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Culture, Creativity and Innovation in the Internet Age

Freeman, Alan (2008): Culture, Creativity and Innovation in the Internet Age.

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Abstract

bstract This unpublished paper was submitted to the May 22-23 conference on IPR at Birkbeck College, London. It analyses the distinct economic roles of culture, creation, and innovation in the Creative Industries by assessing the fitness for purpose of their statistical definitions. On this basis it proposes a method for studying the relation between creative labour and innovation.

Lax usage has made the term ‘Creative Industries’ a synonym for three distinct things: creativity, culture and intellectual alienability. I use the term Cultural and Creative Sector (CCS).

My aim is to distinguish Creative Labour, of which the sector is a specialist user, from Cultural Outputs, which the sector produces. These are found combined in the CCS in an advanced form, but they also exist separately outside it. In order to understand their wider economic impact – in particular, their relation to innovation and Intellectual Property – it is necessary to distinguish them.

I begin from the empirical reality of the Creative Industries as currently defined which, I argue, establishes it as an ‘industrial sector’, in the economically meaningful sense that it is a specialised branch of the division of labour. Its definition, however, has yet to be aligned with this reality.

This sector’s specialism is that it employs creative labour to produce cultural products. Its emergence is the outcome of two processes: a separation of mechanical from creative labour, which we inherit from the age of machines, and a revolution in service sector productivity, arising from the age of the internet.

Creative labour is a general economic resource, employed both inside and outside the CCS. The CCS is the starting point of an adequate definition, because in it, creative labour is found in its most advanced and specialised form, and because in it, this kind of labour has applied to maximum effect the new service technologies which have emerged with the internet age.

However, in order properly to assess its wider impact, creative labour has to be defined independent of the assumption that it only produces cultural products. This paper proposes such a definition. It outlines, on the basis of this definition, how the economic contribution of creative labour to service sector growth might be assessed.

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