Creative Economy Report 2008

A recent report on creative economy shows that the creative industries are one of the most dynamic emerging sectors in world trade. Over the period of 2000-2005, trade in creative goods and service increased by an annual rate of 8,7 percent. World exports of creative products were valued at 424,4 billion dollars in 2005, compared to 227,5 billion in 1996. Impressive figures that show creative products as an important factor in world economy. And hopes are high for what this might lead to: ”The creative economy has the potential to generate income and jobs while promoting social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development”. Creative industries are put forward as important not only of the European economy, but also as a solution for developing countries and reaching the Millennium goals on fighting poverty. Creative economy will both generate jobs and income, and solve the social difficulties the world is facing. These are very high expectations and do raise some reflections.

Globalization and the rapid growth of ICTs have, the report points out, opened a whole new range of possibilities for the commercial development of creative products. But this requires access to Internet. Manuel Castells, the American sociologist, wrote about this already in 1996-97 in his trilogy of the Information Age (revised 2000). In the three-volume book he wrote about the rise of the new economy and how new technology and access to information is integrated in this development. This is, though, very much a western society phenomena, he said, where the developing world was left behind. Africa, to take one example, was, as he said, almost completely cut off the Internet by the simple fact that access to computers and electricity was basically non-existent outside the capital cities. On a visit by Nätverkstan at the office of the Eastern Africa Theatre Institute in Kampala, Uganda, in 2005, one of the main problems put forward by the Director was lack of electricity and proper computers in towns outside the capital. The possibilities to use the full potential of Internet and digital communication was therefore uncommon, and for many artists non-existent. In Tanzania in 2006, the issue was the same. At Bagamoyo College of Art, access to Internet existed, but was unreliable.

Reading the report also raises the question of: Who are the producers of Art and who runs the Creative Industries? One thing artists have in common, something put forward by artists we meet and have met in for example Sweden, Turkey, Africa and USA, is they don’t get paid for the work they do. Reasons differ depending on society, but they all have difficulties surviving on their artistic work. So whom are we talking about? Who is leading the creative economy? Where are initiatives taken by decision-makers most probable to have an impact and serve as a catalyst for the changes expected in the report?

The creative industries are an important part of the economy today and the report put forward interesting results supporting this. The creative economy may very well be an opportunity, that well handled can create new possibilities in society. But it can never be the only solution to world problems. To succeed, expectations need to be realistic and the initiatives taken need to be relevant and take into account the specific local context in which they exist.

The Creative Economy Report 2008 is a cooperation between several United Nations organizations and among them United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Dowload the Summary ditc20082ceroverviewen.pdf, or the full report ditc20082cer_en.pdf.

2 Responses to “Creative Economy Report 2008”

  1. now I’ll be tuned..

  2. I should notify u about it.

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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