will have to allow the transition to take place in the best conditions. 

In the press, for example, we can see the danger and the urgency of acting: paper is inexorably decreasing because readers are less and less faithful and advertising is becoming scarce. This sector, which generated 1% of national GDP 30 years ago, has just passed the 0.5 percentage points of GDP last year. With a turnover of €9 billion, the press remains, even if it is too often ignored, the leading cultural industry in France. Paper is therefore decreasing, but it is not yet supplanted by online services whose business model is not yet profitable.

So what do we do? We cannot wait: upstream technical industries and downstream broadcasters suffer at least as much as publishers from this very deep and lasting crisis. Yet our democracy needs the pluralism of the press and that is why I proposed that the State support and accompany the rescue and recovery of Presstalis. The transition requires us to be concerned about the sector as a whole.

Managing the transition will involve trial and error, not all of which will be successful. It will be necessary to actively seek new modes of financing, even if it means making mistakes, as a scientist tries several protocols before filing a patent. This is what has been tried, for example, in the field of the press with an experiment to promote the reading of the press among young people, «my newspaper offered». The results of this experiment have been drawn: it has mainly generated a deadweight effect. More targeted measures for young readers are therefore needed. 

In this perspective of support for the press, we are working - the President of the Republic is very committed on this file - on the possibility of creating a neighbouring right for press publishers to remunerate the referencing of productions and their added value on internet networks. It is a project that is beginning and for which a mediator has been appointed, Marc Schwartz, who will work until the end of 2012. If no agreement is reached, the President promised that a law would be passed to effectively allow this creation of value, which is the fruit of the work of press publishers and journalists, is not fully captured by some content aggregator sites and other players in the digital economy. 

In the same way, a month and a half ago, we opened a very large renovation project to finance audiovisual, music and cinema: the mission led by Pierre Lescure will deliver opinions and recommendations in the first half of 2013.

In order to optimise all the possibilities offered by digital technology, we are embarking, as part of the investments of the future, on a new plan to digitize unavailable works in a public-private partnership approach. Because digital space makes it possible to completely rethink the relationship that the public has with works. The agreement on the digitization of cinematographic works concluded with Gaumont will make it possible to preserve and enhance French cinematographic heritage on all broadcasting networks. We need to multiply the number of agreements with the various catalogue holders because all these projects will constitute the basis of a diversified legal digital offer that has not yet succeeded in emerging. The development of the legal offer is the key to the fight against downloading and illegally accessing works. The richer, more diverse and easier to access catalogues, the more people will spontaneously go to these catalogues, as any loving audience and lover of its creators would.

It is always according to this logic that we must ensure the financing of our cultural enterprises, which are characterized, in almost all fields, by their very great disparity, in terms of size, capital, legal forms. Ninety-five per cent of the cultural industry consists of small or very small enterprises alongside a limited number of SMEs. Large groups are even rarer. The assets of these companies, often intangible, often prototypes, are difficult to qualify for entirely private financing. We have to imagine financing methods adapted to this reality, for example, through state-guaranteed loans (IFCIC, OSEO and BPI’s credit activity), venture capital endowment funds to support the development of innovative SMEs.

We started working with Jean-Pierre Jouyet and his BPI teams. I am hopeful that a number of quick proposals can be made. Jean-Pierre Jouyet is convinced of the relevance and importance of investing in the cultural and cultural industries sectors. Here again, the digitization of unavailable works carried out by BnF will benefit from future investments. Cultural industries will have their place in the BPI priorities.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to address all of you to affirm my commitment to patronage. The recent budget debates were an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to this system, which enhances partnerships with businesses and individuals. 

More than thirty years after the creation of the Association for Industrial Philanthropy, nearly ten years after the adoption of the law of August 1, 2003, philanthropy is more than ever, in this period of budgetary constraint, essential to the cultural development of our country.

In particular, I would like to commend local patronage, an initiative that is too undervalued, and which helps support artistic and heritage projects throughout the territory. I am firmly convinced that there are no large or small projects, only beautiful and bold initiatives that deserve, all of them, to see the light of day and find their most suitable partners.

More than an act of money, patronage is an act of commitment, a real act of citizenship. This is why the Ministry of Culture is working on the development of an ethical charter of patronage, in order to consolidate patronage and its economic spinoffs and to twist a number of caricatures or arguments that are opposed to us when we talk about the relevance of these tax systems.

As you can see, all these initiatives are reasons for hope.

There are reasons for hope, not just for culture but for the whole country, for Europe. Culture has an eminent role to play because it holds the promise of the future, for our economy, for our society, for the hope of youth.

Yes, we must cultivate reasons to hope not as we wave a beautiful idea but by acting, by experimenting, by thinking together, by sharing our creative energies and our experiences.

Because culture is not a commodity like any other, because you can’t distinguish a marketable and profitable culture from a public sector that is necessarily not profitable. This is a totally erroneous vision. The role of the state in the economy of culture must be legitimized again. Local authorities play an indispensable role, but cultural policy must also be conducted by the State. Because it is a guarantee of equality between territories, but also because we need to bring these strong concepts to the scale of the European Union.

Public intervention must not replace that of private actors - nor should private patronage come to compensate for a failing state. However, it is the only way to ensure the diversity, dynamism and renewal of creation as well as its dissemination to the wider public, which is the real democratic issue.

Thank you for your attention. I wanted to make a speech that is a little different from the ones we have traditionally made on cultural policy. This does not mean in any way that I have a utilitarian vision of culture: it is a great chance that we can work in our sectors, we who are above all people of passion, commitment, sensitivity. For what moves us in culture is, first and foremost, this sensitivity. But too often we are faced with a misunderstanding or perhaps a form of schizophrenia on the part of some who may otherwise, personally or intimately, appreciate cultural works but who, When it comes to deciding or evaluating what is important in the economy, forget this important part of their personality. 

I think it was useful and necessary to have this clarification in order to be able to outline for you the action I intend to take to enhance the contribution of culture to the economic sector.