Protectionism Deserves an XXX Rating

by Don Boudreaux on January 24, 2006

in Film, Trade

The government of Bangladesh prohibits any films made outside of Bangladesh from being shown in theaters in that country.

Can you guess the consequences of such protectionism for what’s called Dhallywood?  According to a report on NPR’s program The World, these consequences do not include lots of creative energy springing forth in Bangladesh to produce outstanding films. The consequences instead include bad, formulaic, banal movies, each one very much like the others. The movies are so bad that theater owners have taken to inserting scenes of hardcore pornography into their screenings in order to attract audiences.

(To hear this report, click here, and then scroll down to — and then click on — "Dhallywood movie report.")

Tyler Cowen’s In Praise of Commercial Culture explains why a protected movie industry is doomed to produce films that no one wants to see.

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Swimmy January 24, 2006 at 11:40 pm

"The practice was so standard in one Bangladeshi theater that, when a movie was shown there without the sex scenes, the audience rioted and burned the theater down."

Let's hear it for preserving culture.

Gabriel Mihalache January 25, 2006 at 1:16 am

This might be a clever ploy by eroticavolutionaries to get their message of hardcore Asian action across to the public. ;-) Maybe somebody did read Tyler Cowen's book and decided to put it to good use.

Hasan January 25, 2006 at 3:14 pm

"The government of Bangladesh prohibits any films made outside of Bangladesh from being shown in theaters in that country" this isn’t true man. Visit “Cineplex Bangladesh” at
They have shown and are showing films made outside of BD. There are other theaters doing the same.

No doubt that most BD films sucks to the max. But there are some highly praised movies like Matir Moyna, Chaka. Matir Moyna won award at Cannes.

Don Boudreaux January 25, 2006 at 3:26 pm

To Hasan:

Well, if this information is correct, the NPR reporter got it wrong. I based my claim on his report.

Of course, NPR can be mistaken.


Gaurav January 26, 2006 at 8:59 am

Pakistan allows Hollywood movies, but has banned Indian movies, also more out of protectonism. No prizes for guessing the state of the Pakistani industry. April 28, 2006 at 3:08 am

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