In 1946, after visiting Russia, Harold Innis remarked that the time had come to broaden the range of political economy by studying, first, the struggle for social supremacy between states, churches and commerce; and, second, the related competition between languages, religions, cultures and communications media. This, I argue, is what Innis accomplished. His early studies of Canadian economic history transcended conventional economics and laid the groundwork for a later political theory of communications. It expressly took up the 1946 challenge to address competing monopolies of knowledge and power, hence manipulating the space and time-binding properties of communications media. Innis' work reflected a materialist model of communications, a social ecology, a soft determinism or philosophic naturalism and it linked knowledge, freedom and power. Finally, I conclude, these insights permitted Innis to transcend bias and to search for a balanced culture.