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World Heritage, Art and Economics: The World Heritage Convention in the light of Economic Theory

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A paper prepared for the Clark Art Institute Conference on "Compression versus Expression : Containing and Explaining the World’s Art"
Williamstown, April 6 - 8, 2000.
by
Georges S. Zouain – April 2000


This paper is an attempt to show how heritage, art and economics have been and remain very closely related throughout their history and how together, through this relationship, they have led to the making of the "International Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage",. It also tries to illustrate how
heritage and particularly World Heritage, is looping the loop by returning to its origins - economics and economic rationality.
For the sake of simplicity, I shall concentrate on the cultural immovable heritage, even if most of what follows applies equally to movable objects and to natural sites.