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Copyright (c) Yale Law Journal Company 1994.
Yale Law Journal

Essay: The Market for Loyalties: Electronic Media and the Global Competition for Allegiances.

December, 1994

Yale Law Journal

104 Yale L.J. 667


Monroe E. Price *


This Essay is about a market -- I call it the "market for loyalties" -- in which large-scale competitors for power, in a shuffle for allegiances, often use the regulation of communications to organize a cartel of imagery and identity among themselves. Government is usually the mechanism that allows the cartel to operate and is often part of the cartel itself. This market produces "national identity," to use the European term, or "community," to use the less discriminating Americanism. 1 Management of the market yields the collection of myths, ideas, and narratives employed by a dominant group or coalition to maintain power. For that reason alone, control over participation in the market has been, for many countries, a condition of political stability.

The market for loyalties has existed everywhere and at all times. What differs about today's market is the range of participants, the scope of its boundaries, and the nature of the regulatory bodies capable of establishing and enforcing rules for participation and exclusion. This market metaphor may help to explain the legal and political responses to the dramatic transformations now underway in media industries as telecommunications become more global, eluding the reach of national legislation. As new forms of communication -- satellites, electronic highways, relentlessly global telephony -- transcend existing political boundaries, they call into question historic political ties and threaten to destabilize existing national and multilateral regimes. 2

In Part I of this Essay, I describe the workings of a market for loyalties, ...
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