The creative economy has become a source of development and growth. Mexico is the top creative economy in Latin America, sixth among developing countries and 18th worldwide. The country is fertile ground for new business opportunities in this field.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) states that creative industries are an increasingly relevant component of knowledge-based, post-industrial economies. These industries contribute to economic growth and job creation and are vehicles for the transfer of cultural identity.
The concept of creative economy was introduced in 2001 by John Howkins –a journalist and consultant for over 30 countries around the world including Australia, Canada, China, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Singapore, United Kingdom and the US.
The creative economy operates differently than the traditional industrial economy which shows a rigid and hierarchical behaviour that is clearly divided into the stages of origination, production, distribution and consumption. In contrast, there is more flexibility in a creative economy, particularly in the phases of origination, distribution and consumption.
Howkins considers 15 industries in the concept of creative economy, ranging from arts to the wide fields of science and technology.
These industries, technologies and/or sciences include art (painting, for example); crafts; design; fashion; film; music; performing arts (theater, opera, dance and ballet); editing and publishing (books and magazines); research and development; computer programs; toys and games, excluding video games; television and radio; video games; architecture and advertising.
The common denominator between all these industries is creativity, which is both their raw material and their most valuable economic product. In other words, for a product or service to be considered a by-product of the creative economy, it has to be the result of creativity as well as have economic value.
However, Howkins acknowledges the difficulties of quantifying the economic value of creativity, which is why there are only a few estimates. Thus, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), that has published a report on creative economies since 2008, global exports of creative goods and services doubled between 2002 and 2008, reaching 592 billion usd in 2008 with an annual growth rate of approximately 14%.
Creative economy is positive for developing countries –which always struggle to access international markets in the traditional branches of economy. For instance, in 2008, developing countries exported goods and services for around 176 billion usd, 43% of total trade in the world’s creative industries that year. That contrasts against the severe contraction of global trade in the same year, which was 12%. The creative economy can be an option for growth, even a means to reduce poverty in developing countries amid the prevailing international economic crisis.
By Maria Cristina Rosas*